Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tips to Use When Working with Anxious Dogs

Dogs live in strong social structures and avoid conflict by using body posture and signals. Turid Rugaas, an internationally renowned dog trainer and writer, studied wolf packs and observed the calming signals they use with each other. She wrote an excellent book on dog communication, titled, “On Talking Terms With Dogs.” During any work or interaction with anxious or stressed dogs (such as those in animal shelters), it would be good to incorporate a few of these communication skills:

  • Turn your head slightly away from your dog. In dog body language, staring or worse, hard staring, is a threat. 
  • Yawn with head turned slightly away. This is a way to communicate you are attempting to calm the situation.
  • Lick the side of your lip with head slightly turned. Lip licking can also be interpreted as non-threatening.

All these may sound silly until you realize your dog may do the same thing back to you. Even if she doesn’t, you’re still communicating things are ok, safe, no need to be concerned. Never coddle, try to sooth, or become worried, anxious, or upset yourself. If you are worried, anxious and upset, the dog will read your body language and become more anxious. Coddling or trying to sooth the anxious dog may cause the dog’s adrenaline to increase and work against calming. Next time you observe a group of dogs together – especially if they’re meeting each other for the first time – observe their body language and learn!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Susan's Tips for Preventing Dog Bites: For Children and Adults

Susan Sharpe, inventor of Anxiety Wrap, offers these tips for children and adults to prevent dog bites:


Unfortunately, children are the victims of most serious dog bites. It is very important that adults understand what to do and not to do when they are with dogs and pass this along to the children in their lives.

Never run up to a dog, even one you know.

Never scream or run around a dog, even your own.

Don’t sneak up on a dog, especially when he is sleeping or eating.

Children should never go up to any dog without an adult.

Don't stare into the eyes of a dog, and let him sniff your hand before you pet him.

Pet the dog under his chin, on his chest or on his back, not his head.

Stand still if a dog approaches you. Stop, put your bike down, and stand still if you are riding. Don't try to run or ride away!

If a dog is growling or showing his teeth, don't go up to him even if he is with his owner.

Don't try to pet a dog through a fence, even if he is your friend.

Leave mother dogs with their puppies alone. She might try and protect them from you.

Wrestling, chase, and tug games are not good games for kids to play with dogs.

Hitting and teasing dogs, pulling their ears, tails and feet are very dangerous.

Let an adult know if there is a loose dog running around.

If a dog threatens you, don't look into his eyes, scream or run. Instead, hold a jacket or book bag in front of you and slowly back away.

If a dog does attack you, roll up like a ball and put your hands behind your neck.

Dogs perceive situations as safe or dangerous: if they feel a situation is dangerous they will defend themselves, often with a bite. Help the children understand so that their experiences with dogs will be all positive!

Tip of the week: Avoid bending over dogs, especially shy or anxious ones. A person can appear awfully big and intimidating hovering above them. Until then, keep those tails a waggin'
"Copyright 2010 Animals Plus, LLC"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What You Should Know About the Calming Face Wrap

Calming Face Wrap

Some dogs suffer more serious storm fear and the Face Wrap, which is NOT a muzzle in any way can be used in conjunction with the Anxiety Wrap to comfortably reduce the dog's fear and anxiety.  It's completely comfortable and in fact the dog could easily paw it off, but usually doesn't until after the storm has passed.

The Face Wrap works via maintained pressure and 2-acupressure points. One over the bridge of the dog's nose and the second one at the back of the dog's head.

The Face Wrap is used in conjunction with the Anxiety Wrap for those dogs suffering more serious storm fear. I.e. scratching the floor, their people or furniture as well as dogs who bark at or chase the storm. Also in the case of the dog climbing upward (on tables or mantles), destructive behavior or trying to escape the storm.  

Monday, November 1, 2010

You Might Have Missed Susan's WikiHow Article: How to Calm a Dog During Thunderstorms

Susan wrote:

Millions of dogs suffer from thunderstorm fear and experience symptoms that range from panting, pacing, and shaking to causing damage to the home or worse, injury to themselves. Susan Sharpe, APDT, CPDT-KA, a 25 year dog trainer, owner of Canine Companions and inventor of The Anxiety Wrap, offers tips to help owners and dogs cope...

Read Susan's 3 Steps to Calm Your Dog During Thunderstorms.