Together All the Time: At Home with Pets During Covid-19

icalmpet team photo with dogs calming dog music

On July 21st of this Covid year, we sent these questions to our iCalmPet email list.  We asked for feedback on our iCalm Gift Downloads Program, which we started as a response to Covid, and their experiences of it in quarantine. We were curious what it was like for people to be with their pets (and vice versa) all the time!

  • How’s it felt to be in isolation with your animals?

  • Has it brought you closer? Farther?

  • What is most stressful?

  • How do you and your pet relieve stress?

  • Do you get on each other’s nerves?

  • How do you deal with it?

  • What is most comforting?

  • Would you like to share anything else related to Covid and pets?

We loved the responses we received – they were honest, emotional, and completely unguarded. It was not our original intention, but we were so moved by the replies––these beautiful and honest accounts of life in quarantine––we decided to piece together a story. A snapshot of human life in these unprecedented times.


The Stories

My two dogs and I have been in lock down since March 12th. In some ways the dogs have been happy that I am home all the time. In other ways they wish I’d go out! I have learned that there are days when we need to just have the house quiet for several hours. We are fortunate to have a back yard so each day we spend several hours just enjoying the weather. I also do yoga in the den and go for walks by myself.
– Lisa with Bess & Cooper, Portland

 

Calm dog annie

Our coton du Tulear, age 2.5, has become our therapy dog!  She brings so much joy into our lives, and walking her several times a day gets us outside (even in the heat) and enhances our physical health.  Also, I bought an excellent book, “The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever.”  It has very clear instructions and photos.  We are working our way through the book, and it is fun to see her enjoy the training and gain new skills.  We train almost every day as part of the routine we have developed.  We are retired and have a LOT of free time, as we are isolating here in Florida, where the infection rate is very high.

 —Susan with Annie, Florida

dog soothing music x calming dog music

What is most stressful? Not stressful so much as disappointing for him has been somewhat reduced physical contact with other people, which my dog very much enjoys, during our daily walks. Most stressful for me has been the inability to be with him when he has to go to the vet — handing him over in the parking lot and then talking to the vet on the phone rather than being in the room. I understand the need for the new protocols, but I don’t like them. Fortunately for me, however, my dog does not mind going to the vet, and he’s perfectly comfortable with everybody there and probably doesn’t miss having me in the exam/treatment room.

What is most comforting? Just being able to spend time with my dog (he will be 11 years old next month) and to give him the loving, safe, comfortable, stable, social, and happy life he deserves (and didn’t have for his first two years of life).

Pat K. with Bo, from CT

 

calm dog Baxter with ball

We only have each other, with no other family members in the house.  So we really rely on each other for comfort, companionship and physical contact.  We are so glad to have each other to hug.  We go for a couple of walks each day and are able to visit a few neighbors (from a distance), but no one else is allowed to touch Baxter, and he can’t even sniff his canine friends that we meet on our walks.  We all have to just wave at each other from across the street and say how we are all looking forward to the time when we can actually get together again.
-Rudi & Baxter, San Jose CA

 

dog soothing music x calming dog music

What is most stressful? All the changes. We are getting used to some of them, but I believe people are created as social beings and having masks, (needed I know!) and staying away from each other even though we can talk, we can’t hug or pat each other on the back or any other normal physical signals we give one another. Masks are more stressful for dogs and cats as they are unable to read our facial expressions. We have taken away a great many cues from them with masks.
-Susan, Tobie, and Cooper. Livermore, CA

 

soothing dog music box for anxious dogs

Lockdown has actually been a blessing in disguise in a way.  Yes, there have been struggles, but it has allowed me to focus more time on training and playing with my dog.
-Ollie’s Human

 

dog soothing music x calming dog music

I live alone so my dogs have been a lifeline. We do walk most mornings and I attend an outside dog training class which also gives us things to work on during the week. Who knows when all of this will be behind us so I’m endeavoring to do the best everyday. Is it easy, well no, but this is the only day I have.
-Kathy and the Poodles, New Mexico

 

3 calm pets

 

After months of isolation, I value my animals even more.  I live with another person, but find myself talking to my dog and three cats more than her.  I observe their habits, their charming quirks as well as their skill at manipulating me! But I also am fearful about the future, as this pandemic has upset life as we know it.  The virus is spreading fast in my location, with more hospitalizations and more deaths. My greatest fear is, if I should become incapacitated and/or die, who will care for my babies? Who would give them a home?  Who would give them the affection and attention they know now?       –Harriet, Chattanooga.

Since Covid, both I and my husband take Kiko out for long walks (our exercise, too). So much togetherness may have become too much for Kiko. I’ve noticed she spends more time in the yard enjoying the sun, grass and occasional animals. She plays “keep away” if I try to entice her to come into the house.

– XXXXXXXXX

How’s it felt to be in isolation with your animals? Having my pets required I keep some semblance of a routine, which I think was mentally and emotionally healthy for me. They also were a source of love and comfort.

Do you get on each other’s nerves? Maybe some times. It was probably more me just being stressed about all the change I was dealing with. I tried to keep it all in perspective and be in the moment rather than worry about things I can’t control. I didn’t always do it well.

What is most comforting? Having people and pets around me who love me. By around me, I also mean being able to call and Facetime family and friends.
– XXXXXXXXX

I was not able to work from home when this started in March, so my Ruby girl dog and I just sat around and listened to the micro SDs we already have.  We loved being with each other 24/7.  Then, in June I was ordered to go into the office so I could work, but my Ruby girl was not too happy about that.  She was now used to me being home with her.  So, since telecommuting will be around for a while with my company, I’ve just purchased my own computer, etc. so I can set up an office at home.  I’m so looking forward to being with my Ruby girl every day again.
-XXXXXXX

Having my pets with me during this crisis has been such a great source of comfort to me and no, we have not gotten on each others’ nerves at all. For me, the most stressful part of this is watching the world change before my eyes, and knowing that this crisis will have a lasting impact on the world as we know it. So many businesses will be closing, so many empty buildings will remain. Restaurants/businesses I’ve known and loved have been unable to survive, and the way of life we’ve all had is forever changed. I think it’s time for a dog hug now…
– XXXXXXXXX

Being together 24/7 has been fun, frustrating, tiring at times.  Eli (rescue YorkiePoo, just turned 9 years old last week) and I have had to figure it out as we went along.  He was accustomed to having “alone” time every day, and suddenly that changed as it did for everyone.The most stressful thing is that now Eli thinks this is the norm, and when I leave he gets very upset.  He is more clingy and “demanding”.  The internal doggy clock is so accurate, and if I deviate a minute from feeding time he barks and whines and will not take a “just a minute” answer.  He is aggravating about that, where he never used to be.

He gets on my nerves by relentlessly telling me it’s time for his dinner, or it’s time for me to go in the kitchen and cook a meal, or it’s time to go to bed.  Everything has to be done when he wants it done, and it gets easier to just let him have his own way.  I get on his nerves by telling him “no” so often, or “just wait a minute”.

What is most comforting is cuddling in the big bed, settling down to sleep.  His sweetness shows up then, and all the aggravation and stress falls away.This has been a very unusual, stressful, frightening time.  Your music downloads have been a big help.  When he’s been irritating me, and I have been irritating him, we sit down and listen to some of it and we calm right down.
– XXXXXXXXX

While the lockdown has been difficult for us all including my Fur Baby it has brought us closer realizing that what matters most is that we are healthy happy and together. To relieve stress, we listen to iCalm tunes, I read to her and we hang and play together… just being together is enough and each day is a blessing.

Do you get on each other’s nerves? I think the honest response would be yes at times. She is too yelpy at times when I am of course on a conference call and I of course talk too much as I am on calls a lot for my work.  The upside is I have a great job and we have each other!
– XXXXXXXXX

24/7 lockdown with my animals has been a blessing! Because I leave the house less often, when I do leave, my pup gets a little anxious. Ever since he came to live with me, I’ve used iCalm recordings as a ritual when I leave the house. He knows as soon as turn on the little Bluetooth player that I’m getting ready to leave. He looks for the special treat he gets when I go out the door, takes it to his bed, and settles down. It’s helped so much to have this ritual!
– XXXXXXXXX

How’s it felt to be in isolation with your animals? I love it. I can spend more quality time with Shelby, we exercise more, I feel less guilt as now I am not leaving her home alone for extended hours every day.

What is most stressful? She is used to having me near all the time as I am able to work remote. Now when I leave for an hour or two, she is anxious (she is a nervous dog anyway, very sensitive to noise). I’m a bit concerned when I will have to go back to the office.
– XXXXXXXXX

I have 7 cats who may or may not be “listening” when I play the download, but I play it every week for me and then my calmness enables me to be calm with them- less afraid, less anxious, moving slower. The coronavirus was so scary at first that I felt ungrounded and I read too much news and the music is like a step “back to earth.”  I have been working at home (on Zoom and Skype) for many years, so this was not a big change, but it’s easy to feel like a robot after a morning on Zoom.

