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Dog anxiety is the cause of fearful, timid, or shy dog behavior and fear aggression in dogs. Do you have a fearful dog? Contact Motley for our: Dog Anxiety Training. We have extensive experience with the study and treatment of fear related behavioral concerns. Want to learn how to really help your dog? It has almost nothing to do with conditioning a canine response or dog treats. Dog training equipment is not required, and we will help you build a relationship with your dog that fosters confidence and will give your dog the chance to just be a dog.

What is anxiety? Anxiety is different then fear which is a tool for our survival. Anxiety on the other hand is not. There are two general types of Anxiety, generalized, think about drinking three pots of coffee and walking around all day feeling jittery, nervous and just on the edged of “going off” The second classification is specific Anxiety, This is were you have extreem fear of being alone, social situations or spiders.

Dog trainers all like the common “catagorys” you know leash aggression, Bourder Aggression, resource gaurding and so, on. The problem with this is simply these are not the causes. This is why putting your dog in a fearful situation and giving them a treat never really works.

Dog Anxiety

Dogs suffer from the same fears, anxieties and stresses that we humans due. We are all just animals.

Major types of anxiety in all Animals

Specific Anxiety ( phobia)  

Generalized Anxiety  

Fear Aggression 

Separation Anxiety in dogs

Social Anxiety Disorder


Depression offen occures with anxiety

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Puppies can have fear, aggression, anxiety or depression.
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Socializing your puppy is an important part of helping your pup learn to live in society but, it is not the cause of dog aggression, fear or anxiety in dogs or people.

Just like us Anxiety and Depression in dogs is far more complicatied then simply identifiying the “trigger” The trigger is just that, it sets you off but, it is not what is loaded in the wepon. You have to unlodad your wepon or when you pull the trigger, well BOOM!

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Help your dog to just be a dog, take the time to stop and smell the flowers, you will get a lot out of it too.

The ways that dogs expression fear, anxiety and aggression are just the same as you or I but, without all the talking. Some signs of behavioral problems are not obvious, and having an expert in Animal Behavior will help.

Start with Anxiety then Obedience Training

Not having much success with the formal commands, sit, stay heel and down? It might be poor training technique or context but, it could indicate a canine behavioral concern is pressent.

We are here To Help you and your dog

Fear aggression in dog’s a typical case

After working with 100’s of dogs we know that there are very few cases of a true “reaction” in behavioral terms you can state that all behaviors are our reaction to the world but, as experts, we have to be more precise in our thinking. If you touch a stove and automatically recoil in pain, this is a behavioral reaction. In Canines two common reactions occur, one is the startle response, the second is redirected aggression. That is it.

The average presentation of a dog with fear aggression, anxiety or just go old aggression is almost always the same. You are walking toward others and your dogs starts sending comms that they are becoming concerned. Most are not paying attention, or they do not recognize their dog’s message. Due to this, they just wonder into the situation, and it seems their dog just “went off” or reacted. This is almost never true.

Get to know your dog and pay attention. This is how you learn to get in front of the behavior. A Motley Dog Basic.

Dog Temperament or Baseline

All behavior can be seen as a spectrum or continuum. Each dog or person is biologically designed to be set to various “levels” of any given emotional response. Psychologists call this your baseline. This means that when it comes to fear, some dogs fear nothing. Dogs that are confident can be confronted by the most threatening situations and remain totally calm unless attacked. Other dogs seem to be afraid of everything, are easily started. These dogs are unable to relax in many situations. There are all kinds of variations in between.

This generalized impression of confidence or fear is called temperament. Kind of like temper, your dog either has a bad one or not. In psychology, we use the term baseline. We want to know how your dog behaves in most situations so, that we can compare this to situations that cause concern. Comparing your dog baseline and current behavior is how your dog lets us know if we are on track with our training.

Thresholds: the breaking point

Thresholds are set points based on your individual biochemical make up and your interpretations of memories of past experiences. The old nature vs nurture thing. Simply, some of us can take far more physical pain than others the point at which you can not resist responding to the pain is your threshold for pain. Just as all behaviors can be seen as being on a spectrum, so to all behaviors can be assessed by observing threshold.

Once your dog passes threshold they can not really understand you so, you have to get out of the situation the opportunity to teach or learn has passed. This is why your do not take aunt Jane who suffers anxiety to a big party and expect her to learn anything. Small Victoies a basic principle of Motely Dog Training. Take you aunt our to see the world and relax in it first.

Training with Motley

A Motley Dog Training story, the giant dog and the small woman. Our client had a malaute mix that wieght over 100lbs and a small woman running behind him hoping for the best. We started in on the Motley Dog Basics buy, the 2nd session we heard a high peached squech and the woman announce with great enthusiasum, pride and happyness that, “this was the first time he dog had ever been relaxed and calm enough to take a treat out in the world.”

It is all about Small Victories

We were very pleased with our small victor and the success of our tecniques however, she did not have the patience to continue training and we can only imagine that poor dog running around in the world afraid to leave the house. We wanted to help them so badly that we would have likely finished her training on us but, she wanted the fast easy way. It does not exsist.

