Are you frustrated with your dog because he is constantly fearful?
Do you feel like you don’t know how to help your dog move through his fears?
We understand this stress and can help you.
Currently, we have a client in Windham. Obedience is important to her surrounding her dog, Tosha, because she bolts away when she is feeling fear.
This creates much stress for the owner because she wants her dog to fully feel peace, and she wants to make sure that her dog will be safe.
As a result, she called Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Obedience, Windham to help her.
She is a new client, and I wanted to write about some of the things we are focusing on because I know Tosha is not alone in her fears. Many other dogs feel the same way.
First, it is important to be feeding your dog a “good” diet. There are many “bad” dog foods out there that have tons of fillers in them. Most dog foods have some fillers like rice, corn, wheat, barley, sweet potatoes, etc.
Fillers are fine. It is when they consist of wheat and corn that it becomes a problem. Many dogs have allergies to wheat. Corn can change into sugar in the body and increase anxiety and hyper activity.
As a result, brown rice, barley and sweet potatoes are much better and will keep your dog’s emotions more grounded.
It is also best for meat to be the first one to three ingredients 🙂 Chicken, venison, turkey and fish are the best meats. Beef and pork can raise the acidity level in the blood and increase anxiety.
If you put your dog on a grain free diet, it is best to have the protein level be on the lower end.
I would personally recommend 26% protein or lower. A higher level of protein may affect serotonin levels in the body unless your dog is an athlete.
Remember what your dog eats affects obedience. Windham is a bit far from healthy pet stores. However, if you drive about 30 min you can find some that are available.
Here are some pretty good dog foods that are not super expensive:
Remedies can also be helpful to decrease anxiety. It might take time to discover the “right” remedy. It is important to have a conversation with your vet about medication and remedies.
There are also some easy ways to decrease stress without having your dog consume anything.
Counter conditioning is helpful to learn to increase obedience. My Windham client learned about counter conditioning today. Basicall, something positive is paired with Tosha’s triggers.
It can work best if you use a special treat that your dog only gets during counter conditioning exercises so that the triggers appear more fun to your dog.
With Tosha, she feels anxiety around boxes that are left by the UPS man etc. It is something unusual to her. So today we put out a box.
We kept Tasha out of sight. Then we brought Tosha out so that she could see the box. As soon as she saw the box, she received chicken.
Then, when she was out of sight from the box, the chicken stopped. She began to learn that the sight of a box predicts chicken so it must be a good thing!
Systematic desensitization also works well. This means that we gradually increase the intensity of the trigger when the dog is ready.
So for Tosha and the box, we worked on gradually decreasing the distance between herself and the box. We started ten feet away and ended abou five feet away.
Because we changed the distance so gradually and used counter conditioning obedience was met. Tosha didn’t feel any fear and was happy the whole time. This was a an awesome experience in Windham today 🙂
You can use counter conditioning and systematic desensiziation for noises as well. You would be lowering the volume of the noise at first and pairing the noise food.
Then you would gradually increase the volume as your dog is ready and still pair the noise with food.
It was exciting training Tosha today. We moved ahead with obedience and we are only on our first session in Windham.
We have seven more sessions so progress will definitely be made.
We have ultimate confidence that you can help your dog becomes less fearful as well.
Johanna Teresi, Windham Obedience Trainer, Four Legged Scholars LLC – Obedience – Windham