—XXXX

My dog (lab mix named Carbon) has actually been calmer in the last few months. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, and maybe he just aged out of some of his anxiety (he’s 5), or because we’re home all the time (he wasn’t totally alone much before because we mostly work from home), but either way it’s nice!
– XXXXXXXXX

There is no question in my mind that, without my dear Sadie (a small poodle mix of about 10 years), I don’t know how I would have survived this COVID situation thus far! I will be 82 years old next month, and live alone in a small but lovely little bungalow in Berkeley, CA. My daughter and her family had originally adopted Sadie from a poodle rescue about 8 years ago. Unfortunately (for them), they discovered after a week or so that one of my granddaughters was allergic to Sadie–in spite of their hopes that, as a poodle, that would not be an issue. Sadie moved in with me–and I have been the beneficiary.

Sadie and I have always been good companions, but this pandemic has taken our relationship–and our interdependence–to a new level! We have become “co-dependent”! Though the outbreak has required that we “shelter-in-place”, the rules do permit “walking the dog”, and that we do on a twice daily basis (though it is more often that Sadie walks me than the reverse!). Having Sadie by my side (literally as well as figuratively) has been the main thing that has enabled me to remain healthy as well as SANE during this state of isolation. The slight “downside” of this co-dependence is that, on the rare occasion that I go somewhere and must leave Sadie behind, e.g., grocery shopping, Sadie becomes very stressed. She is not destructive, but she is clearly miserable.
– XXXXXXXX

 

 

 

calming pet music icalm affiliate logo

Through a Dog's Ear, Calm Your Canine, 3-hrs dog calming music dogs listening to calming music

We’re looking for people who love what our products do for their animals, and want to tell the whole world.

We work best with people who are in the pet industry or have pets! Ideal partners are trainers, veterinarians, doggie daycares, dog walkers, pet bloggers, and more.

Here’s how it works:

  • We teamed up with Refersion to manage this process in a way that is easy and free for you.
  • All you need to do is sign up as an affiliate below, apply to the iCalmPet Affiliate program, and add a special link to your website or newsletter.
  • We pay a 10% starting commission rate. Higher volume affiliates may be eligible for a higher commission.
  • An average order on our website is $100, which implies a $10 commission every sale.
  • We pay bi-weekly and have no minimum threshold payout (unlike most affiliate programs in the industry).

 

Once you’re in…

  • Once you fill out the form below, you’ll receive an introduction email through which you create an Affiliate account (through our software Refersion).
  • You’ll then gain access to a personal dashboard, which includes links and coupon codes from us (depending on the promotion), graphics or banners you might want to use, as well as reports of your sales and commissions.
  • Use the link and/or coupon code to promote our offer on any of your platforms. When one of your followers clicks the link or uses the code to our website, our software tracks that customer’s purchase to accredit that sale to you!
  • Depending on the order size and our commission reward, you’ll then see a chunk of change appear in your personal dashboard under “Commission in Approval”. Congrats! You just made your first sale and turned your friends onto an awesome product.

Still curious for more? Read our FAQ

How to become an iCalmPet affiliate:

Just click this button to apply 🙂

iCALMPET AFFILIATE PROGRAM FAQ


What is the iCalmPet Affiliate Program and how does it work?

Our program is a service that allows participating websites, bloggers, and influencers to earn commission on sales referred to icalmpet.com using specially tracked links. We provide you with custom links and/or coupon codes (depending on the promotion) that you can post on your website. Then, when a visitor you refer to us makes a purchase, we keep track and give you a commission on the sale.

When and how do I get paid?

Refersion will pay your bi-weekly commission by direct deposit through PayPal. The deposit date will be two weeks after your first sale (you must have a PayPal account for us to pay you).

 

How do I sign up?

You must first sign up through creating an account through our partner Refersion, which is our third party administrator. You can join the iCalmPet Affiliate team clicking here.

 

Is my website eligible to participate?

We accept applications from websites that are relevant to and best showcase our  products and do not contain objectionable or offensive materials. We welcome all applications but reserve the right to refuse membership or revoke a membership at any time at our sole discretion. Partners that make a good fit include bloggers, doggie daycares, dog walkers, trainers, veterinarians, retailers and more. We do not accept discounts, incentives or coupons websites.

 

Are there any fees?

There are no fees associated our program! It is completely free to participate.

 

Can I become an affiliate if I live outside the United States?

Yes. We accept affiliates from anywhere in the world, as long as our partner Refersion supports your country of residence. Please keep in mind that all commission payments are currently made in U.S. dollars.

 

If I have multiple websites, do I need to apply separately for each?

No. You should apply once, list all of your websites on your application and advertise iCalmPet on any of them once you are approved.

 

What is your commission rate?

We pay a 10% starting commission rate. Higher volume affiliates are eligible for higher commission levels at the sole discretion of iCalmPet.

 

What is the average order size?

The average order size at icalmpet.com is around $100, and is often higher during holiday season.

 

Is there a minimum annual threshold?

There is no minimum sales level required to remain in the program!

 

I don‘t have a website. Can I still be a iCalmPet Affiliate?

Absolutely! Influencers on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and other social media sites are very common in our program. We also happily work with many veterinarians, clinics, and trainers who are primarily in-person referrals (If this is you, read more here).

 

Do I receive any discounts on iCalmPet products since I’m an affiliate?

We do sometimes reward bonuses to our higher volume affiliates, however it’s not built into the program and entirely at our discretion. We recommend you purchase your orders through your own links so you can earn commission on the sales though! You are also free to utilize any of the coupon codes advertised on our website or in printed marketing collateral.

 

Can I use images from iCalmPet on my websites?

All of the content on the iCalmPet website is protected by copyright. You may use images and content from our website in the promotion of our products on your own website, however all images must be attributed and/or used in conjunction the sale of the product through the affiliate program. The images cannot be used in the general design of your website. If you have a special circumstance that requires the use of any photos, product images or content in a manner that is not consistent with the policy stated above, please contact us for written approval prior to the content’s use.

 

How do I know if my application has been received or if I have been accepted into the affiliate program?

If your application has been submitted correctly, you should receive a confirmation email from Refersion. If you do not receive this email, please check your spam folder. Otherwise, you might not have finished the process correctly and you should resubmit your application. Once approved, you will receive a welcome email from the affiliate manager.

 

How do I create links to icalmpet.com?

The easiest way to create links is to visit your personal iCalmPet Affiliate Page once you’ve been approved. There, you can browse through the different categories of links, or make a custom link or coupon code to the products we’re endorsing.

 

Am I obligated to place a certain number of links on my website?

There is no limit. We encourage you to use as many as necessary and appropriate to improve click-through and conversion rates. A creative image or testimonial along with a text link or iCalmPet logo will likely improve effectiveness.

 

How does the affiliate program know when I should receive credit for an order?

Our system tracks a cookie that is automatically applied to the computer of a person who clicks on a banner or text link that has your affiliate ID number embedded within it. Each banner or link that you create is specifically tagged with your Refersion ID number, letting us know that you deserve commission on the sales you send our way. You can access all of these coupon codes and links by logging in your Refersion/iCalmPet account and choosing from any of the codes or simple text links available. These links can be used from any website, put directly into a browser or emailed out in the case of text links. You can test a link by copying and pasting it into your browser. If you are directed to the iCalmPet homepage, the link is working. Do not copy and paste a landing page url from our website and confuse it for an affiliate link, since it will not track properly.

 

What sales and revenue reports does Refersion provide?

Each transaction is logged on Refersion servers and is available for review in detail. Refersion will provide real-time tracking of your clicks, sales and commission. Please do not contact us for this information, since we cannot access your account.

 

What is your return days or cookie policy?

If a visitor comes to our websites from your website but does not purchase on that visit, you can still earn commission on sales from that customer if they return and make a purchase within 30 days. This works even if they navigate directly to the website on a return visit as long as they haven’t deleted their cookies.

 

Do I earn commission credits if someone clicks on a product on my site and then buys a different product?

Yes. You will receive full credit for any product that is purchased by a customer who clicks on your affiliate link across iCalmPet.com

 

How do product returns affect my commission?

If a customer returns a product for a refund, or if credit card charges are reversed due to a dispute or credit card fraud, your account will be debited the commission. But don’t worry – we’ve built a great product and we have extremely low return rates.

iCalm Gift Downloads: Week 11

“The only time I get to cuddle her is when your music calms her down enough to sit still.”

