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How to Tune Your Home Environment: Through a Dog’s Ear Discussions

I started reading the book, Through a Dog’s Ear, soon after starting to work at iCalmPet. Even though the book was published in 2008, I found there was just too much fascinating and relevant information to keep locked up on the shelves! So in collaboration with the author and our co-founder, Joshua Leeds, I’m going to use this space to discuss some of the most interesting and useful parts of the book. According to Joshua, the research and theory explored in this book form the theoretical foundations of iCalmPet, and the basis of all the auditory pet products we bring to the world.

 

Dogs are infinitely adaptable to our human lives––its why we have them for pets and not cheetahs––they’ve been hard-wired by eons of co-evolution to attune to the rhythms of our lives. But now, more than ever, they have to work so hard to find their place within our hectic modern human environment. 

But what happens when they can’t adapt? When you’re flying around the house late for work, and the kids are fighting, and the kettle is screaming… your dog completely picks up on this energy and looks for the threat and is reaaaally anxious to help!?!

This example is what the sensory environment of your home can present to your pet’s psyche, and plays a huge role in their behavior. Imagine it from their point of view, and how confusing all these signals must be. Now imagine how it feels to your cat or dog, to be in your living space, on an average day. If you’re having trouble with your animal, pay attention and see if their sensory environment might be a stressor. Whether it is the scenario above, or a hundred others, sound and other sense elements have a huge influence on your pet.

 

Through a Dog’s Ear is designed to initiate conversation and raise awareness about the impact of the sonic environment upon our canine companions” 

 

Unfortunately for most of us modern humans, we can’t always control the sonic environment of our homes–surrounded by cityscapes, construction, and very close proximity to neighbors. All day, our dogs hear television noises, neighbors talking, phones ringing, alarms beeping; sonic debris from an unbelievable variety of sources––especially for a creature who hears at 20,000 Hz above humans, over twice our capacity––and just don’t make sense to a creature that evolved and developed all its auditory programming for a life in the wilderness. 

So knowing that sound is only second to the sense of smell, and understanding that in most instances, we are bombarding our pets with sounds they have no control over and no context for… what do we do? Just like people, animals are tuned differently from one another. One can take anything that comes their way; others hide under the bed and won’t come out for three days.

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you have to deal with the effects of an unsettled animal?

 

We imagine you’re here because you probably do. And since they can’t communicate with us, we must learn to communicate with them: first by listening and tuning in to their environment. 

 

Like this article? It’s the first in a series of Through a Dog’s Ear discussions. If you’d like to suggest a specific topic or have a thought or comment about this one, feel free below 🙂

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Hi iCalm Friends!

I’m Olivia, the newest addition to our little company!

Our CEO, Joshua Leeds, originally hired me for the position of Shipping Manager/Administrative Assistant/Customer Service, but during our interview, he discovered I had a passion for writing, and worked that into my title too, before even offering me the job! The timing of it was just beautiful, and exemplifies the superbness of being a small operation; we see each other face to face, just about every day, for quick pop-in chats, edits on whatever we’re fussing over, and creative brainstorming sessions (that often go down rabbit holes around the fascinating aspects of sound to the mammalian auditory system).

Within my first week I was getting pulled into these passionate brainstorming/mission setting/company vision talks, ones that I’m beginning to see Joshua might be known for. But it creates an environment in which everyone is behind the vision of what comes next, we all shape it cohesively and intentionally, and therefore we’re all ready to stand behind it, and push. It’s inspiring honestly, the energy of being part of a mission, and I’m just feeling so very excited to be here.

 

So what can you expect from us?

 

The same thing we’ve always done, but completely different…

From our very inception in 2003, we’ve been a company that focuses on healing. We were the first people to take sound healing principles and apply them to the calming of canine and feline nervous systems in the form of beautiful compositions (and backed by clinical trials!). We brought considerations of tone, tempo, and pattern recognition and combined them with frequency modulations for sensitive ears. The edge of that innovation is where we always want to live, creating delightful and effective music for a world that is often spinning toofast. Expect music beyond the classics––there’s increasing evidence to show that variety is the spice of life for canines too!––I can’t share those spices just yet, but I can say we’ve heard your suggestions loud and clear…  😉

So on the blog and on social media, you’ll hear news about what we’re tinkering on in the company, what’s fascinating us in the animal world, and how you can use this information to improve your lives, sapiens and canines and felines alike. Thanks for reading! We’re very excited to reconnect and move into the “next” approximations of sensory enrichment – for both pets and their people.

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The Tales that Won our Hearts

Congratulations to the winners of the first ever iCalmPet Story Contest! Thank you to everyone that submitted, we received so many great stories, it was hard to pick only a handful.

Read the stories that stole our hearts!

