Most behavioral problems in dogs stem from one problem: anxiety. There are many small, individual triggers that can cause your dog to feel anxious, and there is one technique that solves it: consistency.
How do you achieve consistency? By establishing yourself as a leader rather than a follower through commitment-based dog training.
Dogs have always been man’s best friend, but we need to make sure we are being good friends, too. They offer us affection and companionship. The least we can do is train them well.
According to a 2020 survey of Finnish dog owners, the majority of dogs (approximately 72%) experience anxiety. Triggers include:
- Noise sensitivity
- Fear of other dogs
- Fear of strangers
Of these dog owners, 14% reported aggressive behavior in their pups, which they believed to be anxiety related.
The American Kennel Club states that the best way to combat anxiety is through a combination of training and counterconditioning. Occasionally, medication may be required. Your best option for dog training in North Carolina is to contact an experienced, vet-recommended dog trainer like Sally Said So!
How does consistency help overcome anxiety?
As we mention on our anxiety training page, a regular routine is vital. Your dog must know what to expect from you. Since we cannot communicate with dogs the same way that we communicate with people, our tone of voice, body language, and behavior must do the talking.
It is a dog owner’s responsibility to set boundaries and clearly communicate those boundaries.
Preventative Vet mentions that having too strict of a routine can backfire, causing anxiety instead of preventing it if the routine is ever interrupted. But there should be certain things your dog can count on, like:
- A feeding schedule
- A potty schedule
- Access to appropriate chew toys
- Daily playtime
- Daily training practice
These elements are all vital to your dog’s mental health. Ensuring their basic needs are met on a reliable schedule means that they will feel safe and secure in their home. Playtime allows them to spend time with you and burn off some energy. Excessive behaviors, like chewing and digging, are often the result of boredom. Ensuring they have access to toys keeps them distracted and happy, leaving them no time to feel anxious.
Consistent, daily training works to help alleviate anxiety in a few ways. Not only does your dog get to exercise and spend time with you, but training also helps build on that all-important idea of consistency. Your dog must know that if they perform a certain behavior (good or bad) your reaction will be the same.
For example, if you yell at your dog for pulling on the leash one day, but you don’t the next, they will not understand whether that behavior is acceptable or not. They will feel confused and—you guessed it!—anxious.
Your dog deserves a strong leader who lays out consistent expectations from the start. You can be that leader, and Sally Said So! can help you reach your full potential.
Individualized, in-home dog training with Sally Said So! can overcome any behavioral challenge. Offer your dog structure, security, and clear boundaries, and you’ll set your dog up for confidence and success.
Contact us today!