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Blog posts by Hathaway Jade

Posted on December 12, 2013

Separation Anxiety, featuring Chance

Separation Anxiety, featuring Chance

Meet Chance!

He is an incredibly sweet and adorable seven year old Beagle/Basset Hound mix. Chance's owner's contacted Zen Dog for help with Chance's separation anxiety.  Their other dog had recently passed away and Chance was now having a hard time being left alone for longer periods of time.  It had gotten to the point where the neighbors with young children who trying to nap were complaining something had to be done. 

Luckily, Chance’s owners decided to contact Zen Dog Training. We know that separation anxiety is preventable and responds well to treatment.  An important first step is recognizing that dogs with separation anxiety are not misbehaving out of spite or boredom. Just like humans, dogs have feelings and strong emotional responses. We sometimes compare severe separation anxiety to how a person feels during a panic attack: scared, confused and overwhelmed!

Separation anxiety can be triggered by a life change such as moving, a sudden change in routine, long stay at the kennel or in this case the death of a companion.  Along with the death of his dog companion, Chance was also being left for long periods of time, up to 10 hours, which was also contributing to his anxiety. 

At Zen Dog Training we have several recommendations for helping dogs with separation anxiety. The most basic is to not allow your dog to shadow you around the house.  We recommend using a baby gate or a tether while you're home and ignoring him if he's whining or barking. Doing this for short periods of time several times a day will teach him to get comfortable being "alone" when you're home.

We always recommend an increasing cardio exercise as well as obedience training. Essentially, give him new challenges to mentally stimulate and tire him out. You can also start feeding him using toys like the Premier Busy Buddy Toys, so that he has to work for his food.  Providing him feeding toys or some delicious teats when you leave will help soften the blow of being left alone.

Lastly we recommended practicing many, many short absences during the day.  Start by leaving the house for just 2-3 seconds and then coming back in.  Repeat this over and over until the dog becomes used to you leaving. Now extend the time you are gone to 10 seconds, 30, 5 minutes etc.  Mix up how long you're gone and help your dog learn that leaving doesn't always mean a long period of time alone.

With all of this coming and going try to not make a big fuss about leaving the house or coming home. Acting cool and relaxed when you come and go will help him understand that you leaving or coming home is no big deal. 

It’s important to remember that dogs are social animals and not well suited to be left alone all day. In situations where your dong will be left for 8-10 hours we recommend hiring a dog walker or doggie day care.

These tips will help with most dogs however, if you have a more serious case, please call Zen Dog Training or a professional dog trainer in your area.

For more information on separation anxiety visit Zen Dog Training Online.

Posted on November 27, 2013

Socialization, featuring Shubie

Socialization, featuring Shubie

Meet Shubie!

He is a 6 month old Australian Cattle Dog mix who is super smart and very eager to learn but also extra sensitive due to his breed.  Shubie is sweet natured and curious but has found adjusting to his new home in the city with all the sights, sounds and new people a bit overwhelming.

At Zen Dog Training we recommend actively socializing your new dog or puppy. Socialization, is very important, you want to teach your dog that even though the outside world can be loud and unpredictable, it's a happy and fun place he shouldn't fear.

The idea is to socialize as much as possible, every day would be ideal, try to expose your puppy to new, non-threatening, positive situations and people.  Take him to new places: friend's homes, children's school, soccer games, the hardware store, dry cleaners, the bank...

Let your puppy meet men and women, the elderly and the young, children and babies, people in hats and men with beards.  Don't forget about cats, birds and other animals, or loud noises or strange noises like a door slamming or a bus rumbling by.  As long as you make sure your dog is safe and has a positive experience you can’t over do it!

Take extra time to bring him to the vet, to the groomer or the kennel.  Once you get there, give him lots of treats for no reason other than getting him used to going to these places.

If your puppy becomes frightened, reassure him calmly and matter-of-factly, then go on. Remember a couple of treats can do wonders in turning around a fearful situation.

Allow him to investigate and approach people, place and things at his own pace. However, when on walks, don’t avoid construction work, loud noises, fire trucks etc.  Actively approach them and give him lots of treats to make sure he feels great about seeing new and different things.

Although this process will take some time and effort it is of critical importance! If you socialize your new puppy or dog, you will have a dog who is social, confident and feels safe exploring the world by your side.

For more information on Socialization visit Zen Dog Training Online.