Avoiding Dog Anxiety and Fear
Avoiding Dog Anxiety and Fear
I’m breaking this up into a two part post; first is avoiding your dog’s anxiety and fear and the second will be on how to deal with it.
Obviously it is best to avoid it all together and this article will explain how to do that and why we are seeing so many dogs, as of late, that have fear and anxiety problems.
Please share this with your friends so that they can learn how to raise a mentally healthy puppy.
Unfortunately that has been an extreme up surge in the amount of anxiety and fear in the lives of our pet dogs.
20 years ago, it was rare to see a dog ripping his fur out, hiding in the closet all day, lashing out in extreme aggression, or completely shutting dog from fear and panic.
Just last night we had an emaciated young Pit Bull come into the clinic where I work, who was too terrified to even walk by herself.
Thankfully she had been found and adopted by a loving family, but her life and her learning curve is going to probably be a slow creep forward toward normalcy.
I blame technology for a lot of ills in our society.
I blame it for children getting more wild, breaking more laws, and basically being ignored by their parents.
I blame it for children being unable to sit still and just deal with boredom on occasion, like I did when I was a kid. It seems that now, children are constantly over stimulated from the time they wake up in the morning until the time they go to bed at night and I fear for our society.
I also think it is to blame for the severe lack of any kind of socialization in our dogs.
After all, how many adults, young adults, or kids want to go home and take their puppy out to a training class or on a long walk through the neighborhood, rather than playing a video game, watching TV or playing on social media.
When I was a kid, I watched some TV (I am about to seriously date myself here) but there were only a few basic stations ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS and TV was only new in the fall and had many a rerun! Summer was nothing but reruns of fall TV.
We had to find other things to do with our time and there were no computers and few video games.
I liked spending time walking my puppy and training her.
This interaction helped to teach her about her world.
Learning about your world, early on, is crucial to a normal development.
Imagine for a Moment
Imagine for a moment we trade the average life of a puppy to that of an infant and toddler.
You bring the toddler home, stick him in his playpen and take care of just his basic needs.
You don’t really teach him, you don’t socialize him, you don’t even really bond to him; you just feed him and clean him.
Now, I realize this is child abuse.
And, many people will say that children and puppies are different and I would agree.
A child infant would probably have severe failure to thrive.
Puppies are certainly more resilient, but that doesn’t make the treatment fair.
There are children like this on record. Children who were locked up and only fed, watered and a few of the basics cared for (again severe child abuse) and they had severe difficulty learning to live in our world.
The same is often true of these puppies.
Learning, developing mental acuity, and socializing with the environment, people and other animals. I also think that young puppies are more likely generalize when they are young.
Generalizations are usually good, unless something terrible happens.
Socialization probably doesn’t mean what you think it means either. For more on that, read this https://thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/socializing-play-interaction/
Older dogs and older children and people are less likely to generalize that if a few people are good; all people are good.
Instead they are more likely deal with each situation defensively and on an individual basis. And, defensively isn’t the greatest way to live a happy life.
Puppies need to be taken out often and allowed to explore the world and their environment, especially the kind of world and environment we expect them to live in when they are adults.
Meaning, if you want to take your dog to the ball park to watch your kid play baseball or football, you should be exposing him to these things while he is young and while he can develop a normal and healthy experience at a place with yelling and cheering and the crack of a ball.
Taking an un-socialized older dog and expecting him to just deal with that kind of sound and distraction can lead to possible panic attacks and/or even aggression.
Just like taking a teenager out to a mall, who had never been out of the house or shed, would be traumatic, right?
Early controlled socialization with lots of exposure and obedience is key to your dog not developing anxiety and fear.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.