Dog Anxiety: Triggers, Cues and going beyond threshold

An example of how a fearful dog experiences the world might be to compare it to you going out and drinking five red bulls in a row (not recommended). So, even if your dog seems to be calm, he is likely not. He is living in his own personal baseline of fear. When something like a bear jumps out at you, your dog is more easily pushed beyond threshold and has an extreme emotional response to the situation.

Going beyond your personal threshold for a behavior like fear, anxiety or aggression is best described as an episode. The common terms are losing it, panicking, or whatever you have come up with. At Motley Dog Training we help your dog adjust baseline, threshold and there by, improving their behavior in the world at large. We do not try to change how your dog is but, how they use there given talents and skills.

Priming and priming effects in dogs:

Did you know that when you walk around town there are cues in the environment that affect how you think and feel and this all happens without you being aware of it, these meta cognitions are called implicit. This effect maybe good or bad, it “colors” your behavior or makes you more prone to act with happiness, fear, anxiety or aggression.

These priming effects influences how close our dog is to threshold, making them more or less likely to behave in a given manner, such as fear or aggression. This depends on the positive or negative primes and cues in a give situation or context. This is why it is supper important that you understand our session about, Motley Dog Training Basics., situational awareness and getting in front of the behavior.

Your dog works the same way. At Motley Dog Training we use this knowledge to improve all of our training, aggressive, anxious or obedience. Priming effects are supper important in our treatment methods for separation anxiety in dogs and puppies.

Your behavior or attitude

Simply your behavior, mood and actions effect your dog. You can not hide this from a preditor. Ever hear the one about “they can smell fear?” they can. Unlike humans dog can differintiante smells. Meaning when we smell poop we just smell a combination of the stuff in the poo. Dogs on the other hand can figure out what is in the poo. So, why do dogs smell poo? they are actually gathering intel about the animal that left it there.

Canine Attachment Theory

Human psychologist have studied attachment in humans and other animals for decades. How to correctly assess and alter an attachment style requires years of experience and education. The resolution of attachment style has nothing to do with punishment or reward.

Evolution Zero and Motley’s canine cognitive reframing is where we will start. What is this? Contact us now to learn how to help a puppy with anxiety, and yes it is great for older dogs too.

Separation Anxiety in dogs, our process at MDT. Developing a secure attachment and learning to understand your dog is step one, implementation of priming and cueing effects, routine and then practice. Food reward serves a very limited and supporting role. You should be one of your dog’s favorite rewards.

Separation Anxiety in Dogs and Puppies

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? Leave the fancy cameras and automatic treat dispensers for others. There is a process of treating canine separation anxiety. We have some work to do before we attempt to start leaving your dog alone. The first step is making your dog feel safe and secure on their own.

Secure Attachment in Dogs

We need to build a secure attachment. Something else only Motley Dog Training offers and has been working on for the last twenty years or more? Canine Secure Attachment Theory.

We learned the foundational theories in Graduate School and have had years of experience and improvement in our craft; there is a reason you “Practice Psychology.” Separation Anxiety is not a special class of anxiety any more than arachnophobia,

Seperation anxiety disorder is an attachment disorder in people and in dogs, Anxiety in this case is a lot like sneezing because your have a cold. You do not have the sneezes you have a cold. So please, choose a trainer that already knows the basic theories these techniques are based on and has years of experience applying them.    

Medication for Dog Aggression, Anxiety or Depression

Medication is not a solution by its self. If your Veterinarian gives you some pills and some advice and sends you on your way, this is not the Veterinarian that you require. Similarly, please don’t run down to the local pet store and buy at thunder shirt, some CBD oil and whatever other supplements you can find for your dog’s anxiety. These are medical interventions that can have complex interactions and that require a Medical Degree. Perhaps one of the best things about choosing Motley Dog Training is that we know when we need help.

I do not believe in medication for my dog! O.k we get that. People have different beliefs, and we do our best to accept and work with-in that framework. If we recommend anything that you are not comfortable with, just speak up. We have all been at this for a long time and have other solutions that might be a better fit.

Conditioning and Repetition

 This is not intended to offend, however, someone needs to say it. Conditioning and Repetition are theories that are over 100 years old the work of Pavlov and Skinner created a movement, and psychology moved on from that perspective a long time ago. Sadly, even the most modern dog trainers are still trying to cram all behavior into that tiny box. Now, if this is your thing, you have far too many dog trainers to choose from, however, if you really want the latest Modern Scientific Dog Training, Motley Dog Training is your only choice. 

Conditioning and repetition are tools used in certain situations but, the theories of Classical and Operant conditioning are only one of many tools created by human psychologists. We want our teams to have the best so, we learn from many sources and have as many tools as possible in order to help our teams.

The facts about rewards under stress

We could bore your with a lot of reseach her but, feel this is so, obvious that you will get it. Lets say you are shy, afraid of social situatons so, your freind the dog trainer starts taking you to parties are help you have the time of your life. However, you are sill apt to avoid social situatons and when your friend is not there to distract you, you still fear socail situations. Why?

There is far more to getting over social anxiety then just having a good time around other people. This is a tool but, there is a lot to do before we go to the party. Your dog is just like you and I when it comes to fear, aggression and anxiety.

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