-Email from Teresa M.

Dear iCalm Community,

This week’s selection comes to us from the Human-Animal Bond album, a choice inspired by all the love and relaxation our team is finding with our animals at home.

Hopefully this piece helps you create your own atmosphere in which you can all take a deep breath and sink into some much need tranquility in your home space.

And maybe get a few puppy love kisses too 😉

Originally, we said we’d continue our Free Downloads until May, but given how MUCH the world––and we figure our community too––needs a deep breath of calm, we’re continuing our Free Gift Downloads until the end of July.

From our producer, Joshua Leeds:

Dear friends,

In choosing the repertoire of the Through a Dog’s Ear recordings, I usually select simple and predictable melodies and harmonies. However, when I heard this fun and sprightly cello/piano composition, I just couldn’t resist. I figured a little classical fun mixed with slower pieces would add the right touch of variety, not too mention wake things up a bit! It was years later, that I learned that variety actually calms dogs longer (more on that to come).

Composed in 1842-1843, the full Sonata was first performed in Leipzig in November 1843 by cellist Franz Carl Wittmann and the well-loved composer, Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847).

Mendelssohn was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. His  symphonies, concertos, piano music and chamber music have stood the test of time and continue to be standards in symphony halls around the world. Won’t it be great to go to the symphony, again? I can hardly wait!

Enjoy,
– Joshua Leeds

 

Click to download Mendelssohn Cello Sonata in D (6:48)

 

(The album Human-Animal Bond is also available in Download, Micro SD, and CD format).

 

Helpful download instructions:

  • Chrome: Link will open a new tab. To download, click the three dots on the right side of the audio bar.
  • Safari: Hold the “option” keyboard key while you click the link, the file will automatically download.
  • Opera: Link will open a new tab. To download, click the three dots on the right side of the audio bar.
  • Internet Explorer: Right-click the hyperlinked song title above and select “Save File As”. Save to your computer.
  • These files won’t download to an iPhone (because iPhones won’t download internet files). To get them on your phone or device, connect it to your computer after you’ve downloaded the songs and then sync the files.
  • Please note: All devices are configured differently for download destinations. Our iCalm files may automatically go to your Download file, iTunes, Documents, etc. If you are not sure, ask a tech-friendly buddy to aid you. Because of reduced office hours on our end and endless compatibility factors on yours, we cannot advise on how to download. But this will not be difficult as computers are set up to download; it’s a common function.
        • Helpful tip: If you’re having trouble finding the song after downloading, try using the search function on your device to type in the title of the song. It should pop up right away!

• These links expire 7 days after you’ve received the email.
• Once you have downloaded the files, these musical jewels are yours to keep on your devices, they’re our gift to you ❤️

Cat Calming Downloadable Album (3-hrs)

Cat Calming Music pet therapy soothing specialized Through a Cat's Ear icalmpet

The tracks on this album are meant to be played in order, as there are short Sonic Anchor Interlude tracks dispersed throughout the album.

Helpful Download tips:

  1. Complete the Checkout process.
  2. You will receive an email with the links to download your album .mp3 files.
  3. For each track/link, the files will automatically download onto your computer. Please note: Our devices are configured differently for download destinations. Our iCalm files may automatically go to your Download file/folder, iTunes, Documents, etc. If you are not sure, ask a friendly physically distant friend to aid you. Because of reduced office hours, we cannot advise you on where to find or how to use these files. This will not be difficult as computers are set up to download; it’s a common function.

• The links are available for up to 2 downloads each (in case you become confused on the first download try).
• These links expire 7 days after you’ve received the email.
• Once you have downloaded the files, they are yours to keep on your devices. ENJOY!

Posted on

Keeping Your Dog Occupied at Home During Quarantine

(Guest post written by Mike Cahill, originally published at https://www.redfin.com/blog/keeping-your-dog-occupied-during-quarantine/)

At this point, the majority of us have begun to feel the side effects of being stuck inside our homes during the quarantine. Whether it be boredom, fatigue, or just an overall lack of energy, at least we can understand what’s going on around us. Our furry four-legged friends, on the other hand, do not. This is just one reason why we need to keep our dogs engaged both physically and mentally during this global downtime. To provide our readers with engaging and inventive ways to make sure our best friends get the brain and body exercise they need, we reached out to experts in dog training and behavior from Miami to Sacramento. Continue reading to discover new ways to keep your dog occupied while stuck at home during quarantine. Who knows, you just might be entertained yourself!

Try something new

Have fun and play puppy ping pong! Everyone in the household takes their turn calling Fido and giving them a treat when they come. It is a great way to exercise your pup while working on their recall. – Newman’s Dog Training

Play hide ‘n seek with your pup, it’s a great way to keep the kids occupied as well. The kids or even an adult first go down a hallway, ‘hiding in plain sight,’ but eventually, the game becomes more challenging, all while an adult enforces a sit/stay. Also, dump the food bowl, feed your dog from food dispensing toys and food puzzles – unless your dog is geriatric or has medical issues, we know dogs actually benefit feeding in this manner. You might even hide food dispensing toys and food puzzles randomly during the day for your dog to sniff out. – Steve Dale certified animal consultant

Teach your dog to play ‘Find It’ by tossing a treat 6-10 feet away from your dog then telling your dog to ‘Find it’. Let your dog sniff out the treat but be sure to give your dog a hint if they lose interest before they find the treat. Once your dog catches on, you can hide treats in a room, tell your dog to ‘Find it!’, and let your pup get their energy out trying to sniff out some tasty treats. – Paws at Home

Ok, we’re obviously biased, but have a dance party! Movement releases stress for both you and your pup, bringing you closer together as you wiggle around. We’d shamelessly recommend iCalmDog Reggae, we produced it just for this. – iCalmPet

Now that many of us (and our pets) are more homebound than we would probably like, I can tell you that we typically do better with this than our dogs do. We understand what’s going on—they don’t, so we need to think about how we can make sure they’re getting enough exercise. The backyard, a long hallway, or even a large family room can become a makeshift dog park. Remember, they need their activity, and will go “stir-crazy,” and possibly develop some bad habits if they don’t get it! – Fi 

The Pet Divas is trying to find the best ways to keep our current client pups happy while also keeping our owners happy! With no way to socialize with other dogs and play fetch in community parks, we have set up 6 feet jogging trail dates. We meet. Stand 6 feet apart, make the dogs sit at each intersection, jog, and walk on our area trails. We add new dogs to the mix each day so that they not only have a new friend to meet, it gives them some more to focus on during walks/runs. We reward them with frozen Kongs and peanut butter. We are also passing out painted rocks with paws on them (if we walk 10 dogs that day, we bring 10 rocks) along the trail for anyone to pick and keep. – The Pet Divas

Keep your dog entertained during quarantine by setting up a treat hunt and/or playing hide and seek! Simply place treats in easy to sniff out places around your house and cheer them on throughout your home! Or, get your kids involved and play a good old fashioned game of hide and seek! Have your dog sit and stay, then walk to a different area in the house and use your “come” command! Reward with a yummy prize for a job well done! – Prized Pet

Turn up the music and pull out a pair of old long socks. You’re probably antsy from being stuck inside and so is your pup. I never met a dog that doesn’t love socks, so make a rope out of a pair and turn the music on. Your favorite dance music. Play tug of war while you dance around your entire home. Make sure you have the windows open, that fresh air coming in can help both of you feel less isolated and your neighbors can enjoy that music too. Of course, it helps if you sing along, I’m sure your dog would join in as well…I know mine do! Twice a day is ideal to keep both of your spirits up. – Jen Loves Pets

These are unprecedented times during which we are spending an unprecedented amount of time with our pets, and they love it! It’s important to remember that just as this time is a transition for you, it is also a transition for your pets, and any new situation can be stressful, which is why we recommend introducing new enrichment activities into your pet’s daily routine that can help build resilience and strengthen their ability to cope during stressful situations. These activities can include turning mealtime into a game; allowing them to express natural behaviors like chewing, pouncing, scratching, and sniffing in an appropriate way; and ensuring that our pets get enough rest now that we are spending the majority of our time at home with them. – Atlanta Humane Society

Take this time to train

With everyone social distancing and staying home, it’s a perfect time for the whole family to take part in reward-based dog training exercises and teach that old or new dog a few more tricks (or basic obedience). With adult supervision, kids can learn responsible pet ownership, animal advocacy, and empathy while entertaining the family dog with a lot of positive attention and training exercises. Dog training can become part of your daily homeschooling. For ideas, exercises, and homeschool curriculums, check out GoodDoginaBox.com. – Good Dog in a box

