How to train a fearful, Anxious Dog? Dog anxiety is the cause of fearful, timid, or shy dog behavior. In the majority of the dog aggression cases we have seen, it is anxiety that is the underlying cause. Commonly called fear aggression, this is your dog is trying to scare off threats before they can hurt them. We treat these dogs, we do not “train” them in the traditional sense until we have reduced a dog’s anxiety level.
Dog’s just like people, can not think when they are experiencing an episode of anxiety or extreme fear. In order to properly treat an animal with anxiety, you have to figure out where your dog can think and learn. Relaxed states are the best places to start so, first, we want to know where your dog is most relaxed, not when they lose it. The triggers, cues, or whatever you want to call them are super obvious to everyone and have little to dog with successful treatment of a dog with canine anxiety disorder. To explain this we consider the two major categories of anxiety and the fact is that generalized anxiety disorder is far more common. Generalized meaning that you are almost always in a state of anxiety.
Fear and Anxiety, related but, not the same
The common misconception is that fear and anxiety are the same thing. They are related but, not the same. So, no, your dog being in a constant state of anxiety is no more apparent to you or others than any other emotional baseline. This is why you need psychologist, animal behavior experts and those that are proficient in canine cognitive treatment like Motley.
Major classifications of human and canine anxiety disorders
There are two basic classifications for Anxiety, generalized and specific. So, our canine anxiety training starts with an assessment, determining if your dog is anxious all the time or just under specific circumstances. The second most important measurement is threshold. Based on our theory of your dog’s baseline and threshold, we assign a subjective measure of severity. These behavioral patterns and measures have nothing at all to do with exposure therapy for dogs. Dogs, just like people, can not learn under stress and neither you nor your dog have the skills necessary to face a stressful situation yet.
When you are in an Emotional State, You are just like your dog
Unlike people, Dogs can not talk about their thoughts and feeling so, we have to become experts of canine non-verbal communication. Everything in canine communication revolves around sensory, kinetic and spatial cues, this is episodic information and that is likely how your dog thinks. However, there are three situations where neither you nor your dog, can listen, think or learn new information. Understanding these are critical in order to make good dog care and dog training decisions. You are no better at thinking, communicating or paying attention than your dog is when you are angry, anxious or performing a conditioned behavior.
Motley Dog Training We Give you the Skills
Just like your dog’s separation anxiety has nothing to do with being left alone, the situations where your dog becomes super anxious called episodes has little to do with the solution. Your dog can not do this alone any more than you could overcome anxiety on your own, so, we have devised a skill set that will prepare the two of you for these episodes. We do not count on luck like most other dog training, we use tools that we know from decades of research get the job done. Now, your dog’s condition will improve and the more skilled you become, the better you will be able to help and manage the life of your best friend. Conditioning is just a tool and not a foundation for a scientific method of treatment.
Psychology is better
Guys conditioning is just a tool, conditioning is responsible for far more behavioral obstacles than solutions. In the majority of cases, people come to us who have tried tradition dog training or behavior that is based on this out dated model. This is like using a flip phone as opposed to a smartphone, science has moved on. Look, all animals seek safety and avoid pain.
Your canine brain seeks routine in order to offer illusions of control, safety and calm. This is conditioning, there is no thinking, so there can be no learning. You have to consider the outcome, advantages and disadvantage of how this will affect future challenges. So, knowing this, the majority of our work is done by deconstructing these intentional or unintentional routines or conditioned behavioral loops.
We actually change how your dog thinks
At Motley Dog, we do not simply exchange one conditioned loop for another. This does not fix the problem. You know this is true by looking at your own life and yes we are just like you. We have routines and behaviors that severe to distract us, and avoid situations that cause us psychological discomfort, pain and or full-blown anxiety. We become painfully aware of the ineffective nature of our self conditioning when we are confronted with our own cues or triggers and are surprised that we still get embarrassed, angry or scared. This is why psychology moved past conditioning in the sixties. Anxiety, fear and aggression are complex behaviors that have little to do with the triggers that most are so fund of. Triggers are simply where you need to be cautious and alert with your dog. Until we teach them better ways of thinking.
I love my dog
We hear a lot of I love my dog, but… when I look at myself there are times I have emotional responses that might not be the best choice, I do not listen, I have my little conditioned responses, routines and bad habits. When you look at your dog, remember they share all of these things with us and hey, they put up with you. At Motley Dog Training, we work every day to come up with better ways to help you and your dog and build teams. Things like aggression, anxiety or depression are challenges we all face and our goal is to teach you that your dog is not that different, The solutions we have been working on for decades are better. They even work on humans.
No butt sniffing, though! Please !
Dogs are simplified versions of ourselves
There is a reason that all dog training is borrowed from psychology, and also a reason that a psychologist has never borrowed a theory from a behaviorist. Get the best for your dog. We have studied it all for decades, and we still do because we are only as good as our last session! We want the best for our teams dogs, mean that much. Hey, we are just really into behavioral sciences, not to be confused with behaviorism.