dog being stroked

5 myths about dog anxiety everyone thinks are true

Separation anxiety – the facts you need to know
Author: Paul Daly

There are so many myths and misconceptions that have surrounded dog behaviour and training.

Separation anxiety is one of the most talked about and written about issues in recent years.

Dog anxiety is a problem that affects many animals of varying ages.

A recent study carried out on 1’300 dogs and their owners found that 30% per cent where suffering with “fears” or “phobias”. With 22.5% were described as having “obsessive compulsive disorders”.

However this is the most shocking as 12% exhibited “anxiety” in certain situations.

Separation anxiety in dogs has been one of the most talked about and written behavioural issues in recent years.

It is also now one of the most misunderstood disorders not just for owners but also trainers and behaviourist across the globe. It’s important to understand that a dog is constantly communicating through its body language how it is feeling.

If you learn to read and understand a dog’s body language you will see these 5 facts about dog anxiety people believe are true are in themselves just myths.

1 An anxious dog is a fearful dog

This is not true as fear is a completely different and comes with its own set of issues.

An anxious state dog will stand their ground and can become destructive, agitated and even aggressive when pushed into a situation.

Where as a fearful dog will do anything to get out of the situation, it would rarely confront or become aggressive.

That is not to say a fearful dog would not become anxious if the approach to the behaviour is incorrectly executed.

2 Some dogs are predisposed to anxiety because of their personality.

This is so untrue as all dogs have the ability to cope with day-to-day situations.

Anxiety only exists because the introduction to certain activities or situations have caused them to misinterpret and misunderstand what is expected from them.

If this were true we would not be able to help the dogs that develop deep-rooted anxiety issues.

Change the way they see the situation you change the reaction.

dog wearing mouth guard

3 Use a muzzle or crate train to restrict your dog to deal with this problem.

Never use a muzzle or a crate without reducing the anxiety first.

If we restrict a dog to deal with this problem this may keep them from being agitated or destructive but it will intensify the anxiety.

Your dog will become more anxious and become further detached from you and develop an increased unbalanced behaviour.

4 Never comfort or touch a dog if they are anxious.

This is one of the biggest myths out there at the moment. There is nothing wrong with comforting a dog, it is natural.

When puppies are exhibiting fear or anxiety mum doesn’t push them away she brings them close to her.

What she does not do though is panic, she does not feel sorry for them she just offers a calm safe place.

You need to calm yourself before you offer comfort or touch which in turn will decrease the anxiety.

5 It could take months or years to solve anxiety.

Anxiety does not take months or years to solve. Granted some dogs will take longer than others, but with the correct behaviour modification and consistency from the human.

Dog anxiety can be reduced down in days or just weeks.

The key is to find what is driving the anxiety, look for the triggers and reduce the impact they have on your dogs behaviour.

Change the way your dog see’s any given activity and you will decrease the anxiety they are experiencing.

Creating a calm World around your dog will reduce the anxiety and then you will see that it simply does not exist.

There are many truths and myths about anxiety in dogs but I hope this article has gone some way to helping you understand it a little better.