Emily Vey is a content aficionado on the Dogs Naturally team. She’s constantly looking for the most up-to-date news and information to share with DNM readers and to help her own dogs live the healthiest lives possible. She lives in Ontario with her partner-in-crime Ryan, their husky Inuk and German shepherd Indi. Together they enjoy hiking, swimming and all things outdoors!
Anxiety in dogs is often caused from sudden, unexpected activities or moments. If you have a routine for when it’s time to go to the veterinary office, board a plane, or anything else that may cause anxiety, it will help your dog prepare for what’s ahead and feel more secure. Extra hugs, playtime, and treats can help confirm that even if there is a situation they do not like, the time is only temporary.

Punishment or aversive techniques will do little to stop these anxious dog behaviors in the long-run, because punishment does not address the source of the problem, which is the dog’s anxiety. In fact, suppression of these displacement behaviors, through pain and dominance methods, will make the problem worse, because pain increases stress and uncertainty.
1. Seek out a PR trainer. In recent years, modern trainers have learned that an overwhelming majority of dogs who lunge at, bark at and fight with other dogs and humans aren’t doing so because they’re “dominant” or because they want to be “pack leader.” They’re doing it because they’re scared. A frightened dog, especially one who feels like she can’t escape, will turn to aggression to “get him before he gets me.” Once we know that aggression is rooted in fear, we know to avoid trainers who “rehabilitate” aggressive dogs by dominating them. Hurting a dog doesn’t stop her from being scared, it just makes her shut down. Change the emotion, on the other hand, and you’ll change the behavior. A dog who isn’t scared of other dogs has no need to bark or fight. Find a good trainer, ideally one who follows positive reinforcement principles and is certified by CCPDT, and you can work wonders together.
There is no conclusive evidence showing exactly why dogs develop separation anxiety. However, because far more dogs who have been adopted from shelters have this behavior problem than those kept by a single family since puppyhood, it is believed that loss of an important person or group of people in a dog’s life can lead to separation anxiety. Other less dramatic changes can also trigger the disorder. The following is a list of situations that have been associated with development of separation anxiety.
Stage three: Hold one treat in your palm in front of the dog and one behind you in the other hand. Instruct your dog to “leave it.” If the dog gets too close to the treat, make a fist to hide the treat and say “no” or “uh-oh” to show the dog that he won’t be rewarded or noncompliance. When he obeys the “leave it” command, give him the treat that’s behind your back.

