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Anxiety a Big Issue

23 November 2018


Over the years that I have been training dogs and helping owners better understand their best friend, anxiety is one of the most common contributors to a myriad of other more obvious behavioural issues owners experience. 

Quite often owners are easily frustrated by their dogs’ unwanted undesirable behaviours and yet don’t fully understand why their dogs are behaving a certain way. A lot of owners feel that they have a disobedient dog, a dumb dog, or simply one that really does not want to listen. It is very often the case that these dogs are suffering some form of unsureness/anxiety.  

Today a lot of owners tend to put a lot of human emotion onto to their dogs and interact in a way that really does not make a great deal of sense to their dog.  Dogs are instinctually a ‘pack animal’ and are hardwired to be a follower. However, the way that owners interact with their dogs on a daily basis is quite often very unsettling for them, especially if the dog is soft natured and always seemed a little unsure about their environment. Our dogs look to us to be their leaders/protectors and this allows them to feel safe and secure which allays a lot of possible anxiety/unsureness in them.  

Often owners overlook the fact that their dogs are anxious/or soft and unfortunately will inadvertently reinforce/reward anxious, unsure/fearful behaviours. What starts as a mild case, can often continue to worsen over the years to the point where the dog is becoming increasingly harder to take for walks, have new people/dogs around them, and often the dog seemingly gets more aggressive.   

The root cause of this anxiety is generally due to owners not having enough structure, rules and boundaries. Dogs definitely look to us to be their leader and set the rules of the pack and with this knowledge and expectation they feel secure, calm and content. If owners are not setting good rules and boundaries in and around their home it is then going to be hard to take our dogs out to a more stimulating environment and expect them to be calm and responsive. 

If you feel that you are experiencing issues of anxiety with your dog, then please perhaps consider getting some help. I believe that the best way to get a handle on this is to have a 1-1 behavioural consult, during which I can help explain what is happening and how to go about calming your dog’s anxiety levels.




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