How To Help A Dog With Various Anxiety Issues Including Separation Anxiety
How To Help A Dog With Separation Anxiety
& Other Anxiety Issues
Canine Whispers offers services to help resolve anxiety, fear and dog separation anxiety in the Hampshire and Surrey area, as well as other issues.
A dog will normally express anxiety due to a perceived threat or an event with which it has developed a negative association through experience. Anxious behaviour in a dog can arise for a variety of reasons and be influenced by experiences unique to its development. It may be related for example to car journeys, being alone, other dogs on a walk, people, other stimuli, loud noises, places, adverse experience, major life events or even a lack of early experiences to help it manage its current situation. The dog may, freeze, run away, or become aggressive. Repeated incidents will cause a dog to react faster or to hone its response.
A fearful dog may be aroused, tense, unsure, staring focused on the stimuli, perhaps hackles are raised, tail may be lower or down. Fear is an emotion that aids survival, by preparing for fight or flight. It activates the sympathetic nervous system. Heart rate breathing and secretion of nonadenaline, cortisol and adrenaline increases. When the threat occurs frequently, the dog begins to anticipate the threat and becomes aware of cues to the impending event. The dog feels anxious. Anxiety is more prolonged. A study by Tiira et al (2) found that fearful dogs were more likely to be aggressive than non-fearful dogs. Fearful dogs and dogs suffering from separation anxiety tended also to be more noise sensitive (2).
In a study 14,000 dogs were evaluated for canine temperament. In the dogs within the study 72.5% exhibited one or more anxiety problem. The study found that roughly 30% of these dogs had sensitivity to sound. Some breed types were found to be more fearful or unsure of loud noises. Not all anxieties related to noise (1).
The anxiety level can also relate to experience as well as frequency and intensity of the perceived threat. The dogs neurochemicals and sympathetic nervous system is then triggered and ready for action. As repeated incidents may effect the dogs health, a vet should assess a dog that is anxious or frequently fearful of an event, moving or inanimate object, a different species or for other reasons. The vet can medically diagnose and decide what and if clinical choices are appropriate adjunct to behaviour modification.
Treatment of fear and anxieties requires a thorough history analysis and a Behaviour Modification Plan tailored to the individual dog. Triggers and all stimuli that evoke fear need to be identified. Management, safety and influencing the dogs behaviour in a non-confrontational way, with use of effective methods are part of the plan. Owners have an opportunity to learn what methods to avoid and what to do to influence their dogs behaviour. Changing the dogs behaviour will take owner dedication, consistency with the bespoke plan and progress in stages working at the dogs pace.
Canine Whispers provides solutions for various dog anxiety issues including dog separation anxiety across Hampshire and Surrey. Not all anxious dogs have separation issues. You can visit our Consultation page for more information on a variety of behaviour concerns, or our Separation Home Alone page today for more information on this specific and common condition. If you’re ready to move forward please visit our Bookings page to schedule an appointment with us. The dog behaviour anxiety, or fear problem is unlikely to go away if left untreated, indeed it can get worse. A clinical animal behaviourist can work with you and your dog to help.
Wu K ( 2018) Most dogs show anxiety related behaviour, study shows. Smithsonian magazine. Accessed 20/4/21.
Tiira et al (2016 ) Prevalence, comorbidity and behavioural variation in canine anxiety. Journal of Veterinary Behaviour. Elsevier. Accessed 20/4/21.