Take this time to practice the heel command during walks with your dog. Most dogs like to pull ahead on the leash like a Sled Dog. In order to get a dog that walks at your side under control, try this tip: as the dog nears the end of the 6 ft. leash you change direction 180° and tug firmly and command heel while proceeding the opposite direction. This will teach your dog to walk at your side rather than pull ahead – Pete Fischer, Senior Dogtra Consultant

Waggit pet parents are doing an awesome job keeping their pups entertained in these shelter-in-place times as total miles walked is up 108% and total time active is up 187%. Top ideas that were shared at one of our recent Virtual Happy Hours included 1) Practice training on walks to ensure social distancing- when someone else is coming down the trail, stop and practice look at me and sit/stays or even pup pushups. 2) Treat toys, treat toys, treat toys- use them to feed entire meals! 3)Kids practice reading as pups make the best audience. 4)Enjoy the extra snuggle time! – Waggit

Encourage Mental Stimulation

The best way to tire a dog out is to engage their mind. Virtually all dog trainers recommend puzzle toys and with PupPod, the game gets harder as your dog gets smarter. As your dog learns the game, you can add distance between the smart toy and rewards to provide physical exercise too — like creating a doggie Stairmaster. – PupPod

Mental enrichment is essential for keeping dogs occupied during quarantine. When your dog is kept busy, there is less of a chance they will get bored and act out. Things, like playing games, using puzzle toys, and teaching your dog a new trick, will aid in keeping their mind active! You click here to purchase a Canine Coworker Kit designed to keep your dog busy while you’re working from home! – Presidential Pet Care

An often overlooked aspect of keeping your dog healthy is mental stimulation. A smart toy like PlayDate that moves around simulates play with a live animal. This keeps your furry friend mentally stimulated while getting a great workout, all without having to leave the house! – PlayDate

Make mealtime more interactive

The best advice we can give is to keep your pet healthy and engaged. Add mental stimulation and exercise to your dog’s day by making mealtime a challenge with an obstacle course set up leading to their food. Teach your dog a new trick- or better yet- involve your kids to keep both of them occupied at once. Pick up a healthy habit like daily grooming or teeth brushing routines. Start small by getting your pet used to the motions and work up to everyday routines for a healthier pet! – PetValu

One of the best ways to entertain both you and your pup is through snuffle mats! These mats of mayhem are fun for humans to make (you can learn how to do that here), and they tap into your dog’s instinctive need to sniff and forage for food. They’re a great way to keep both you and your dog busy, so snuffle on! – Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region

With all of these great tips for keeping your pet occupied while you WFH (work-from-home), don’t forget to keep them adequately hydrated! Kleanbowl is free of bacteria, viruses, and plaque germs –including those dishwashers do not get hot enough to kill — so they drink more water because their bowls look and smell clean, resulting in healthier hydration and enhanced energy and mood! – Kinn Inc.

Sometimes all you need is a good toy

If you’ve exhausted your usual dog walking routes during quarantine, try some creative exercise activities at home! Get a bubble machine and blow bubbles for your pup to chase + “bite”, fill some Kongs with treats + seal with peanut butter to keep them occupied during your Zoom meeting, or provide some mental exercise with toddler toys you may have laying around like a beads wire maze for them to paw or nose around with! – Purrs and Grrrs

If you’re stuck inside, Kong’s with fillers are always a great go-to, and freezing the peanut butter inside helps it last longer. Frozen raw beef marrow bones are another great way for your dog to occupy time, our top seller is No Hide by earth animal. If you’re able to go outside a few of our favorite toys are Chuck-It and Fly & Fetch by spunky pup. If nothing else, a nice long walk should always do the trick. – Canine Carousel

Just Relax

This may sound woo-woo, but it works! Try calming canine sessions or joint meditations to not only bond with your dog but also reduce anxiety and stress. Start by hitting play on a chill tune from the Relax My Dog YouTube channel. Next, sit on the floor with your pup and place your hand on their belly. For every few breaths they take, you’ll take one deep breath. Before you know it, your best friend will feel super loved (and relaxed), and you’ll feel energized to rock that next Zoom work call! – Hoby Dogy

Looking for activities to do with your dog in quarantine? Try doga (dog yoga)! Doing yoga with your dog can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve circulation, and mellow out a hyperactive dog. – Right Fluff

Dogs need both physical and mental stimulation to keep them occupied so games that involve a bit of a challenge, basic commands and get excess energy out are an excellent solution. High-energy activities are perfect for your hyper breeds, such as creating household hurdles and tunnels in the hallway, fetch in the backyard, or a game of hide and seek with the kids. Calmer dogs might enjoy lowkey, mentally-stimulating games, such as creating interactive puzzles (think pieces of food in a muffin tin covered by tennis balls) or a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter and kibble. – RCO Petcare

The highlight of your pet’s day is when you spend time with them. They do not have friends to call or face time with. They do not have favorite television shows to watch. They have only you! Take the time while you are quarantined to spend time with you and your pet….quality time just sitting and talking to them. Trust me, they will appreciate it and it will be the highlight of their day, week, and month! – Pet Wellness Clinics

When all of this is over

We know what happens when we assume, but we’re willing to go out on a limb for this assumption: We will return back to work at some point. This will come with a variety of its own challenges, including a sad doggo.

Having you home has made them expect constant companionship. Even if you’re not always playing with them, it’s likely been such a delight that you’ve been in the same vicinity as them all day, every day. But there are some things you can do to make the transition easier.

Start gradually making sure they have independent time while you’re still home. You can start small, maybe in 15-minute increments. You could do this by keeping them in a separate room (with a delicious treat, of course) or, if it’s safe for you to do so, actually leave the apartment/house and just walk to the corner and back.

Make sure they do not only depend on you for entertainment. You’re obviously the greatest thing since sliced bread, and nothing is as fun or cool as you in the eyes of your dog. But interactive toys (see above for ideas) are a great way for them to get stimulation on their own. You could start incorporating them now so that they’re already used to self-entertaining, and it’ll seem more normal to them when you’re off to work.

Take them for a day of play with their fellow furry friends at Skiptown! Doggy daycare is a great way to keep them active and entertained all day without you having to worry. Skiptown CLT is set to open this summer, and we’re so pumped to give your dog the BEST DAY EVER every day. – Skiptown CLT

 

 

 

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Hearing Loss in Dogs 2020 [Causes + Solutions]

Your Complete Guide to Managing Their Hearing Loss:byron-edited

In this article, we’ll explore all the causes of hearing loss in dogs, from most common to least, ending with solutions for the best care.

Navigation:

Solutions to Restoration

 

What Dog Breeds are Most Prone to Deafness?

Both scientific studies and anecdotal evidence point to breeds with white pigmentation being the most likely to succumb to hearing loss. Here’s a chart from a study that the University of Louisiana did in 2018 to identify the dog breeds most prone to deafness:

Dog Breeds With Reported Congenital Deafness*
Akita Dalmatian Norwegian Dunkerhound
Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog/Otto Bulldog Dappled Dachshund Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
American Bulldog Doberman Pinscher Old English Sheepdog
American-Canadian Shepherd Dogo Argentino Papillon
American Eskimo English Bulldog Pekingese
American Hairless Terrier English Cocker Spaniel Perro de Carea Leones
American Staffordshire Terrier English Setter Pit Bull Terrier
Anatolian Shepherd Foxhound Pointer/English Pointer
Australian Cattle Dog Fox Terrier Presa Canario
Australian Kelpie French Bulldog Puli
Australian Shepherd German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback
Australian Stumpy-tail Cattle Dog German Shorthaired Pointer Rat Terrier
Beagle Goldendoodle Rottweiler
Belgian Sheepdog/Groenendael Great Dane Saint Bernard
Belgian Tervuren Great Pyrenees Saluki
Bichon Frise Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Samoyed
Border Collie Greyhound Schnauzer
Borzoi Havanese Scottish Terrier
Boston Terrier Ibizan Hound Sealyham Terrier
Boxer Icelandic Sheepdog Shetland Sheepdog
Brittney Spaniel Italian Greyhound Shih Tzu
Bulldog Jack/Parson Russell Terrier Shropshire Terrier
Bullmastiff Japanese Chin Siberian Husky
Bull Terrier Kangal Shepherd Dog Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Canaan Dog Keeshond Springer Spaniel
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Kuvasz Sussex Spaniel
Catahoula Leopard Dog Labrador Retriever Tibetan Spaniel
Catalan Shepherd Lhasa Apso Tibetan Terrier
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lowchen Toy Fox Terrier
Chihuahua Maltese Toy Poodle
Chinese Crested Manchester Terrier Walker American Foxhound
Chow Chow Miniature Pinscher West Highland White Terrier
Cocker Spaniel Miniature Poodle Whippet
Collie mongrel Yorkshire Terrier
Coton de Tulear Newfoundland Landseer

Congenital deafness means they are born with the defect, while acquired means it develops as they age, for whatever reason. In this article, we will focus on the causes and solutions for acquired deafness, since it is conditional and can often be treated/cured.