Laura Lang placed first with this incredible story:

I had tried everything with my dog MacKenzie and her anxiety was still out of control. After listening to Victoria Stillwell speak at an event I was attending I knew I had to try an iCalmDog for my girl. The results were nothing short of miraculous, she started sleeping through the night ( literally for the first time in 7 plus years) and so did I! Kenzie also was able to tolerate thunderstorms and fireworks when allowed to chill in the bathroom with her iCalmDog playing.  Kenzie’s iCalmDog traveled everywhere with us, at the vet she listens during rehab treatments for a torn ACL, and also regular vet visits. The staff at the vet was so impressed they have begun an anxiety reducing approach including playing Through a Dog’s Ear music. Kenzie also took her iCalmDog when she was boarding during vacation and they have also added Through a Dog’s Ear music piped throughout the facility for the benefit of all of their clients. As powerful as Kenzie’s experience was the positive effects for my mom and I was equally as great. In 2015 my mother had back surgery and terrible complications. She was very anxious during her stay at a short-term rehab facility and several hospitalizations. In June of 2015 she sadly transitioned to Hospice care and we lost her that July. Your music brought her great comfort and for that I will be forever thankful. She had been listening to the music for years for the dog and I took the iCalmDog to the nursing home, the hospital and finally had it playing at home while my mom received Hospice care. Thank you so much for all you do and your wonderful music. My young dog (CPL’s Liberty Bell, named for my mom Carole P. Lang) is now listening and we can use all the calm we can get.

Thank you so much!
Kenzie enjoying her iCalmDog.
Kenzie enjoying her music while in therapy.
CPL’S Liberty Bell, named after Lang’s mother.

In second place, we had a tie!

Margaret Pritchard with her adorable dog Lillie:

This is Lillie.  She is a Five year old yorkie.  We got her to be a play mate for another male Yorkie that was aging and needed someone to revive him.  Her hyperness and puppy in her, made him run and chase her around. They became best friends. Fast forward four and half years.  My male yorkie, age eleven years died, Lillie was lost. We watched her on security camera the next day crying, howling and pacing.  It broke our hearts. I looked online and found these CD’s and lots of busy toys. The CD’s worked within a couple of days. Yea!! I play them every time we leave the house. When we travel, those CD’s are in the bag.  It has been months now and whenever I turn on the CD player, she goes to her bed and lays down. Now I have a calm and happy fur baby.

Lillie was revived with the iCalmPet music after losing her best play mate.

Also in second place was Daniel H. Antolec, canine behavior consultant and trainer, with his story about one of his clients:

As a certified canine behavior consultant I work with dogs  suffering anxiety.   The spring of 2017 saw frequent thunderstorms throughout southern Wisconsin, rolling in about every third day.  Approximately 20% of dogs have thunderstorm anxiety.

In April of 2017 a client called for help with her most recent adoption, a beautiful two year old German Shepherd named Zora.  Z, as the pet guardian calls her, had anxiety issues during leash walks and was stricken with terror during thunderstorms.

The guardian already used a variety of calming measures such as taking Z into the basement, playing training games, offering a favorite food-filled toy and waiting for the storm to pass.  Z was always too stressed to settle on her bed or enjoy her toy, pacing and panting for hours at a time.

On the afternoon I visited Z the clouds were growing dark and heavy thunderstorms were predicted by evening.  Z was already growing restless.  The guardian and I discussed many options for helping Z through the storm and I pulled the iCalmPet player out of my training bag for demonstration.

When I began playing the music, Z approached me and settled down to listen.

Concluding the appointment, I rushed home to take shelter before the storm hit.  The next morning I checked email I found a message from Z’s guardian.

“After you left yesterday I downloaded the music you played for Z, and just before the storm arrived we went to the basement.  I offered her all the things I have done in the past, and then I played iCalmPet music.  Z immediately settled onto her bed and enjoyed her food-filled toy until the storm passed.

I have never seen her do that.  Thank you for telling me about the music player!”

Zora, the german shepherd who experienced anxiety before iCalmDog. 
Buddha and Gandhi, Antolec’s rescue dogs which he described in a story that didn’t fit the story guidelines, and so they did not make it into the final submission. 
Antolec with his rescues Buddha and Gandhi. 

Last, but not least is Laura Teliczan with an honorable mention:

Hi friends, my name is Laura T. I am a RVT at Fairway Animal Hospital in Fairway KS.  The cat in the photo is named Gus and I am submitting this story non fiction CAT-egory.
The story starts now!

