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Tag Search: panic disorder in dogs, anxious dogs, escaping dogs, dog separation anxiety cures,

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Eliminating Easter Escaping

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 1:30:50 PM EST by Cam Day

Banish Backyard Boredom this Easter

We ask much of our 21st century canines. We confine and constrict them to a minuscule morsel of mother earth in our back yards, thinking little of their yearning for the freedom of the open spaces that were once the provinces of their ancestors eons before.

We leave daily for work, always at the same time and always in the same manner, with Fido watching every repetitious move. The poor old pooch is left alone, day after day, in the same old back yard, in the same old way, at the same old time.

You probably take Fido for walks along the street, even on a daily basis. Fido will enjoy that for sure, but on your return, you discard Fido in the boring old back yard again. The street is interesting, stimulating and changing, associated with adventure, fun and excitement. The backyard is ..... dull, boring, routine and uniform, associated with the hum drum 'normalness' of life.  Nothing changes, nothing happens, no excitement occurs.

And some dogs even hate their back yard because of the traumas they have experienced.

Escaping from Back Yard Boredom Blues

Considering so many of us work 50 - 60 hour weeks, it is far from surprising that backyard boredom is an increasingly common ill with dogs. It is also not surprising that the wanderlust often strikes and Fido flees for the freedom of the fiords, to explore, have fun and to enrich his own lifestyle!

However, if you allow Fido such freedom, problems are bound to arise. Dogs which are allowed to roam usually Beagle_Pup_escaping-SMLhave a short life span and are never popular. They are often seriously maimed or killed by cars. They are commonly baited or shot because of the nuisance they cause and they often roam so far that they become lost or stolen, never to be seen again.

Good Fences Prevent Escaping

You have several solutions that you can utilise to prevent your dog from roaming the street.  The easiest and most obvious solution is to construct a fence that is secure enough to keep your dog in your own property and out of your neighbour's. However, you should also think about the boring nature of the backyard and do all you can to solve that problem and whether having the pet neutered will help.

A good fence will solve most problems and the rule the 'bigger the better' is a reasonable one.

'What not to use' is the first consideration. Chicken wire is not suitable for a dog enclosure as it is too weak and barbed wire should never be considered. Mesh with wide gaps is also a danger as a dog that has a need to escape can often stretch the mesh sufficiently to get its head and neck caught. The results are often very dangerous.

A chain mesh and pipe fence is the standard type of dog fence, and is probably the cheapest. It should have a tension wire at ground level to which you should securely attach the mesh, and another at the top. Ideally, you should install a horizontal pipe at the top of the fence as this will give additional strength.

A picket fence makes a good dog enclosure, especially as it partially obscures visual access to the street outside, thus reducing barking. However, there is a significant danger with picket fences. Dogs which try to jump fences often get their paws lodged between the pickets at the top of the fence. I have known dogs that have died from being caught in such fences when their owners were away. You can easily prevent this danger. All you need to do is to cover the gap between each picket at the top with a horizontal paling, running the entire length of the fence.

Special Fences for Ballistic Barkers

For dogs that are chronic barkers, a solid fence, usually a wooden one, is well worth consideration. The common 'good neighbour' fence is ideal.

Dedicated 'Pavarotti Pooches' also benefit by being secured away from the boundary fence  facing the main cause of  barking. This is usually, but not always, the street. Such fences commonly extend from the side of the house, leaving a dog-free front garden and a doggy back yard. Having achieved this, enriching the back yard environment is very important. This is discussed later. When distanced from the continual stimuli of the street, many previously noisy dogs become surprisingly quiet and peaceful.

Fences for Escaping Experts

Some dogs are so intent on escaping that they will do all they can to find a weak portion of a fence. If they can't find one, they will create it.

Sad_dog_at_fence-SMLThe problem with such dogs is that the more they escape, the more they are reinforcing their own behaviour. For such dogs, the escaping routine can be very difficult to solve.

For such dogs, a secure fence is vital. A concrete footing at the bottom of the fence is easy to construct and will prevent the dog from digging under the fence to escape. It is ideal if you bury the bottom of the fence in the cement, or for pipe and mesh fences, if you can place a horizontal footing pipe just above the concrete footing.