Why is My Dog Not Responding?

If you’ve noticed a change in their normal behavior––such as a lack of responsiveness to your calls or other household sounds––it could be hearing loss. Signs of hearing loss in dogs include:

  • Lack of response when calleddog music
      • (Dogs with hearing loss in only one ear might have trouble locating sound sources but will still respond).
  • Sleeping through noises that normally would wake them
  • Jumping at loud sounds (that were previously fine)
  • Excessive barking or unusual whining sounds

To test, try making a range of different sounds from different proximities. Call your dog from far away and note the response, try from the same room and see if they notice. Try high pitched sounds like clinking coins, and then lower sounds like deep bass vibrations. Snapping on either side of their ears can potentially pinpoint if it’s just one ear or both. If it’s just one ear, there’s a higher chance of acutely acquired hearing loss. This will all be really useful information for both you and your vet in identifying the problem.

However, there are a number of factors that can trigger hearing loss, so it’s important to pinpoint the right cause.  Here are all the possible causes of hearing loss in dogs:

 

Aging:

It’s extremely common for senior dogs to gradually lose their hearing, often until it’s completely diminished. Geriatric nerve degeneration in the cochlea is a natural process for dogs as young as 7-8 years of age. They often first begin to lose the middle to high pitch frequencies––think a whistle or a child’s squeal––with the rest of the frequencies following suit. Hearing loss in dogs can be accelerated if they live in louder environments. But don’t worry, some hearing loss is natural, it inevitably happens to all mammals (Read more on how to comfort your dog into old age). Unsurprisingly then, aging is the number one most common cause of acquired hearing loss in dogs.

Jump to: Solutions For Restoration

Jump to: Training Deaf Dogs

Exposure to a source of loud noise:

Sounds are measured in decibels (dB), and each 10 dB increase represents a tenfold increase in sound energy. 90 dB is ten times noisier than 80 dB, 100 dB is ten times noisier than 90, and so on. Sound researcher Joshua Leeds, co-author of Through a Dog’s Ear, the first book to examine the powerful effect of the human soundscape on dogs, states, “Above 85 dB, you start playing with auditory fire. Inside the inner ear, irreparable cilia cell damage worsens with length of exposure and higher decibel levels. Your dog’s inner ear works in exactly the same way yours does and has an even wider range of frequency.” If your dog’s inner ears have been exposed to sounds above 85 dB, there’s a chance those noises might have caused this lack of responsiveness and perhaps even ruptured the eardrum.

Decibels of Common Household and Street Sounds:

  1. Whisper: 30158844555
  2. Normal conversation: 40
  3. Dishwasher, microwave, furnace: 60
  4. Blow dryer: 70
  5. City traffic: 70
  6. Garbage disposal, vacuum cleaner: 80

 

Danger Zone Decibels:

  1. Lawn mower: 90
  2. Screaming child: 90
  3. Power drill: 110
  4. Ambulance: 130
  5. Gunshot: 130
  6. Fire engine siren: 140
  7. Boom cars: 145

Exposure to your rumbling garbage disposal is probably not responsible for their abrupt hearing loss, so vets often look to changes like recent home construction, a new baby, or perhaps just close living in a really busy neighborhood.

Jump to: Solutions for Restoration

Jump to: Training Deaf Dogs

Stuck Foreign Object:

This can be a problem for dogs of all shapes and ear sizes. Do what you can at home by gently lifting the ear and examining for anything suspicious in the inner canal. A flashlight and another set of hands for gentling the pup are definitely your friends.

    • Signs of a foreign body: redness or swelling in the canal, whining or pawing at the ear, visibly lodged item.

If your pup is calm and you can see something obviously stuck, attempt to carefully remove it with small tweezers. If you’re at all dubious about your ability, or the item is deep in the canal, best to bring them to the vet.

PRO TIP: If you live on the West Coast, foxtails are extremely common at the end of summer, and areas with this plant should be avoided at all costs. Once picked up by a dog’s fur, these evil burrs tunnel into the body through jostles in your pet’s movement. They can even enter through a paw! Watch out for this plant once dry and yellowed:

a field of foxtails: can cause hearing loss in dogs

Injury:

When doing research for this guide, I read many owner-submitted stories about their dog falling down the stairs and seeming fine, except for a sudden loss of hearing! Vets confirm it: head trauma of any kind can damage the temporal bone surrounding the ear canal, leading to loss of acute hearing in the ear drum. Have you seen anything like this happen to your pup? This one can be tough to pinpoint because it can happen while we’re gone, and there will be no signs it ever transpired.

 

Inflammation/Blockage:

Acquired deafness may be a temporary result of inflammation swelling the ear canal closed, or excessive ear wax filling up the channel. If you can see a lot of yellowy-gray wax, gently swab away with a Q-tip and solution. Don’t venture in too deep to the canal though; if it seems deep/systemic, bring your pup in for a vet visit. This problem will resolve quickly with careful attention.

The middle or inner canal can become inflamed for various reasons as well, and since its more difficult to see, the cause is challenging to identify. If you see signs of redness or inflammation deep in the ear, monitor and share with your vet.  

 

Harmful Drugs:

Has your dog had medications recently? Internally digested, or externally applied to the canal?

aminoglycoside antibiotics chart: cause of hearing loss in dogs

Some medication can destroy or damage the myelin sheath of the nerve cells, resulting in hearing loss.

Have they taken aminoglycoside antibiotics? (Scan this image for any of the TANGS and then check your prescription bottles). And make sure to ALWAYS check with your vet before doing any of your own medicating.

 

Tumors:

If your dog is not displaying any symptoms, had no falls, and is still quite young, there’s a slight chance their hearing loss could be related to tumorous polyp activity on the brainstem or surrounding the ear system. Tell your vet everything that’s going on so they can thoroughly diagnose the problem (To all you worry-warts: This is really unlikely, don’t worry. Thoroughly check for all the above common reasons before jumping to scarier conclusions 🙂

  • PRO TIP: Ask your vet to perform a BAER test (brainstem auditory evoked response) if you haven’t found the solution. This neurological test is very accurate in pinpointing location/cause.

 

Solutions:

Sanchez Smiling at Blufftops 

How Can I Protect My Dog’s Hearing?

It’s never too late to start protecting your dog’s hearing! For any age of dog, you can slow down the degenerative process of hearing loss by carefully tending to their sonic environment.

Take a sonic inventory:

Sound is like air. We rarely notice these two common elements unless the air suddenly becomes polluted or the sound becomes chaotic. The sonic inventory is one way of becoming aware of the noise in your pet’s environment and take measures to improve it. Spend a day in the shoes of a creature who can hear twice as well as you. While that may sound difficult, just remember that your average garbage disposal is about their max before the cochlea starts to get damaged. Are there factors you can limit their exposure to, like vacuuming or nearby construction?

SHAMELESS PLUG/PRO TIP: Sound masking may be a really effective strategy here. Create an isolated space away from the harmful, stressful sounds and play iCalmDog Reggae. We discovered the vibrations of the bass are really effective for masking damaging decibels from other sources.

dog with ear protection listening to iCalmDog Reggae

Don’t expose them to loud bands or loud street fairs.

Humans hear sounds between 20-20,000 Hz. Dogs hear at least twice as high, sometimes all the way up to 55,000 Hz. While it’s great that more events and public places are dog-friendly, so often those environments are created for humans. A fundraising party for dogs and their people that benefits your local shelter doesn’t benefit your dog when a loud band is playing.

Don’t play two sound sources simultaneously.

Remember that your dog’s hearing is much finer than yours. One family member may be in the living room blasting the TV, while another is in the kitchen listening to the radio. Your dog is caught in the middle, absorbing both sounds and getting stressed. Try and only have one sound source at a time, playing at a gentle volume.dog hearing range

Be aware of your dog’s unresolved sensory input.

When it comes to sound, dogs don’t always understand cause and effect. You know when people are in your home yelling at the TV during a sports game that it’s all in good fun. But, it may not be much fun for your dog, who is still trying to orient whether all of those crazy sounds are safe. Put your pup in a back quiet room, perhaps listening to music specially designed for dogs. This can not only safeguard his hearing, but also his behavior.

How to Train Deaf Dogs: 

  • Prepare Yourself: Aging is rarely graceful, and providing an upgraded level of care for your older dog can be both a frustrating and emotional process. Just be aware of this commitment going in (and remember the whole life of love and happiness that you’ve shared!!!).
      • Easy first step: An “I am deaf” tag attached to your dog’s collar helps remind others (and yourself!) that extra care and caution is necessary. Share the news with all your dog’s “contacts”, like vet, boarder, groomer, etc.