Gus was coming in for his annual appointment and the owners, an elderly couple, let him explore the room. When we came in to check him in we saw this! He was cuddled up right next to the speaker.  The owners were so excited to see him all relaxed and comfy at the animal hospital.  They started asking us questions about the iCalmCat player, where we got it and how to get one for Gus at home.  One of our technicians helped the owners look up how to order on their phone while the doctor did her exam. Gus was so relaxed during the exam. iCalmPet truly made his annual exam pretty fantastic.
Thanks again for a great product!
Gus, the cat, curled up next to the iCalmCat player during his annual exam and was so relaxed his owners purchased their own speaker during his exam.

Thanks again for all the submissions!

We love getting pictures of pets and their people too!

Send pictures of your pets to customersupport@icalmpet.com. 

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Improvements from the Inside, Out

Our 4.0 Player is almost here!

You may have already heard about the newest iCalmPet speaker – model 4.0. But, you may be wondering why we have so many models and why we keep modifying the speaker. It’s simple, really… we’re out  to create the gentlest, most non-obtrusive bluetooth speaker on the market. We are in the calming business after all.

The new 4.0 iCalmPet speaker.
The new 4.0 speaker looks like others, but what’s inside makes the difference.

Why We Continue to Modify our Speakers

Other portable speakers have loud sound prompts  and abrasive, flashing lights. iCalmPet continues to diligently innovate our speakers;. modified specifically for sensitive animal and human nervous systems. These players must be worthy of and match our beautiful music

Co-founder of the company and long-time sound researcher, Joshua Leeds, has been in the business of psychoacoustics and music production since 1975. He has learned that stressed people and pets have diminished sensory tolerances. Therefore, having a positive sensory experience with the device generating the music is key to a soothing experience. The most important modification to these speakers is the minimization of sensory overload.

“The software in these speakers distinguishes our units from any other speakers you can buy,” Leeds said. “Nobody else is thinking about a stressed nervous system.”

Leeds compared the need for a subtle speaker to the experience of being sick. If you’re not feeling well, loud noises and bright lights can be painful. Therefore, even if you’re feeling just fine, a minimal sensory interaction is ideal. That’s why our new speakers are simple to use, turn on at a low volume level, have no abrasive lights, and no obnoxious noise prompts.

“I’ve done everything that I can to make it the iCalm 4.0 as gentle as possible,” Leeds said.

Leeds compared the need for a subtle speaker to the experience of being sick. If you’re not feeling well, loud noises and bright lights can be painful. Therefore, even if you’re feeling just fine, a minimal sensory interaction is ideal. That’s why our new speakers are simple to use, turn on at a low volume level, have no abrasive lights, and no obnoxious noise prompts.

“I’ve done everything that I can to make the iCalm 4.0 as gentle as possible,” Leeds said.

All of these modifications are the reason behind the delayed delivery. We’ve been out of iCalm Players for almost ten weeks now. They’ve taken a lot longer than originally expected to perfect and we are very excited to begin shipping them in the beginning of July! While the externals of the 4.0 are important, the real changes are literally baked into the circuit boards that run the whole thing.

Blueprints for the 4.0 speaker.
Blueprints for the 4.0 speaker.

Other Improvements on the New Speaker

  • Long-lasting battery: 8-12 hrs (depending on vol.)
  • Improved speaker system
  • Simplified control set (on/off, track forward/back, pause, mode)
  • Improved motherboard IC chip and amplifier
  • Light weight (5.5 oz)
  • Can be held in palm of hand (2″ high x 2 5/8″ round)
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Micro SD card port
  • Our most environmentally sustainable unit

Will My Old Sound Cards Work in the New Speaker?

Yes! The sound cards purchased since September 2015 with any of the 2.0 or 3.0 versions are compatible with the new 4.0 speaker. (Unfortunately, sound cards purchased before then will not work with the new speaker).

Three dogs and an iCalmPet speaker.
Some good ol’ boys enjoying the iCalmDog 4.0 speaker and music. Photo by Kristine M. Duque. See more of these cute guys on their instagram account @LabBlabber. 

What Do I Do with My Old Speaker?

At iCalmPet, we strive for sustainability. Our speakers use lithium-ion batteries, which can be very harmful to the earth if left to erode in a landfill. When jostled roughly and exposed to extreme heat and pressure (for example, in the back of a trash truck in summer) lithium-ion batteries have been known to spark and cause fires. Most hardware and electronic stores will recycle lithium-ion batteries, such as Home Depot. Think of portable speakers like your mobile phone. Almost all cell-phones these days use lithium-ion batteries. Every few years, you have to replace your cell phone (mostly because of a worn-out battery) and, hopefully, recycle the old one. Check with your local landfill to find where you can recycle your old speakers. An excellent resource to use for finding local places that recycle lithium-ion batteries is www.earth911.com. If all else fails, you can ship your old iCalmPet speakers back to us, and we will recycle them for you. Please specify.

Our address is:


iCalmPet
1467 Siskiyou Blvd. #30
Ashland, Oregon 97520

But when will they be here?