The best dog fence by far is a solid wooden fence, where the horizontal supporting beams are on the opposite sides of the fence to where the dog is housed. Many dogs are able to use the horizontal beams as a ladder to help them get over the fence.

For those escape artists that jump or climb the fence, sometimes making the fence higher is not the answer as they still manage to jump or climb. The best solution is to construct a 'lean-too' section on top of the fence. This is an attachment, angled at forty-five degrees and facing inwards. You can construct this easily by attaching angled steel to each post and placing chain netting between each angled section.

The effect is that the dog cannot climb the fence due to the angled section, and cannot jump the fence because of the appearance of width the fence now has.

For human safety, ensure that the angled sections are above head height.

More information

Does Neutering Have any Effect on Escaping Behaviour?

 Neutering male dogs is an important consideration. One study has shown that, in 90 percent of entire male dogs, roaming is solved after castration. This is because roaming is often induced, at least initially, by the attractive scent of female dogs on heat in the neighbourhood. The territorial perception male dogs develop by urine marking trees and posts while roaming is also important. The more they roam, the more they mark and thus the more they perceive the neighbourhood as their owned territory.

Relieving Backyard Boredom

The routine nature of a suburban dog's life, as discussed earlier, is a modern day ill. For barking and escaping dogs, providing an enriched lifestyle in the backyard is vital.

Honey sitting with the WobblerOn a daily basis, you should play with your dog in your backyard by giving it daily aerobic exercise, 'brain work' or mental stimulation and also giving welcome cuddles and companionship. This is a formal program I call the ABC's Technique and is available here.

Briefly, throwing Frisbees and balls in the backyard is good and just running and jumping with your dog is good exercise for both of you.

I often advise my clients to use a special dog toy called a Kong Ball. The ball bounces unpredictably and resists a dog's chewing too. It has a hole in the middle in which small amounts of food can be placed to create even more interest. 

But what's better than the normal Kong is the KONG Wobbler. This one is hugely popular, and is weighted on the bottom so that when your dog knocks the toy over to get a treat, the Wobbler bounces straight back up into the standing position popping out food treats at the same time.

Free express post delivery on Kong Wobblers for  short time.

Brain work involves a fun training routine in which you teach your dog to do different things for no reason other than for fun. Teach it to walk along balance beams, to climb over garden furniture and other obstacles, to roll over, crawl and to 'play dead'. Also encourage your dog to play 'hide and seek'. For this game you place your dog in a 'down and stay' position and encourage it to 'seek' you, other members of your family or even tidbits of food hidden around the back yard.

Have you seen our No Bored Dogs Routine yet?  We have developed many cheap cheats to help with boredom relief. More information on that here.

Some Escaping is Abnormal

Some escaping has nothing to do with boredom.  In our world as behaviourist, we see dogs escaping because they are suffering from mood disorders. The commonest of those are separation anxieties, separation panic disorders and noise phobias.  Some escaping behaviour is best described as cause by back yard ghosts.

If your dog is distressed while he or she is trying to escaping that's something you should never ignore. Contact us for advice on that or jump the queue and book a behaviour consultation online here.

Remember, escaping behaviour can be a fatal condition.

A Carton of Magic

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 12:59:51 PM EST by Cam Day

The pet-toy market is flooded with so many different types and makes of toys. So it can be difficult to choose the right one.

But have you ever considered making your own dog toy using standard throw-away items you would normally put in your recycling bin!

That's where the Carton of Magic routine comes in!

How Can a Milk Carton Provide Hours of Fun for a Pet?

There is one gift for a pet that is the cheapest and best of them all. It's one that you have already but I bet you don't realise its value - the milk carton!

A milk carton, plastic or cardboard, is magic for dogs, cats and even for birds.

The Daily Rabbit

For instance, try the Daily Rabbit for an entrée. 

What self-respecting wolf ever eats its meal from a stainless steel bowl? Their 'daily rabbit' appears at random and the wolf delightfully chases the rabbit, catches it and eats the poor little bunny.

There is a way to mimic that without risking the welfare of any small critter. Use a milk carton with a hole in the side. 

VIEW A VIDEO OF THIS ROUTINE HERE

 So, take a one or two-litre plastic milk carton and, using a knife and a sturdy pair of scissors, cut a nose-sized hole in the side about half way up. Smooth the edges of this cut surface by running a flame from a match quickly around rim.