 

  • You Can Teach an Old Dog New Hand Signals: Most dogs already know a few hand signals from their trained life of being a pet. Consider what you’ll need your elderly dog to perform and create some signals together that correspond (Check out Lisa’s 10 tips). Fortunately, dogs are really good at understanding body language and most will take to this new language quite well.
      • Depending on your dog’s level of hearing loss, they might still be able to hear low-frequency vibrations like stomping on the floor. Try getting their attention with lights too, either a flashlight or turning on the room lights. You can train these methods to get their attention too. Work with whatever level your dog is at and your own preferences to develop communication.
        • Many owners recommend the use of a vibrating collar (NOT shock) to get the attention of a deaf dog. We like this one.

 

  • Avoid Surprises: Your old friend is losing much of the way he registers the world. Avoid surprises––that used to not be surprises––like petting from behind or waking from sleep. Always approach in his field of vision and make sure he sees you first. Others in your household or visiting family should know about this protocol too: the less shocks the better!
  • Deaf-Proof Your House: This isn’t as intensive as it sounds, but older dogs are often prone to the same dementia humans are, and can wander off without hearing your calls. If you haven’t already, you should definitely fence in your yard. And make sure your pup is on a leash when you leave the house, dogs that can’t hear often fail to respond to sounds in the environment that signal a collision or other hazards. Pay special attention when out in the world together.

 

  • Enrich Other Senses: Even as they lose one avenue of perception, you can strengthen another! The National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW™) is the official sanctioning and organizing body for the sport of K9 Nose Work. It is a growing popular sport, and it’s great for dogs of all ages. Dogs use their nose to search for their prize, engaging both the mind and olfactory senses. At home, you can make a game of hiding smell-rich treats (here’s a homemade recipe) in cardboard boxes throughout the house and let your dog search for them.
  • Hearing Aids for Dogs? After a lot of research, I found that only one laboratory was really making hearing aids fitted for dogs. The aids do not restore full hearing, cost $3-5k, involve an intensive re-training process, and have no guarantee. From my vantage point, they don’t seem worth it, but if you’re interested in more information, here is FETCHLAB.

And, finally, just be aware:

These suggestions are all to get you thinking about how your dog perceives the world and adjusting to their new level. Put yourself in their ears for a week and just notice. Follow your own intuition in developing your style of communication. And remember: give ’em lots and lots of lovins. Aging is never easy but dogs handle it all in stride.

Cheers to improving the lives of all!

 

Thanks for sharing any comments, stories, or feedback on this article below! We always love to hear from you 😉

 

 

 

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Separation Anxiety And Your Dog: The Complete Guide

Navigation:

Identify:

Solutions:

Dog with separation anxiety reading a book on training methods

What is Separation Anxiety?

In Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, Dr. Karen Overall defines dog separation anxiety as, “A condition in which animals exhibit symptoms of anxiety or excessive distress when they are left alone.” You might recognize the symptoms as any of these:

  • Drooling, panting, or salivating way more than usualdog with separation anxiety cowers in crate
  • Barking, whining, or howling
  • Pacing, often in an obsessive pattern
  • Attempting to escape from the crate or room
  • Destroying items in the home
  • Scratching at walls, doors, windows or floors
  • Chewing up household items
  • Urinating and Defecating
  • Coprophagia

Sounds like your pup huh? Don’t worry, we’ve got you, keep reading 🙂

20 years ago, no one had ever heard of separation anxiety in dogs. Today, it is widely known as one of the most common problems we experience with our beloved canines. And sadly, one of the main reasons that end-of-the-rope owners feel forced to give a dog up for adoption. But as the intelligent beings who’ve brought dogs in our homes, it is our responsibility to fix it (and we can!).

Our mission? Put you in touch with the solution: understand how your dog is trying to communicate with you and how to permanently rewire unwanted behavior patterns.

dog with separation anxiety gets cuddled dog in crate with separation anxiety gets soothed dog cured of anxiety cuddles with owner

What’s the Difference Between Separation Anxiety and Bad Behavior?

Bad behavior is your dog acting out before you leave, just so he can have your attention. Separation anxiety is a phobia: there’s actual fear behind the behavior.

How to know what’s what:

dog outside with no separation anxietyDogs are really smart. They live in our entirely human worlds, and by necessity have become so finely attuned to our schedules and patterns. So it’s really easy for our dogs to tell when we’re about to shut their world down, separate them from their pack, remove all sources of love. Humans call this leaving for work.

Knowing they’re about to be alone and dreading it, many dogs will do ANYTHING to get your attention. And that includes bad behavior. Even being reprimanded becomes a reward because they’ve got your attention.

In these cases, the canine behavior has a quality that we in the professional world call “naughtiness”. Just kidding. But you do know it when you see it; they won’t come when you call, they grab your shoe and run into the kitchen, maybe start digging in the yard.

There is not fear behind this behavior, that is the distinction. The remedy here is more training and careful discipline, and it is fairly easy to overcome.

But what if there is fear behind the misbehavior? Your dog might just have a full-blown case of separation anxiety. But that’s ok too, because we’re about to pinpoint the problem.

Other Potential Problems to Rule Out:

Puppy Destruction
Puppies chew things up. Their teeth are coming in and it’s so exciting and delicious to test them on your shoes! This behavior is almost always just age-related and not separation anxiety. Nothing to worry about.

Bored?
Canines need stimulations like all mammals. If you’ve left them with nothing to do, they’ll find something to do and you probably won’t like their choice nearly as much. If

dog with high anxiety in a yard

your dog doesn’t seem anxious, it’s probably just boredom/lack of exercise.

Excitement/Submission Urination
Dogs get really excited to greet us, some get too excited and lose control of their bladders. Or maybe pee when you discipline them. To identify if this just excitement/submissive urination, watch for submissive behavior: tucked tail between the legs, flattened ears and lowered head, hunching down low or displaying the belly. In all cases, this behavior is NOT anxiety-related.

Poor House Training
If your dog repeated urinates or defecates in the house, but shows no other signs of anxiety, his symptoms probably indicate an unfinished house training education.

Scent Marking
This almost falls under the category of unfinished house training, but I thought I’d give its own to distinguish a dog that’s deliberately urinating because of the need to mark its territory. It’s a slightly different behavior problem, but once again, unlikely related to a fear of being left alone.

Why Do Dogs Develop Separation Anxiety?

Dogs are pack animals. In their wild settings––evolutionarily where they’ve spent most of their lives––they are never alone and always stimulated and engaged.

meme about domesticated dogs anxious

Now imagine that creature, living your high-rise apartment and surrounded by none of those natural stimuli. (And in fact, immersed in only the confusing ones of honks and beeps and rings they can’t understand). Their perfect, immediately-adapted behavior to this strange world is a lot for us to ask of them. So it’s up to us, their intelligent, loving guardians, to make that situation as calm and happy as possible.

  • Notice: there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that dogs adopted from a shelter are far more prone to separation anxiety than a puppy reared with the same family. It’s believed instability and/or the loss of a significant family member can cause this fear.
  • Aging dogs can also develop separation anxiety as their senses weaken and perceived stimuli decrease.

So how can we remedy this? Pay a ton of attention to any changes you make in your life––because your dog certainly is. Transitions, schedule changes, any shifts in your normal routine are some of the most common triggers for separation anxiety.

Common Triggers of Separation Anxiety:

  1. Change of Owner: Have you just brought a new pup home? From the shelter or breeder? A change in environment or family is a HUGE shift for a dog. Leaving everything they’ve known? It’s no wonder such a radical change can trigger separation anxiety.
  2. Change of Household: Moving houses is another common reason. Or perhaps they’ve started going to a boarding facility? Pay attention to any potential change in environment.
  3. Change in Family Membership: Did someone new just join the family? A baby or perhaps an elderly relative? Suddenly there’s someone new and they’re taking all the attention away from your dog!
  4. Change in Routine: The above are some common examples, but you know your household best. Has there been another change in schedule or structure, such as the loss of a family member or other pet that might cause this new anxiety?
  5. Boredom and a lack of exercise: Sometimes it can simply be boredom. Dogs need stimulation and excitement just like we do. Imagine how you’d feel left in a house with nothing to do for 8 hours. You might be tempted to start some trouble too!
  6. Being left alone for the first time: If you’ve got a new dog and leave for the first time, they’re probably going to be confused and unhappy, display all the symptoms we’ve talked about. In this case, it’s important to nip this behavior in the bud before it develops into full-blown paranoia.
  7. Suffering a Traumatic Event: A singular traumatic event where your dog is shocked or really afraid can also be a cause. Can you think of anything? Perhaps an unmonitored new time at a shelter or boarding kennel? This can be the trigger if you notice a radical change in behavior.

dog behavior and training through music

An important note: Dog separation anxiety is often unknowingly supported by owners. When we make a big show of leaving or arriving, we surround the event with a ton of charged emotion. This encourages our dog to be concerned too (since we’re clearly so excited for some reason!!!!) and thus creates stress around the whole structure of departure/arrival.

