|by Joy Freedman|
|When Fido Freaks
This is the season for sudden, swift and loud thunderstorms. Most dogs could care less as long as they are dry, fed and in the air conditioning. Kind of like me!
However, there are those that have mild to severe anxiety when a storm approaches.
Symptoms vary, but can include shaking, panting, barking, running from window to window, hiding in a bath tub, etc. This is usually just as scary for us as it is for our dogs. There are a couple of ways to treat this, either medically/holistically and/or with behavior modification.
Before you start any medication, natural or prescribed make sure your vet checks your pet for any condition, such as a heart murmur, food allergies, etc. This could prevent any potentially dangerous interaction.
When Fido freaks due to a storm it's what you don't do that really counts! Try not to give attention when his symptoms appear, as this will only encourage his negative state of mind. Physical touch should only be given when he is in a relaxed, Zen state of mind. What you can do is get a spoon of peanut butter or cream cheese, etc. and see if he will lick the spoon. This will help re-associate a negative experience with a positive one.
As always, if the problem interferes with their daily life, consult a professional for assistance!
Q: How do I prevent my dog from stealing food off the table when I am not around? A: This is accomplished in stages. First by teaching the "off" command which means paws and mouth touch nothing! Hold a piece of food say "off," then when she backs away reward her with affection, and put the treat in her mouth. Once this is accomplished, set her up in a situation where you can "spy" on her. Put a treat on the table and watch. When she shows interest in the treat by merely looking at it, run into the room and make a big deal, or if you aren't that swift, toss a shaker can (a can filled with pennies) at her and go in very disappointed. Also try double-sided masking tape on the table. Most dogs don't like it when their paws stick.
Q: Is it true that if the dogs nose is dry that he/she is sick? A: If a dog's nose is dry with a combination of symptoms, such as lethargy or vomiting, then yes. Dogs lick their noses to dampen their scent receptor which allows them to receive more fabulous smells! So it is said that if a dog isn't interested in sniffing it must be sick!
Joy Freedman is a Dog Behaviorist who does the popular "Ask the trainer" column on radio and for Baltimore Dog magazine, and now for Letters! She has worked with Cesar Milan and will be doing monthly seminars in Rehoboth while working on her first book this summer! Her website is www.4Pawspetservices.com. Submit Dog queries to Askthetrainer@4Pawspetservices.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 10 July 25, 2008