Many people can’t imagine life without dogs. We admire and adore them for their loyalty, unconditional affection, playful exuberance and zest for life. Nevertheless, dogs and people are very different animals. Although officially “man’s best friend,” dogs have some innocent but irksome tendencies-like jumping up to greet, barking, digging and chewing-that can make it downright difficult to live with them! To make the most of your relationship with your dog, you need to teach her some important skills that will help her live harmoniously in a human household.
Disclaimers: The information contained in this web site is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as nor should be relied upon as medical advice. Rather, it is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a pet owner/site visitor and his/her local veterinarian(s). Before you use any of the information provided in the site, you should seek the advice of a qualified professional.
Learned helplessness occurs when a dog ceases to respond in a situation where it has no option to avoid a negative event. For learned helplessness to occur, the event must be both traumatic and outside the dog's control.[51] Family dogs that are exposed to unpredictable or uncontrolled punishment are at risk of developing disturbances associated with the learned helplessness disorder. Punishment which is poorly coordinated with identifiable avoidance cues or response options, such as when punishment takes place long after the event, meet the criteria of inescapable trauma.[41]
In 1848 W. N. Hutchinson published his book Dog Breaking: The Most Expeditious, Certain and Easy Method, Whether Great Excellence or Only Mediocrity Be Required, With Odds and Ends for Those Who Love the Dog and the Gun. Primarily concerned with training hunting dogs such as pointers and setters, the book advocates a form of reward-based training, commenting on men who have "a strong arm and a hard heart to punish, but no temper and no head to instruct" and suggesting "Be to his virtues ever kind. Be to his faults a little blind."[6] Stephen Hammond, a writer for Forest and Stream magazine, advocated in his 1882 book Practical Training that hunting dogs be praised and rewarded with meat for doing the correct behavior.[7]
When embarking upon a journey to train your dog, it is important that you know the limits of your dog. A young dog is unable to comprehend the skills that an adult dog may pick up on; likewise, a senior dog may be a little slower in catching on. The individual nature of your dog also comes in to play when you decide to teach your dog obedience. If you have a dog that is easily distracted it may take them much longer to pick up a command than a dog that is a dog that is eager to please. In general, dogs that are praise or food motivated are more easily trained, and dogs that have a history of being mistreated or abused can be much more difficult to train.
Are you ready to start training your dog? A proper dog training program is the cornerstone of good behavior in dogs. It has often been said that there are no bad dogs, only uneducated owners. Most dogs thrive with boundaries and predictable routines. Without obedience training, they simply do not know how to behave. Well-trained dogs are happier and healthier than untrained dogs, and so are their owners.
You must judge when your dog is able to tolerate an increase in the length of separation. Each dog reacts differently, so there are no standard timelines. Deciding when to increase the time that your dog is alone can be very difficult, and many pet parents make errors. They want treatment to progress quickly, so they expose their dogs to durations that are too long, which provokes anxiety and worsens the problem. To prevent this kind of mistake, watch for signs of stress in your dog. These signs might include dilated pupils, panting, yawning, salivating, trembling, pacing and exuberant greeting. If you detect stress, you should back up and shorten the length of your departures to a point where your dog can relax again. Then start again at that level and progress more slowly.
My dog exhibited all the symptoms you are describing. Through trial and error and an ongoing 6 month consult with UPENN Veterinary Behavior Clinic what works best for my dog is: daily prozac does to take the edge off my dog, consistent routine, regular exercise, acrating when I am not home, and sustained release valium on days of predicted thunderstorms, fireworks, etc. The valium I use is Clorazepate …..you can get it cheaper at the pharmacy if you print a coupon at goodrx.com
Don't raise your voice to get his attention. Save the big booming voice for “life saving” situations, like if he escapes his fence or leash. If you rarely raise your voice, you'll get your dog’s undivided attention when you do need to yell. But if you are always “loud” to your dog, they will ignore that sound and tune it out. Shouting will no longer be regarded as something that commands special attention.
Anxiety in dogs is often caused from sudden, unexpected activities or moments. If you have a routine for when it’s time to go to the veterinary office, board a plane, or anything else that may cause anxiety, it will help your dog prepare for what’s ahead and feel more secure. Extra hugs, playtime, and treats can help confirm that even if there is a situation they do not like, the time is only temporary.
The Monks of New Skete, who were breeders and trainers of German Shepherds in Cambridge, New York, published How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend: A Training Manual for Dog Owners in 1978 and it became an immediate best seller. Despite advocating a philosophy that "understanding is the key to communication and compassion with your dog,"[29] they endorsed confrontational punishments which were later shown to elicit dangerously aggressive responses in many dogs.[30]
Ultimately finding the right obedience training solution for you and your dog involves weighing out what you need, what you can afford and how your dog will react to a specific training solution. If you are unsure how to address your dogs training needs because they are a newer addition to your family, ask your vet for their advice. Often your vet will be able to assess just what your dog needs based on their experience with other dogs with similar behavior patterns.
Individualised training is used with dogs that have an urgent or unique training problem such as fear, hyperactivity, aggression (and other related problems), separation anxiety, biting, excessive barking, insecurity, destructive behaviors, walking difficulties, and inappropriate elimination.[80][81] This type of training would normally be undertaken where the problem naturally occurs rather than a class situation. Class training can be effective in encouraging socialization and play with a peer group. Classes are often offered at a more affordable rate and can cover both problem behaviors and teach new skills. Classes can range from puppy and beginner training to more advanced training and skill training such as performing tricks or therapy work.
To update: our German Shepherd’s sudden onset anxiety did not improve, so we took her to the vet who said this is not an uncommon development in senior dogs, and it can develop seemingly from out of nowhere. The vet said it sounds like separation anxiety, which can be triggered even if there is no separation! In our situation, it definitely seems as if bells or buzzers or ringers are a trigger…even the microwave or sports on tv! The vet also said it sounds like our dog is developing signs of canine cognitive dysfunction. She has been placed on a low dosage of Prozac, with plenty of room to increase the dosage if we don’t notice any improvement. So far, behaviors have not improved, but they have not gotten worse either. I will update after she has been on the medication for a longer period of time.
In some cases, dogs experiencing anxiety may become more aggressive overall. If your pet doesn’t typically growl, he may point and growl at whatever is causing him to be anxious. The longer you have your pet, the more it’ll be obvious as to what causes him distress. With any luck, you can avoid these situations as much as possible. But when you can’t, the good news is there are remedies available.
When embarking upon a journey to train your dog, it is important that you know the limits of your dog. A young dog is unable to comprehend the skills that an adult dog may pick up on; likewise, a senior dog may be a little slower in catching on. The individual nature of your dog also comes in to play when you decide to teach your dog obedience. If you have a dog that is easily distracted it may take them much longer to pick up a command than a dog that is a dog that is eager to please. In general, dogs that are praise or food motivated are more easily trained, and dogs that have a history of being mistreated or abused can be much more difficult to train.
At this point, you can start to incorporate very short absences into your training. Start with absences that last only last one to two seconds, and then slowly increase the time you’re out of your dog’s sight. When you’ve trained up to separations of five to ten seconds long, build in counterconditioning by giving your dog a stuffed food toy just before you step out the door. The food-stuffed toy also works as a safety cue that tells the dog that this is a “safe” separation.
Lavender typically works as a sedative to help your dog feel restful. Aromatherapy oils like chamomile provides calming and in some cases, pain relief. While sweet marjoram has been used to help with stress relief in pets. Watch out for allergic reactions in pets and discuss this kind of remedy with your veterinarian to get recommendations for the best kind of products to use. Essential oils can be easily found and used for your pet. Even if they don’t benefit as much from their use, you can use still use them for your own.

Once your dog has been diagnosed with anxiety, you can work on figuring out how to solve this issue and get them back to living a normal, relaxed life. Depending on the severity of the issue, the vet may prescribe medication or come up with a specific treatment plan to make your dog feel more comfortable. Anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed, however, this is usually in the last case scenario.

In order to be certified as a therapy dog or emotional support dog, animals need to receive an evaluation/written designation from a licensed health professional: social worker, physician, psychiatrist typically. As for service dogs, which are allowed to accompany their owners into most businesses and pet-restricted areas, they can receive training, certifications, and registrations from several organizations such as TDI and United States Service Dog Registry. These certifications are not required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, but may streamline the process of getting a dog access to typically off-limits areas. Service dogs and therapy dogs are not the same thing. The same dog might fall into both categories, but therapy and emotional support animals are not recognized under the ADA.
NOSEWORK (scent detection training): $300 – Are you looking for a fun, positive, and challenging game to play with your dog? Our Nosework Program is designed to build your dog’s confidence while utilizing their keen sense of smell to detect odor! This program includes 5 private lessons. ***Be prepared to bring a high value reward to each session in order to motivate your dog to perform thorough and accurate searches.***
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