Now, place a small quantity of your dog's dry food inside the milk carton and give it to your pooch just before you leave for work. Pooch will be perfectly puzzled trying to work out how to get the snack out of the carton.

This mimics the natural tendency of a dog to want to eat their prey animal such as it's Daily Rabbit.

To answer a common question - no this does not cause a dog to develop aggression to small furry animals!

You can do the same for cats, and even for a pet bird such as a Cockatoo.  Alter the size of the hole to suit the size of the pet.

Carton of Magic Extreme

Two and three litre milk cartons can also be made into exciting brain expanders for dogs and cats by hanging them from the rafters of your Pagoda or the beams under your house.

Run a dog lead through the handle of the milk carton by placing the clip end through the hand loop, tighten the loop around the handle of the milk carton then attach the clip to a strong bungee cord or a tension spring that you can purchase for a few dollars from a hardware store.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

The KONG WobblerKONG Wobbler

The KONG company are famous for their brain-expanding toys but they have really excelled themselves with the KONG Wobbler. 

The Wobbler can replace your dog's food bowl and exercise your dog's bored brain in an instant.

We regard the Wobbler as being one of the best behavioural toys currently available.

More Details Here

Paw Propellor

For cats, make a Paw Propeller. Using a milk carton again, stretch a rubber band from the cap to the base and in the middle of the rubber band secure a paddle-pop stick like a propeller so that is just wide enough to catch on the edge of the bottle. Wind up the rubber band and when puss places a paw inside the hole, its paw is likely to activate a few turns to the 'propeller'. That'll keep it guessing.  

The Cunning Carton Cruncher

The Carton Cruncher is another alternative. Place dry food inside a cardboard milk carton with a hole in one side or you can also employ a toothpaste box for small dogs and cats or a cereal box for the big dogs. A toilet roll core is also useful - put food treats inside and fold the ends over like a bon-bon.

Would you like a sneaky way to feed your cats during the day? Try the Tricky Bickie Feeder. Get a one-litre plastic milk carton and cut a 20-cent-sized hole in the bottom edge. Fill the carton with dry biscuits but include a small number of highly flavoured dry treats such as Whiskas Cravers, to add some interest. Secure the bottle upright with a rubber band looped onto a chair leg or similar.

The Perplexed Puss will soon work out that a paw placed inside the hole will scoop out some biscuits. As it learns the technique, make the task slightly more difficult by cutting a small 'door' in the bottom rather than a hole. Make the hinge of the 'door' at the bottom, so that when puss pulls at the door, the spring effect is likely to shoot a biscuit or two into the air.  Puss will be happy!

The Sneaky Leaky Milk Carton

For dogs and cats that are bored during the day, the Sneaky Leaky Milk Carton is a devious treasure.  Use a drawing pin to place a hole in the bottom of a milk carton. It will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes for 250 millilitres of water to leak out of this hole. Place the leaking milk carton on the end of a DVD case high on a ledge where your dog or cat can't get to it. Now place a Milk Muncher or a Carton Cruncher on the other end of the ruler. When enough water leaks out, the leaking bottle will be too light to counter the weight of the gift on the end and the gift will then be delivered to your delighted pet.  

Bucket of Fun

And now for the Bucket of Fun. Make a Sneaky Leaky Milk Carton from a two or three litre milk bottle - one with a handle on the side. Tie a two the three metre length of nylon washing line to the handle and run the line though a pulley secured to a beam on the roof of your pagoda. On the other end of the line, suspend an ice-cream bucket at head height. (The metal clasp from a dog lead serves nicely as a pulley.) Now place some food treats, a bone or your pet's favourite toy in the bucket. In the leaking carton, place 250 millilitres of water to act as a counter-balance. When enough water leaks out, the heavier bucket will slide down to the ground, thus delivering the day's delights to the pooch.  

Water Treat

The Water Treat is also a useful idea. If you want to be sure your dog's water is always fresh, fill a two litre milk carton with fresh water and place a hole, the size of a knitting needle, three to four centimetres from the bottom of the milk carton. Be sure the cap is secured. Place the carton into the dog's water bowl and secure it upright to a post on your deck or pagoda with a belt or rope. When your dog drinks the water below the level of the hole, air will be allowed inside the carton and water will leak out until the hole is covered again.

