Viewing entries tagged
trinity bellwoods dog walkers

Comment

Nicole Wilde Seminar: Separation Anxiety

As previously mentioned, continuing to learn about dogs (health and behaviour) is really important to us. Both Katie and I are indeed dog nerds, but the information we accumulate is valuable, and we love to share it with you. Here's part one of Katie's entry regarding the recent Nicole Wilde seminar on separation anxiety hosted by Speaking of Dogs Rescue. Nicole Wilde was recently in Toronto for a two day seminar and I 
attended Day 2 with two topics: Separation Anxiety and Dog-Dog Play.
 Having had multiple dogs with separation anxiety myself, I was 
interested to hear if there were any new items to walk away with from a personal standpoint, as well as a professional one.

First off, it was a reminder of how isolating and difficult life with 
an SA dog can be. Standard protocol for working through SA is that the 
dog is never left alone longer than it can handle. That can mean a 
minimum of a month of arranging daycares, doggie babysitters, no 
nights out, etc... while working through a dog's state of stress/panic
 that they experience every time they are alone or leading up to the event 
of being left, and the destruction that can be an expression of those 
emotions. It's no wonder, when asked by Nicole, a majority of the 
trainers present agreed they'd prefer working with an aggressive dog 
over a separation anxiety dog; it's an emotionally charged situation 
with slow progress and some owners may not have the tools at their 
disposal to accomplish each step.

That said it is imperative to work with a professional in these 
situations and you must have a proper diagnosis – is your dog stressed
 whenever it's the only one in the house or when it's away from a 
certain person? Will your dog settle with other family members or 
friends?

The best way to get these answers is to know exactly what your dog is 
doing when left alone by recording them with a webcam or digital 
camera. Nicole busted some long held myths such as “true separation 
anxiety dogs don't eat when left alone” by showing video of a client's 
dog bouncing between a food toy and howling at the door.

Nicole's favourite tool for ongoing monitoring is Skype: set up a 
dummy account that you connect to your smart phone and using that fake
 account to call in to your computer at home and watch your dog. (You can
set your skype to auto-accept calls, or, if you're popular on Skype,
make another account that's just for this purpose).

The most common separation anxiety symptoms are destruction (there
 were many photos of shredded doors), vocalization, and house soiling. 
Nicole really drove home the importance of nutrition alongside
 management, confidence building, and calm/mentally stimulating 
exercise (ie: a hike with lots of sniffing, not a 10k run).

If you're an owner working through this, remember to make a list of 
your resources – people you can leave your dog with, places you can 
take your dog along with you, friends with dogs that you can have over 
for play dates, etc.

There was more information than I can sum up in a short blog post, but 
the last point I want to mention was the question of when a dog should
be medicated. If the dog is in danger of harming itself, is 
experiencing severe emotional distress or is in danger of losing its
 home over the issue, it may be time to discuss medication with an
experienced trainer and Veterinarian working together.

For your own metal well being, it may help to join an online discussion forum dedicated to SA. Sometimes it helps to have a support network of people who know exactly what you're going though.

In part two Katie will discuss Dog-Dog Play. 

Comment

1 Comment

oh my dog's! Favourite Dog Beds

If owning ten dog beds makes a person an expert on dog beds, then I'm an expert. At the very least, I can say for certain that I'm obsessed with dog beds. I know what my dogs will like and I know what my regular guests like. Here's my top four: Off the top, I can tell you that if you care about design, Bowsers makes some of the most stylish beds. It gets better though; they're washable, extremely durable and made in Canada. And most dogs find them comfortable. While not the most affordable option, in the long run I think they're the best investment.

Concerned about the environment? West Paw beds are eco friendly; made in the USA from recycled plastic pop bottles. With the exception of the "nap" series, the covers are removable and washable. Over time they do start to look a bit tired, but in general, they're quite durable. What I really love about West Paw, is that once the bed looses it's shape (and some of the comfort), you can order new inserts. It's much more economical and enviro-friendly than buying an entire new bed. My dogs love the "tuckered out" and "eco drop" beds.

I think the most comfortable dog bed I've owned so far is the Ortho Bolster by K&H. It's not pretty but my dogs and our guests love it, and around here, that comes first. It's made with orthopaedic foam, the cover is removable and washable and I just can't get over how durable it is.

Personally I would never spend more than thirty dollars on a cushioned bed that doesn't have a removable cover. Even if the entire bed is washable, it can throw your washing machine off kilter. I also like to protect my inserts against urine, drool and general dog odour. When I get a new bed, I unzip it and sandwich pee pads edge-to-edge between the insert and cover. If you wish, you can use tiny safety pins to keep them in place. Pee pads are highly absorbent and you can get them at all pet stores and most dollar stores. When I wash the covers, I replace the pads. You may not feel the need to do this, but since the dog traffic at my house is relatively high and can include the odd elderly, slightly incontinent pooch, it makes good sense.

Recently I purchased a Cooling Bed because when Joey gets warm, he sprawls out on the hardwood and I worry about his mature joints. This bed is pretty cool (haha), as it works strictly by magic, not electricity. You simply add the recommended amount of water, cap it and lay it on the floor. For days he didn't use it, so I made it more inviting by placing a thin sheet over it. And voila! I would recommend this bed for any dog who runs hot, or lives in a non air conditioned home.

1 Comment