I recently attended a webinar on Building Resiliency in Dogs by Dr. Patricia McConnell. It was a great and free information session on how to increase confidence. This would be particularly great for rescue workers and families living with fearful or anxious dogs. And because I love to share great resources here’s where you can view a recording of the webinar.
This had me thinking about the fact that most people don’t even know what anxiety or fear looks like in dogs because it’s not always obvious.
The most common identifying traits are hiding, shaking, tail tucked, low body, etc. Most people can identify a dog in that state is fearful or anxious. However I routinely see families with fearful dogs and the owners weren’t even aware that was the issue!
Common overlooked behaviours include:
- Won’t approach visitors or certain family members
- House soiling – especially urine marking
- Charging at people (family or visitors)
- Bullying type behaviour with other dogs (includes guarding toys, food and sleeping areas)
- Separation anxiety – whining when you leave, destructive behaviour, etc.
In fact many undesirable canine behaviours can be attributed to anxiety or fear. It can be hard to recognize this especially when you’re frustrated with your dog however if you remember Ari’s story sometimes you need to boost the confidence of your dog before you can deal with the problem.
Also keep in mind that there doesn’t always have to be a reason why a dog would have anxiety. Sometimes something small can create a major issue. Dogs can be anxious due to genetic predisposition, missed socialization, over socialization, an event during a fear period, an event in general that causes your dog fear, etc. Don’t get hung up the why.