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Cruisin' Canines

Dealing With Dogs Who Have Separation Anxiety

How to handle your dog's anxiety

If your pup gets nervous, whiny, or barks a lot when you leave for work, to run errands, or just to go get the mail, it can be frustrating to try and deal with the issue. It may be difficult to pinpoint how to help your dog relax and calm down, but there are some general tips you can try if you’re having a hard time. Try Not to Pay Attention to or Coddle the Nervous Behavior Some dogs are tricksters—they know that if they bark or whine, they’ll get attention. If you close the door, only to reopen it to comfort your pup for a few more seconds before leaving, this perpetuates the idea that they’ll get positive attention for bad behavior. Try to resist doing things like this, and there’s a chance that your dog’s poor habits will subside. Consider Getting Your Dog a Crate Crate training is a popular method for dog training because it establishes a “room” for your dog that’s all his own. Having this space lets your dog feel safe and comfortable—perfect in high stress times such as when you leave. Maintain Proper Behavior Training At All Times Getting your dog acclimated to your daily life doesn’t mean just training the dog when you leave for the day. Instead, you should instill a sense of pack mentality to your dog at all times—for instance, always show that you are the one in charge, so that when you leave, your dog will feel, for lack of a better word, embarrassed to misbehave in your absence. Change the Dog’s Routine If You Can If your pup is simply scared of being alone for long stretches of time, you might see if you can work up to longer periods of time or altering your schedule to be home a bit more. Of course, that’s not feasible for everyone—if you can’t come home yourself, though, perhaps hiring a dog walker to come by a few times a week can assuage your dog’s anxiety. This can teach your dog that even though you’re not at home, they’re not being abandoned—this can be an especially good tip for shelter or rescue dogs who may have trust and abandonment issues. Exercise Your Dog More Another way you can help manage your dog’s anxiety is to tire them out. Take your pup for a jog or add another long walk to his or her daily routine, and add indoor playtime as well so that when you do have to leave your home, all they’ll want to do is take a nap. If none of these tips seem to be helping, you may want to discuss the matter with your vet or a professional dog trainer to rule out any health issues or to see if they have any better advice. If you’ve conquered separation anxiety with your pet, let us know how you did it!

The Importance of Your Dog’s Exercise Routine

It’s a well-known fact that a tired dog is a well-behaved dog, but unfortunately, a lot of owners don’t have enough time or enough motivation to keep their dogs properly exercised. A dog’s exercise routine is crucial to his or her overall well being, for several reasons. What Is Considered Exercise? Although you may consider a leashed walk to be exercise, the truth is your dog needs more than just a quick walk around the block for it to be considered proper exercise. Hikes or longer, 20- or 30-minute walks (2-3 times a day) are ideal for exercise. For variety, pet owners can also bike or jog with their dogs, take them swimming, or bring them to a dog park where they can run around and play with other dogs. Dog parks, provided your dog is friendly and gets along with other dogs, are great for both exercise and socialization. Keeping Dogs Entertained Exercising your dog is great for keeping them entertained. As previously mentioned, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. It is easier to train your dog if he or she has had an adequate amount of exercise. If a dog is tired out, they’re better companions, as well, as they will be calmer. Since dogs don’t entertain themselves, it’s important for owners to provide their pets with entertainment—this could mean throwing a stick and playing fetch, providing an adequate amount of toys, or even giving them treats in treat-dispensing toys that keep their minds sharp. Exercise Helps Dogs Stay Healthy Unfortunately, since many people can’t or won’t dedicate enough time to exercising their pets, a lot of dogs are overweight. Since dogs are much smaller than humans (usually, anyway!), even a couple of pounds can be a big difference when it comes to whether they are truly as healthy as can be. While man dogs need at least an hour of exercise per day, there are some breeds that require much more. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to do that, you can hire a dog walking service to help meet you half way—even adding another 20-minute walk to your dog’s exercise routine can make a big difference for their overall health.

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