Solutions: How Can I Treat Separation Anxiety in My Dog?

dog yawning no separation anxiety

There are a lot of ways to begin working with your dog’s anxiety, ranging from easy solutions to more difficult work.

We’ll begin with the easy solutions––because who doesn’t love an easy solution––before moving into the more intensive ones.

5 Immediate Solutions:

Here’s an easy tip straight from our friend Cesar Milan: Stay Calm and Assertive

When it’s time to leave the house, don’t surround the event with a ton of emotion. Weeping, kissing, saying goodbye, excessive cuddles are all great things in their time and place, but not when you depart. Don’t exude guilt or sadness, instead, project the calm-assertive energy of an owner who is completely in control of the situation and has a plan of action. This reassures your dog that everything is happening as it should be and there is no reason to fear. You set the vibe, they listen.

Get ’em some exercise before work!

dog on beach with no separation anxietyThis is a great one for all parties actually. I won’t cite any studies for the importance of exercise (because at this point we don’t need science to confirm such an integral part of mammalian happiness), but a tired dog is much likelier to avoid trouble than an energetic one. End sessions 15-20 minutes before you leave so they have time to wind down. This training creates a pattern of reward/happiness around your departure because they can recognize they get to go play before! And perhaps even, that we are paying enough attention to consider them as part of our day.

Create a space of fun and safety:

  1. Dedicate a room, enclosed yard spot, or perhaps a crate, to be HIS space when you’re gone. There is safety in rituals and routines for dogs; they LOVE consistency.
      • Pro Tip: A laundry room is usually almost already dog-proofed and easy to convert.
  2. Make sure they have ample access to food and water (and ideally, a place to relieve themselves).
  3. Leave some of your clothing in the space to remind him of your presence. Our friends at Adaptil also make great calming pheromones for dogs left alone.
  4. Stimulate his mind! There are tons of great puzzling toys out there intended for dogs at home. We love a well-stuffed Kong.
  5. Shameless plug because how could I not: leave Through a Dog’s Ear music playing. It’s clinically demonstrated to relieve separation anxiety and is a beautifully calming part of your exit routine. I suggest starting the music when you’re home together––it works on humans too––then peacefully make your departure after your dog has laid down for a snooze.

Want more on crate training? Here’s our favorite YouTube on it:

Explore Creative Solutions:

dog together with no separation anxiety

Do you have a friendly elderly neighbor who’s home all day and could come let your pup out for a pee break? Perhaps a neighbor dog that gets along with yours could be kept in the same space. A friend who’s having the same problem could perhaps fix yours! Two dogs, one stone 😉 You’ll have to get creative here because it’s so situationally dependent, but your pup will thank you. They’re pack creatures and always have more fun with another packmate around. And of course, you can always pay to board them/find a doggie daycare.

Herbal and Homeopathic Medicine:

Drugs only ever mask the problem and not treat the solution. Plus who wants to be paying for gallons of CBD dog treats the rest of their life? Not me. That being said, many do find temporary relief with a lot of these options, and in combination with a calm training protocol, they can have a positive effect in temporarily assisting tranquility. If you think this would be a helpful part of your regimen, we recommend our friends over at Honest Paws.

Conditioning: How to Re-Wire Old Patterns

dog training separation anxiety

I’m sure you’ve noticed already, but all of these options are about creating new patterns. Conditioning is the technical term for this work, and there are varying degrees of difficulty and strategy that may be needed, depending on the degree of canine separation anxiety. For your ease, I’ll start with the simplest before moving into our two-day intensive program.

Establish a word or action

Create a pattern that becomes their new routine and tells your dog you’ll be back. When you authoritatively create routines, your pup takes on the same confidence. He’s ok being left alone, because he knows you’ll come back and trusts your leadership.

      • Choosing a word: Create a keyword or phrase that your pup associates with your calm, unemotional departure. Remember: dogs don’t understand language, but they do understand your energy communicated through words. Make sure your phrase conveys the tone you want. I would probably say “Goodbye Yara. I’ll be home after work.”

Mix Up Your Patterns

dog with separation anxiety holding a clock

Dogs are smart. They are constantly studying all of our behaviors, actions, and routines. If you always put on your shoes right before you leave the house for the day, the shoes tell your pup that you are leaving. If picking up your car keys is always a precursor to leaving, your dog may start to panic just at the sight of your keys.

Start mixing up your routine. Pick up your keys and start cooking dinner. Put on your shoes and walk to your computer. Do the opposite and put on your shoes, open the door, but don’t leave. The idea is to keep your pup guessing so that he starts to unscramble the patterns you’ve already set in place. This stops his anxiety from building to a fever pitch when he sees the first cue in the departure sequence. Humans are creatures of habit too, so it can be difficult, but think of it as a fun chance to try some variance in your life. Certified Professional Dog Trainer and behavior specialist Nicole Wilde calls it “The Faux Go”. In her book, Don’t Leave Me! she says, “You’ll be teaching your dog that the door opening and you walking out is nothing to worry about.”

If you are training a new puppy or dog that hasn’t been left before, start practicing this method with very short departures initially. Think stepping out to get groceries. If all goes well, start increasing your time, little by little. A human minute may equal a dog hour, so take puppy steps when increasing your time away incrementally.

  • Training Tip: Want a protocol that walks you through it? Separation Anxiety training protocol by famed dog trainer Victoria Stilwell can be found here.

Try House Training Your Dog

Spend time training around the house. Show your dog how to behave in simple daily routines. Little increments and minutes, anything can be an opportunity for training. Instead of just going for a walk, ask him to sit at stop-walks, lay down when you’re having a coffee outside at Starbucks, wait for your OK to greet new people and dogs. Train your dog to sit and wait to be greeted by guests, move aside when you go to the refrigerator, and go to the bathroom on cue. Establishing these routines––and of course rewarding good behavior––helps create new patterns for house behavior that gives them strong guidelines, discipline, and confidence. Dogs want to be good and please us, we just have to show them how.

 

Ok, have you tried it all?? Then it’s time to dive into our reconditioning program:

9 Steps, 1 weekend: Reconditioning Protocol

1. Dedicate two, or even three days in severe cases, to having some time you can spend uninterrupted with your dog. (I know, I know, you’re busy and who has two days for a dog?? You do. Because the reward is a lovely balanced dog that fills your house with so much love. Best investment ever).

2. Prepare their den: this looks like a crate, or outdoor pen, or a dog-proofed room like the laundry room example.  dog cured of separation anxiety with music

3. Give your pup a chance to take care of any bodily functions outside, and then reenter the house together for 30 minutes of calm and close supervision. Introduce him to his beautiful new den with a happy vocal tone, treats, soft Through a Dog’s Ear playing, a stuffed KONG toy, good scents, and your clothing in it. Guide him inside and stay in the room together.

4. Initially, stay close and attentive, but not lasered on all his moves. Read a book, check email. Ignore any whining or fussiness. When he finally falls quiet, go over and calmly say hello, give affection. Then go back to your activity. Repeat many times: reward his behavior when he’s silent and not begging for attention. You’re teaching him that whining is not a rewarded behavior, and that you leave and return according to your own timeframe. He begins to understand: if you leave, you will return. During this time, it should only be you two in the house. He needs to learn that it’s ok to be alone.

5. Now, begin to step away, gradually increasing the distance between you. Leave the room and come back when he’s quiet. Go outside and return again under the same conditions (if you can fit this around your actual lived schedule and doing things, extra credit to you!). Eventually, you can wander around the house without upsetting your dog. He’s not finely tuned to your moves because he’s learning its random and not based on any behavior pattern of his. Therefore, he can’t make you react/come when he’s lonely. Every reentrance, greet him calmly and with love. Reward and tell ’em how good he is.

happy sleeping dog with no separation anxiety curled around an iCalmDog speaker

6. After an hour or so, take a break. Go outside for a pee and play time. Chase each other around and have some relaxed, untrained fun. Then go back inside and resume den training, following steps 4 and 5. This step is important because it clarifies the difference between training and play. He needs to know the difference between unstructured free time and disciplined work.

7. Day two: Continue to repeat steps 4 and 5 from the first day, but a little faster and with more distance this time. Follow your own intuition in determining length. Start to live your life, do chores around the house, but be sure to pop in frequently when he’s quiet and reward the good behavior. Dogs are smart and will very quickly learn they only get rewarded when they’re quiet and calm.

