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Jun 24

Separation Anxiety in the Time of Staying At Home

Posted by Bark to Basics

As our lives gradually return to normal our pups, who have in many cases had the pleasure of a lot of extra quality time with their humans, may start to experience some anxiety. Follow these tips to prevent or treat separation anxiety:

  • If your dog has been noticeably clingy, (think spending the entire day on your lap while you binge on Netflix) start by practicing some social distancing with your pup! Shoot for not physically interacting with your dog 50% of the time you are together.
  • Start by practicing short periods of separation. Give your dog a high value reward (one that she will get only when you are practicing or leaving the house) like a special chew or peanut butter stuffed and frozen Kong in the area she will be left when you leave the house down the road (crate, loose or gated in one specific area).
  • Go about your business doing chores or working nearby while your dog is busy enjoying his treat, first starting in the same room as him.
  • As she relaxes start to leave the room briefly (if your dog is very distressed you can start with just walking out of the room and right back in), while she works on her high value treat.
  • Increase the time you’re out of the room gradually, increasing only as quickly as your dog can tolerate without getting stressed. If you see him abandon his chew to come find you, start to whine, etc you are going too fast and need to go back to the last time duration your dog was successful.
  • Finally, you can work up to leaving the house for short periods of time, starting with just picking up your keys and walking to the door. Gradually increase your time away as your dog remains calm.
  • The speed at which you can progress through these steps depends on your dog and her anxiety level.
  • Training tip – exercise is vital to helping dogs with separation anxiety. Take your dog for a long walk or run before you leave the house. A tired dog is a more relaxed one! 

If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety and you need more one-on-one coaching the team at Bark to Basics is here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

 

 

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Posted by Bark to Basics

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Apr 28

Puppy Socialization During Social Distancing

Posted by Bark to Basics

Socialization is critical during puppy hood in order for our pups to grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults. The critical socialization period is between 3 weeks and 3 months, during which time puppies are like little sponges, taking in what in the world around them is safe versus unsafe. It is absolutely essential that your puppy interact with new things, places, animals and people during this time in order for them to avoid developing fear issues (which can often lead to aggression) down the road. 
With humans being forced to socially distance what does a responsible puppy owner do? Check out the tips below.

– Recruit friends, family and neighbors to help socialize your pup at the recommended distance. Using a standard leash the humans can remain 6 feet apart while your pup explores and interacts with the new human or dog 

– Take your puppy to places you (and they) are allowed to go to watch the world go by at a distance. Try a pet store, set up a blanket or on a bench in the park in areas this is allowed (be sure to consult your vet on where you pup is with her shots before allowing her to sniff grassy areas other dogs frequent). Bring your pup a favorite chew and blanket so she associates new experiences with good things.

– Plan car rides to new places and hang out in the parking lot in your car so he can see a variety of new people, experience new noises etc. 

– Introduce your puppy to novel objects at home. Think skateboards, balloons, loud noises (the vacuum, pots and pans clanking together, power tools), rolling suitcases, humans wearing hats, glasses and backpacks etc. Start with these items at a distance if your pup is wary and reward with meals, favorite treats and toys to create a positive association.

Remember to never force your puppy to interact with things she is wary of (this could make the problem worse). Instead be patient and keep it positive! 

Struggling with socializing your puppy during these tough times? We can help! Bark to Basics offers drop in training where we can pick up your pup in a safe manner and take him out into the world. Contact us today for details! 

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Dec 19

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Posted by Bark to Basics

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Aug 23

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Posted by Bark to Basics
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