Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Understanding Dog Separation Anxiety

Love this blog. See below.

Hi ,

One of the most common problems I hear from fellow dog owners is the incredibly stressful case of separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety can turn into nervous wrecks, and as owners, we don't know what to do.

We still need to go to work, buy groceries, and take care of our children. So, what can we do to train our dogs that it is okay when we leave, that we will return and they needn't worry? It's a tricky science with many people voicing their opinions.

But, in the end, it comes down to simply being there for your dog and not supporting their behaviour with reinforcement.

The Danger of Separation Anxiety

To start with, separation anxiety is often mistaken for excitement. When you return home and see your dog bouncing around wagging its tail, you probably assume that they are just very happy to see you. This may be the case, but it can also be a sign of excitability - the result of anguish they felt before.

That anguish comes about when they are left alone - some part of their canine instincts flashing that they are being abandoned, a death knell to dogs. You shouldn't feel guilty about leaving your dog. Most dogs can handle it perfectly well, and even those with anxiety can be retrained.

But, if you ignore it or allow them to continue showing that excitement, it is bad for their health. Not only can it progress to full blown depression and anxiety which hurts the heart, but it can result in destruction around your home.

Why Dogs Become Anxious

On a very basic level, separation anxiety is due to a dog's pack mentality. If they are left alone, they feel that they have been dropped from the pack. But, on a more immediate level, your dog is anxious because you have not clearly shown them that you are a solid, in command pack leader.

In the wild, a pack leader may often leave the pack for a time to hunt or scout ahead. If your dog sees you leave and gets upset, they very well might see you as a follower, and themselves as an alpha leader.

Your job is to take control of the situation and show them that you are not only the leader of your pack, but that you will return every time you leave. Dogs that openly accept their owner as pack leader are infinitely less stressed and anxious. They can trust in you to deal with the issues at hand.

Of course, not all separation anxiety is as complicated as a pack leader dilemma. Sometimes, it can be simply due to a lack of exercise. A dog that does not get enough exercise simply becomes agitated when you leave and will keep themselves busy while you're gone by destroying your home.

The easiest way to handle this is to make sure your dog gets a real walk before you leave - at least 30 minutes of solid walking. You should also walk your dog after you've returned home and waited the 15 minutes before greeting.

Giving Your Dog What She Needs
Good dog ownership consists of giving your dog what she needs, and not what she wants. This may sound cruel, but in reality, by treating your dog as a dog and not as a human being, you will provide them with the stable, protected environment she craves.

She will be able to relax when you leave and you'll know that your $200 shoes are still intact every day when you return home.

If you want even more comprehensive information about resolving separation anxiety in dogs, please check out:

Talk to you soon,

Calvin Lewis




13842 Outlet Dr. #A-180 Silver Spring, MD 20904, USA

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Giving back to animals. A gift a day

Change happens.  It is inevitable.  It is what we resist and strive for.  Do we prepare the animals in our lives for change or do we wrap them in cotton wool and then see them stress when even the smallest thing changes.

Yes.  animals also have comfort zones. 
A suggestion for the animals in your life - provide them with a small gift everyday.
For your dog, it could be a plant he has never sniffed.  For your horse a rub on the shoulder.  For your cat, perhaps a bit of sand paper wrapped on a stick.  and tomorrow we start again with something new.  Something to look at, touch, sniff, feel, taste...  A new place to visit...

If you work with exotic animals it is called enrichment.  An essential part of working with animals!  Domestic animals deserve it too.

Basically when providing novel stimuli in the form of small gifts, we are preparing our loved ones for changes they may experience.  Then experiencing new things becomes the norm.  Perhaps even something they look forward to.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

stick to the facts - five hints on how to...

Sometimes easier said than done.  Stick to the facts.  Your facts are not mine.  Your idea is not the as mine, and you assume so much that I don't even know about - and visa versa.  The joy of our experience is that we all come from differing perspectives.  Take this baggage into relationship with animals - Not fair!


  1. Get mentally fit.  Practise listening and not going off on a tangent.  Keep a question in mind - even with an animal.  So, if in a training session focus on one thing at a time.
  2. Stop, Look, Adjust, Move - when working with an animal and it is not going according to plan, stop practising what is not working out.  Do something else and come back clear.
  3. Be prepared - so, know what the point of the communication is - what are you wanting to share, experience, teach, learn.
  4. Play.  It is not all about the facts, or the rules or the judgement.  Take time out to just enjoy being with the animal.  Lots of time
  5. Breathe and be.  There is nothing more wonderful than being in relationship with animals.  The more we are - the more confident we become in their presence, and before we know it - they read our minds and we read theirs.
Basic respect - seeing things from another's point view - without an agenda.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Innocent beings

There is nothing better than true connection.  And it begins in innocence and ends there.
Liberty is letting go of the expectation, taking a deep breath, and then just being in the world.

Touching Animal Souls: Top 10 things I choose not to live without

Touching Animal Souls: Top 10 things I choose not to live without: So grateful...  For a while it was taken for granted.  Now there is joy in the little things.  The amazing amazing little things.  Cannot ...

Top 10 things I choose not to live without

So grateful... 

For a while it was taken for granted.  Now there is joy in the little things.  The amazing amazing little things.  Cannot sum it all up here.  But here is a start anyway.

10.  Beach living - swimming with animals, wherever that may be.

9.  Friends who are as passionate about animal care as I am.

8.  Open-hearted animals - the reason for waking up in the morning.

7.  Early morning sojourns with the menagerie (with the joyful repeat at dusk)

6.  Physical labour required in the care of animals

5.  Fur on my couches

4.  The smell of fish on me after a satisfying day at work

3.  Barefoot living - provides the contentment of being connected to the planet

2.  That look in their eyes.

1.  Putting my face into the fur of the horses, dogs and cats, inhaling and knowing that this is where I wish to be.