8. Keep increasing your distance. On day three or four, if he’s taking to the training well, try and step outside of the house. For short amounts of time initially. Return after 5 minutes and greet your dog, if he is quiet. You may lose a little momentum here as they are going to be more excited about your reentrance. But wait for quiet, then reward. It’s usually the first 20 minutes of separation that are most difficult. If it’s going well, continue varying times and distances. Remember to mix up the times so he doesn’t start anticipating your return. And of course plenty of outside breaks: young puppies will need every hour, older dogs can go for 3-4 hours, but try for more breaks during this training.

9. How’s it going? Are you stuck on some of these steps? If it’s not taking, you may have to spend longer amounts of time in each stage. Every dog is different and your own intuition will be the best guide for determining length in each stage. If you’re making absolutely no progress and your dog is freaking out, you just might need the personal help of a trained professional. But if it is going well, begin to live your life more normally, checking in and continuing to reward as often as possible with a modern schedule. Your dog, your family, and your clean rugs will thank you for this hard work in the long run. Cheers to you two! You just graduated separation anxiety academy!

 

 

Has your dog experienced separation anxiety? What have you found to help? Share your experiences in a comment below so I can improve this guide. Thanks for reading and sharing!

 

Through a Cat’s Ear: Music for Calming (3-CD Box Set)

through a cat's ear music for calming tunes for felines CD set pet calming

Through a Cat’s Ear
A Breakthrough in Feline Music & Sound Therapy

If your cat is stressed or fearful, howls, fights or has difficulty settling and sleeping, now you have a tool to help–without resorting to pharmaceuticals.

The Through a Cat’s Ear: Music for Calming series is specifically designed for the feline household. Building on the clinically demonstrated Through a Dog’s Ear programs, Cat’s Ear music addresses the need for environmental consistency. Sonic anchoring–a repeating melodic interlude–brings a sense of constancy and familiarity that is necessary for your cat’s health.

This soundtrack employs bioacoustic principles including resonance, entrainment, pattern identification, and frequency modulation–all woven into beautiful piano soundtracks.

Music for Calming is recommended during these situations:

  • Car
  • Visitors
  • Loud noises
  • New baby or pet
  • Stressed people
  • Illness & recovery
  • Pre- & post-surgery
  • Poor elimination behaviors
  • Final stages of life

Through a Cat’s Ear is rearranged classical music that you can enjoy with your furry companion–and, most importantly, will help your “best friend” live a happier and healthier life.

Why Music for Cats?

Since the 2008 release of Through a Dog’s Ear music, requests for music specially designed for cats have been constant. As a research-based organization, we’ve demurred; there has been scarce scientific examination of music and sound with cats. However, recent research by Dr. C.A. Tony Buffington (2011, Ohio State University) caught my attention. While studying feline interstitial cystitis (a leading cause of euthanasia), researchers discovered a primary cause of this ailment: stress! Change in the cat’s physical environment—strangers, different food, additional animals, loud noises, illness, etc.—is a major contributor. Cats prefer their homes to be stable and consistent. Acute feline stress turns into chronic irritation, manifesting in disease and behavioral challenges.

This CD set is designed to reduce stress in a chaotic or unsettling environment. My sonic toolkit originates from sound therapies with neurodevelopmentally-challenged humans in which tone, tempo, and pattern are considered. Frequency ranges have been adjusted to a cat’s auditory range and a new technique called sonic anchoring is included.

– Joshua Leeds, Producer

Risk-Free shopping! 60-Day MONEY BACK GUARANTEE!

iCalmPet.com takes great pride in the music we distribute. If a recording does not meet your expectation we will gladly refund your money or replace it for you. See Customer Service for further details.

 

Through a Cat’s Ear: Volume 3 Music for Calming (CD)

through a cat's ear icalmcat volume 3 music for calming tunes bioacoustically arranged and designed classical music for felines

Through a Cat’s Ear
A breakthrough in Feline Music & Sound Therapy

If your cat is stressed or fearful, howls, fights or has difficulty settling and sleeping, now you have a tool to help–without resorting to pharmaceuticals.

The Through a Cat’s Ear: Music for Calming series is specifically designed for the feline household. Building on the clinically demonstrated Through a Dog’s Ear programs, Cat’s Ear music addresses the need for environmental consistency. Sonic anchoring–a repeating melodic interlude–brings a sense of constancy and familiarity that is necessary for your cat’s health.

This soundtrack employs bioacoustic principles including resonance, entrainment, pattern identification, and frequency modulation–all woven into beautiful piano soundtracks.

Music for Calming is recommended during these situations:

  • Car
  • Visitors
  • Loud noises
  • New baby or pet
  • Stressed people
  • Illness & recovery
  • Pre- & post-surgery
  • Poor elimination behaviors
  • Final stages of life

Through a Cat’s Ear is rearranged classical music that you can enjoy with your furry companion–and, most importantly, will help your “best friend” live a happier and healthier life.

 

Why Music for Cats?

Since the 2008 release of Through a Dog’s Ear music, requests for music specially designed for cats have been constant. As a research-based organization, we’ve demurred; there has been scarce scientific examination of music and sound with cats. However, recent research by Dr. C.A. Tony Buffington (2011, Ohio State University) caught my attention. While studying feline interstitial cystitis (a leading cause of euthanasia), researchers discovered a primary cause of this ailment: stress! Change in the cat’s physical environment—strangers, different food, additional animals, loud noises, illness, etc.—is a major contributor. Cats prefer their homes to be stable and consistent. Acute feline stress turns into chronic irritation, manifesting in disease and behavioral challenges.

This CD is designed to reduce stress in a chaotic or unsettling environment. My sonic toolkit originates from sound therapies with neurodevelopmentally-challenged humans in which tone, tempo, and pattern are considered. Frequency ranges have been adjusted to a cat’s auditory range and a new technique called sonic anchoring is included.

– Joshua Leeds, producer

 

Risk-Free shopping! 60-Day MONEY BACK GUARANTEE!

                                        

iCalmPet.com takes great pride in the music we distribute. If a recording does not meet your expectation we will gladly refund your money or replace it for you. See Customer Service for further details.

 

Save

Through a Cat’s Ear: Volume 2 Music for Calming (CD)

icalmcat through a cat's ear volume 2 music for calming tunes bioacoustically designed classical music for felines

Through a Cat’s Ear
A breakthrough in Feline Music & Sound Therapy

If your cat is stressed or fearful, howls, fights or has difficulty settling and sleeping, now you have a tool to help–without resorting to pharmaceuticals.

The Through a Cat’s Ear: Music for Calming series is specifically designed for the feline household. Building on the clinically demonstrated Through a Dog’s Ear programs, Cat’s Ear music addresses the need for environmental consistency. Sonic anchoring–a repeating melodic interlude–brings a sense of constancy and familiarity that is necessary for your cat’s health.

This soundtrack employs bioacoustic principles including resonance, entrainment, pattern identification, and frequency modulation–all woven into beautiful piano soundtracks.

Music for Calming is recommended during these situations:

  • Car
  • Visitors
  • Loud noises
  • New baby or pet
  • Stressed people
  • Illness & recovery
  • Pre- & post-surgery
  • Poor elimination behaviors
  • Final stages of life

Through a Cat’s Ear is rearranged classical music that you can enjoy with your furry companion–and, most importantly, will help your “best friend” live a happier and healthier life.

 

Why Music for Cats?

Since the 2008 release of Through a Dog’s Ear music, requests for music specially designed for cats have been constant. As a research-based organization, we’ve demurred; there has been scarce scientific examination of music and sound with cats. However, recent research by Dr. C.A. Tony Buffington (2011, Ohio State University) caught my attention. While studying feline interstitial cystitis (a leading cause of euthanasia), researchers discovered a primary cause of this ailment: stress! Change in the cat’s physical environment—strangers, different food, additional animals, loud noises, illness, etc.—is a major contributor. Cats prefer their homes to be stable and consistent. Acute feline stress turns into chronic irritation, manifesting in disease and behavioral challenges.

This CD is designed to reduce stress in a chaotic or unsettling environment. My sonic toolkit originates from sound therapies with neurodevelopmentally-challenged humans in which tone, tempo, and pattern are considered. Frequency ranges have been adjusted to a cat’s auditory range and a new technique called sonic anchoring is included.

– Joshua Leeds, producer

 

Risk-Free shopping! 60-Day MONEY BACK GUARANTEE!

                                        

iCalmPet.com takes great pride in the music we distribute. If a recording does not meet your expectation we will gladly refund your money or replace it for you. See Customer Service for further details.

 

Save