When using a milk carton, safety is important. Where necessary, remove the lid of the milk carton and the plastic sealing ring in case you pooch tries to swallow it. Be sure the size of any hole you make is not large enough for your pet to get its head stuck inside!  Also, don't use any of these techniques if your pet is likely to chew and then swallow bits of the plastic.

Stopping dog separation anxiety in 10 steps

Posted: Monday, June 9, 2014 at 11:19:44 AM EST by Cam Day

A10-Point Plan to cure your dog's separation anxiety

Stopping a dog's separation anxiety is not difficult when the solution is crafted around your lifestyle and the lifestyle of your pet.

What is a Separation Anxiety?Separation Anxiety cures

A separation anxiety is a subset of the group of behaviours called anxieties where your dog  exhibits signs of distress when separated from you.

While there are many signs which are well-described in this member’s sheet called Home Alone and Anxious a quick summary is:-

  1. Your dog will show an emotion related to sadness, moroseness or anxiety when you are preparing to leave

  2. It will show anxious behaviours while you are gone such as distressed vocalisation, escaping, house soiling and other behaviours.

  3. And it will be over-attentive when you arrive home.

Assessing your dog’s separation anxietyBook a pet behaviour consultation here

There are several ways you can assess your dog’s separation anxiety.

  1. Complete this assessment form and use the DIY email we then sent you.
  2. Book a consultation with Dr Cam but remember that members get at least a 10% reduction in fees and free telephone support, and many other benefits.
  3. Listen to the first few Podcasts from one of Dr Cam’s seminars on Separation anxiety. (Here's the first one Home Alone Behaviours - Introduction  )

Here's Your 10-Point Plan to Solve Your Dog's Separation Anxiety

The solutions you employ depend on the way in which the anxiety presents and the severity of the anxiety.

  1. It’s really important you ensure your dog is medically fit because medical disorders can certainly contribute to separation anxiety behaviours. Refer to this sheet – Medical Causes of Behavioural Problems. Your veterinarian will help you to determine if a medical issue is contributing to your dog's problem or we can help with that when you book a consultation.

  2. The sheet Home Alone and Anxious is the main page you need to read. It stitches the solutions together very well and is the keystone sheet you can use to get the problem solved. That sheet is really detailed so be sure to work through it all.

  3. You can also listen to the whole collection of Dr Cam’s Separation Anxiety Podcasts (2 hours of audio) via this link  and you can download them to your iThing or MP3 player. Membership is needed to access them.

  4. Perhaps your dog’s anxiety is mostly manifest by barking and howling in which case this Barking Dog Pet Pick contains a wealth ofKONG Wobbler information and an additional two hours of podcasts which are well worth the small cost of membership.

  5. If your dog is destructive in your absence then you may be interested in our No Bored Dogs Pet Pick. For us, boredom relief is one of the key concepts that allows the development of techniques called Trial Separations and Staged Leavings (which are also mentioned in Home Alone and Anxious).

  6. You may also benefit from reading solutions to hole digging behaviour here and boredom-relief toys such as the Kong Wobbler can really help to create an easy separation from your dog.

  7. Some dogs develop separation anxiety when you move to a new house.

  8. Alternatively you may feel the solutions your dog needs relate to the means by which you can keep him or her happy and content so Happy Pets – It’s as Simple as ABC is what you need to read.

  9. A comfortable wolf-like Den can be important for some dogs and very comforting too, so refer to this sheet on the Denning Principle. (It’s a member’s file).

  10. Calming Dogs with Separation Anxiety can be Life-Saving

If you are looking for means by which you can calm your dog then look at the homeopathic product called Anxiety.

pheromones20reducedThe Dog Appeasing Pheromone can be very effective for calming your dog and there are three versions available including a power-point diffuser, a pheromone collar and a pheromone spray.

For really serious anxieties, especially those where your dog is panicking or injuring itself and your property when you are away, medications can be vital and life-saving. Curing Panicking Pets is what you need to read in that case.

Re-assessing your progress

No matter what solutions you implement, mark a point in your diary three weeks from now when you will review your dog’s progress. You should be able to make significant progress in three weeks. If that’s not the case, contact us for assistance by completing this assessment form or by ringing us on 07 32550022

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