ANXIETY AND CALMING PRODUCTS
Just like in children, all behavior is language. We have listed some aides in behavior modification below, however, you must interpret the language properly to expect change.
Know the language and genetic background of your breed
For example, if you expect a Border Collie to quietly rest while you work all day, you are going against its genetics for farm work all day. German Shepherds are programmed to patrol and protect. And you cannot expect a Chihuahua to have herding instincts.
Accept their behavior AS language
All behavior is language. What are they telling you with a behavior? Don’t touch me.
- Don’t snuggle me.
- Don’t come any closer.
- Don’t leave me.
- Pay attention to me.
- I’m hurting. (Note – dogs do NOT have to cry or limp to be in pain)
- Don’t put anything over my head.
- Don’t wear a hat.
- Kids are noisy and unpredictable. They scare me.
- I have been overcorrected before, so any fast moves make me pee, or cower.
Humans misinterpret information:
All of these are communicated by dogs and misinterpreted by humans every day, even by those with the best intentions. Great example – we see lots of clients that have a nervous dog that they reassure saying “It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s okay!” Think about that for a moment. If you are at the doctor and scared, do you want your mom parroting in your ear — It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s okay! It’s okay!? Nope, you want maybe a hug, maybe silence, but certainly calm and assuring confident words. Separation anxiety, dog to dog aggression, dog to people aggression, toy guarding, food guarding, car guarding, yard guarding all fall into this category. The sooner these are addressed PROPERLY, the better the chance that they can be changed. Negative reinforcement – punishment and correction – ARE NEVER, EVER THE RIGHT ANSWER to a behavioral problem.
Recognize the language of pain.
It is essential to look at potential medical issues as causes for behaviors prior to taking action to change it. Urinating on the floor can be fear, improper training, unclear instructions, on where she is supposed to go, OR a urinary tract infection or bladder stone. So many of our old dogs get nasty to their housemates as they age. They may lash out to the younger dog to say “I’m going to scare you away before you do something that might hurt me.” They may lay down on walks, start hiding, or not want to sleep on the bed anymore. If your older pet is changing in behavior, start by a trip to your vet (or to see us) to look for pain and blood work to look for underlying signs of discomfort.
FELIWAY Classic helps reduce signs of stress in cats such as scratching, urine spraying, hiding and home changes
9 out of 10 cats show improvement in urine spraying and 92% of cat owners are satisfied after using FELIWAY Classic
FELIWAY Classic mimics the natural calming messages known as pheromones that your cat produces to help your cat feel more comfortable and secure to reduce signs of stress
FELIWAY Classic heated diffuser covers up to 700 square feet; for the best results, position the diffuser where your cat spends most of his or her time, and avoid plugging the diffuser in under shelves and behind doors, curtains, or furniture
There are lots of situations where using a muzzle can greatly benefit any dog, and responsible owners are now proactively using this tool for visits to the groomers, public transport or to prevent wildlife scavenging. The Ultra Muzzle offers clever features to improve ease of use and your dog’s comfort, whilst strongly retaining our product promise of safety first. And for dogs that are reactive around other dogs, people or new situations – like vet visits – the Baskerville Ultra Muzzle is a great choice.
The Gentle Leader nose loop redirects his head towards you when he pulls forward, preventing pulling and giving you his full attention.
- Reduces excessive leash pulling and other unwanted behaviors like barking, lunging, and jumping
- Perfect for training dogs to heel
- Provides immediate gentle control
- Collar sits high on dog’s neck without putting pressure on the throat
- Headcollar gently redirects dog’s head and body.
How to get help
Unless the proper behavior TYPE is diagnosed, these well meaning pieces of advice may make it worse. Think of it like a person who is suddenly very thirsty and needs to urinate a lot. If an assumption is made that they are diabetic and started on insulin, that person will be VERY sick if they are not diabetic. Improper intervention into behavior issues is just as dangerous!!!
Choose your help carefully!
Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist
The title “veterinary behaviorist” describes a veterinarian who has been board-certified in the field of behavior. A behavior consultant or applied animal behaviorist may also be accredited, but are not necessarily veterinarians (though they can be). Often, veterinarians or specialists who work in behavior-related fields have completed a Master’s degree or a PhD program in a behavior related field. Aside from these categories, many other individuals who call themselves a “behaviorist” are using the title incorrectly and may not have the credentials or education to support its use.
We have 2 amazing behavior clinics here in Portland:
Animal Behavior Clinic
Synergy Behavior Solutions
Choosing a trainer
Trainer: No credentials = do not hire!!
You want to choose a trainer with the same care you would to choose a day care for your child. This is a person who will be shaping your dog’s responses to the world. We want to be sure that this is ALWAYS done with positive reinforcement, has proper qualifications, and is doing continuing education on a regular basis. Just like you wouldn’t want a teacher than has no degree, you don’t want a trainer that has not studied in an accredited program, taken an exam to prove their knowledge and has experience under their belt. Remember, that anyone can hang a shingle and call themselves a “trainer” or a “behaviorist.” Sadly, we have seen dogs damaged by these “trainers.”
Letters to look for:
- * Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) — https://www.ccpdt.org/certification/dog-trainer-certification/
- * Jean Donaldson Academy (CTC — Certificate in Training and Counseling) — https://www.academyfordogtrainers.com
- * Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) —https://karenpryoracademy.com
- Each of these websites has locators to find graduates from their program. A properly trained professional should never be offended by you asking about their qualifications.
Centers we recommend for dogs with anxiety
Instinct Dog Training
About Healing Arts Animal Care
Healing Arts Animal Care in Beaverton, Oregon provides veterinary acupuncture, pet rehabilitation therapy, physical therapy and athletic conditioning and Animal Massage Therapy for the dogs and cats of the Portland, Oregon Metro Area including Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, and Tualatin. We strive to create a team among you, your pet, your veterinarian and ourselves to create a whole package of care for your pet including wheelchairs for dogs. Pets come through our door knowing that we’re going to have fun here and this isn’t “another trip to the vet.” Through manual therapies, acupuncture, laser, ultrasound, underwater treadmill and creating a tailored individual home exercises, we strive to bring your injured pet back to speed, keep your elderly pet as an active member of the family, return your obese pet back to a functional friend and keep your athletic pet at the peak of his performance.