Does My Dog Have Anxiety?
How do you know if a dog has anxiety? Body language is often the best indicator
Does my dog have anxiety? How do you know if a dog has anxiety? You have to get to know your dog, the dog language and pay attention to what your dog is telling you. If you are not paying attention to your dog, or you do not understand what they are trying to communicate, they often seem to just react to situations and that is where the nutty term reactive dog comes from. In both dog aggression and dog anxiety, dogs attempt to communicate their emotions but, we miss it.
When we discuss canine comms we are not referring to a full blow “incident” where it is supper obvious to everyone in the area that your dog is anxious or aggressive. If you get there, you are far too late. You have got to get to know your dog and the subtle ways they try to let you know they are not happy.
Learn Your Dog’s Language
Symptoms may vary from dog to dog depending on the type and severity of their anxiety, but the easiest way to identify if your dog is suffering from anxiety is by paying attention to their subtle signs.
Non-verbal communication in canines
You will learn a lot about how your dog communicates with you and how you should communicate with your dog. Not like any other dog training.
This video is exceptional in that it discusses some excellent psychology, gradual desensitization, this is cognitive psychology
Food Rewards Under Stress
In the video, unfortunately, they revert to the old behavioral conditioning using food treats under stress. Not the beast approach. The episode with games are exactly the kind of episodic, elaboration we came up with and use here at Motley Dog Training. These are Episodic/Elaborate techniques. They work 100 times better than the old school treats or cookies tossing as some like to call it. Oh, well, Small Victories.
How do you know if a dog has anxiety?
Motley’s check list
- Environment : is this a relaxing place for your dog or not?
- Freedom and opportunity to escape or defend. Is your dog able to leave the situation or not
- Respect for the dog and listening to the dog. It is always the dog’s choice. This is why we do not offer good citizen certs. Listen to and respect what your dog it telling you and others.
- Get to know your dog. If your dog is not a lady socialite, give the parties and puppy day care a rest. Respect your dog. No, not all dogs are social butterflies.
- Medical status and current injuries
If all the items on the list are adhered to and your dog still gets fearful, it is anxiety. Contact Motley for help.
Assessing your dog’s behavior
If your dog exhibits one or two of these behaviors but, it is a “one off” like chewing up your shoes or peeing in an inappropriate spot. It is likely that the little rascal is trying to communicate with you that you need to pay more attention or that something upset them. I know this seems obvious but, since dogs do not rely on verbal comms like we do, they tend to “show us” how they feel or try to get our attention.
In order to determine that your dog has a psychological challenge that needs our help, we need to establish a behavioral pattern. While some cases are easy to spot, always lunging and pulling on the leash to aggress toward people and/or dogs. Hiding, moving away from or easily startled dogs, for example. Other cases of anxiety are subtle and require more attention on our part.
Your Dog Frequently and Easily Exceeds Their Threshold
Threshold is simply the point where your anger, fear or depression makes you unable to think, be communicated to or understand the situation you are in. Dogs and just like people, once your dog has “gone off” you have to remove your dog from the situation. This is also true for helping dogs with aggression. If you miss the Motley Dog Basic of “knowing your dog” and “getting in front of the behavior.” you need to get off the x or remove your dog from the situation. Don’t feel bad this happens to us all, practice and constancy take time. Feel free to also read our post about “Help for Dog Anxiety and Fear Aggression” This article offer a detailed discussion of threshold.
Helping a Dog with Anxiety, Not a DIY project
Psychology seems simple, but, it is almost never what it seems. Treatments for anxiety require experience and practice. Even if you have helped dogs in the past, one size does not fit all and inappropriate attempts to use psychological tools can and often makes the situation worse. There are dog trainers that are horrible at these techniques, and the way you know if you have one is to pay attention to what your dog it telling you.
Man, that poor dog in the video tried and tried and tried. No one was listening. I know we keep repeating this but, dogs are individuals just like you or I, get to know your dog, and listen to them.
What is LIMA?
We even know and are recommended by one of the dog trainers that helped develop LIMA. IAABC
Ever heard of LIMA Dog Training, of course, The Least Intrusive, Minimally Invasive dog training technique. So, running down to your local store with your dog that suffers from Fear Aggression is not, the LIMA way. Neither is having strangers try to give your dogs treats while they are obviously in distress. Other popular “Dog Training” Techniques that do not qualify are: Yanking your dog around to “teach” them not to pull on the leash. Do you have a puppy in a choke chain or prong collar? Teach 1st and stop worrying about punishment.
A Motley Dog Training we call LIMA : Least Invasive Method Available. Are you afraid that dog training will change your dog’s personality? Techniques used in psychology by those that don’t really understand them is why dog training has this reputation we get it and good for you for considering it.
Our founder believe that every dog offers something that no other dog could have given us, and we have no intention of screwing that up. Just like people, Your Dog is inhibited, in pain or not having our best life because we are scared or anger or feel threaten. We respect who your dog is and what they bring to us and to you. We want to help them learn to live a better life, see the world in a different way than they did before they met us.
Fear Free Dog Training
Fear free dog training is also a solid idea for dog trainers. Getting past a fear requires enduring fear and since the most common cause of dog and human aggression is really fear, well, we can not promise you that you will not feel fear. The Motley Dog Difference is in that we help you mitigate and face fear, remember our Motley Dog Basic skill, Small Victories? Not just a nifty saying. So, if your dog trainer puts you and your dog in situations that you are not ready for, they are not the trainer for you. You will be challenged, both you and your dog. We are professional in Psychology with integrity so, we get that fear free is the new term in town, just want to be upfront with you. You will face fear but, you will be ready for it, and we will be right there at your side until you master it.
We also want to point out that you have got to understand fear, anxiety and aggression in great detail to help dogs with these problems so, if you dog trainer works with anxious dog but, not aggressive dogs are the really qualified for the job? Just asking, they are out there, so, think about who you choose to help your dog. Your dog is counting on you.
Group Classes for Dog with Aggression or Anxiety
No, You Can Not have Group Classes for Anxious or Aggressive Dogs. After we have conquered the majority of the fear, anxiety or aggression, group activities maybe advised but, get the foundation first. Board and training is also one of the worst formats for your dog. You are the one your dog wants to be with and maybe you need to learn to drive your dog but, you can do this. Your relationship with your dog is one of the most important relationships in both of your lives, so, why leave your dog with a stranger? Learn how to do it yourself. Motley Dog Training will get you through this. One on One.
Maybe you are the cause
Does your little Terrier bark a lot? Hate it when you leave? Dogs can smell fear and anxiety on their humans, and they are masters of reading non-verbal communication you can not fool your dog. Maybe you need some help too. Did you know that your attitude, behavior and emotional state are one of the biggest influences on your dog’s behavior? Many large breed dogs are acquired by fearful, weak people so, the dog that is aggressive may simply be doing their job. Protecting their person, remember the dog did not show up at your door and say hey, scoot a cheek I am moving in with you. The point, it is never the dog’s fault.
It is Never the Dog’s Fault
This is not a question or debate, it is a rule that is shared by the most elite dog trainers in the world. Not an exaggeration. This is right up there with every dog is an individual and is a founding principal of Motley Dog Training. You can blame us, the stars or whatever you would like but, never blame the dog.