We are so excited to receive our new speakers the first week of July. As soon as we get them here in our Oregon shipping facility, we will immediately begin shipping them! We’re so looking forward to these new players and having a regular stocked inventory for quick fulfillment again!

 

Questions, concerns, feedback or adorable pictures of your pets?

 

Please send all inquiries (and cute pet pictures) to customersupport@icalmpet.com

Or call 800-788-7796

 

Delivering calm,

Caitlin Fowlkes

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Tell Us Your Tale – iCalm Story Contest

 

As briefly mentioned in the last blog post, we’re moving onto bigger and better things. Firstly, a new and more environmentally friendly speaker with many improvements! And you could win one!

Send us a picture or video of your pet, or yourself (or both!) enjoying the iCalmPet music, and a story up to 300 words that’s it!

And here’s the really fun part… It can be real or unreal.
That’s right, win our hearts or tell us a long tale!

Everyone’s an iCalm winner!

  • Two first-place winners will receive an iCalm 4.0 Deluxe package of their choice.
  • Two second-place winners will receive an iCalm 4.0 Standard package of their choice.
  • Everyone gets a $10 gift for submitting (excludes winners).

Happy with the iCalm set-up you currently have? We’ll donate the prize to the organization of your choosing.

Contest runs now until May 21. What are you waiting for?

Click here for more information and submission ideas.

 

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Audio Books for Dogs… Calming or Confusing?

I’d share almost anything with my soul dog, Gina… my bed (by invitation), my food (when it’s good for her), my music, and so much more.

But, my Audible subscription?

Nope!

I REALLY LOVE Audible…  for me. My reading habits have changed over the years, and now I listen to more books than I read. But, my listening titles are for me only. When Gina and I are in the car, I listen to my book on headset when driving while she enjoys her iCalmDog playing in her crate. When she’s home alone, I prefer to leave her with music playing that is specially designed for dogs, rather than audio books that were intended to be enjoyed by 2-leggeds.

Audio Books for Dogs claims to be helpful for anxious pets that don’t like being left at home alone. NPR recently asked me whether I thought audio books are calming for dogs. They included a very short clip of my answer on WAIT, WAIT… DON’T TELL ME! While I was honored to be interviewed on NPR, my reply was much more extensive and inclusive than what aired.

            (Click to hear and/or read all three stories.)

I think it’s fabulous that dog lovers are becoming aware how their sound environment affects their dogs. But, I believe that anxious dogs listening to audio books when home alone could easily backfire and actually cause anxiety. Dogs could experience sensory confusion when they can’t smell or see the person reading the book. Also, lower frequencies with slowed down tempi calm the canine nervous system. Higher frequencies charge the canine nervous system. A woman with a high voice range who gets animated at a peak in the story and starts speaking in louder, shorter tones, could actually stimulate the canine nervous system… not usually a desired behavior for an anxious dog left home alone.

I’m assuming the concept of audiobooks for dogs came from recent reading programs at shelters where children read to shelter dogs. That’s a very different scenario than a dog who is home alone hearing a voice but not being able to smell or see a person. When someone is sitting and reading to a shelter dog, it likely will be very calming to the pup. There’s nothing that would cause sensory confusion. And, many of these programs involve children reading. The dog’s presence often calms them, they are looking at their book instead of making direct eye contact with the shelter dog, and that in turn allows the dog to feel more comfortable. Once relaxed and calm, they’ll often feel confident enough to approach and sniff the child and may even ask for physical contact. They are engaging their senses rather than being put in a situation that could confuse them.

Audio books for my Lab Gina? Sure, if I’m reading to her, but not when it’s a voice foreign to her and belongs to a person she can’t see, smell or sniff. But, that’s ok. When I leave her home, her iCalmDog keeps her company and she does just fine.

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6 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe on Halloween

 

halloween pumpkin witch dog

It can be very fun for children to dress up as ghouls and goblins. But, dogs don’t understand the concept and can be very fearful of people wearing masks and costumes. And the huge number of children ringing the doorbell yelling “Trick or Treat” can cause excessive barking and put many dogs into sensory overload.

In my early adult years, I had a small dog with a heart murmur that had a heart attack on Halloween and died. The constant activity was too much for him. If I knew then what I know now, I would have kept him away from the stress of all of the noisy activity and immersed him with canine sound therapy.

keeping dogs safe on halloween

1. Keep Your Dog from Turning Into Houdini

Outside of July 4th in the U.S., Halloween is the most popular night for pets to escape their homes. Keep your dog in a quiet back room with some soothing music playing. Or if Buster is near the front door,  make sure he’s on a leash held by another family member. Praising and rewarding him for calm, quiet behavior is also invaluable. It will help inspire him to choose to stay inside. For precautionary measures, it’s best to make sure that all of your pets are wearing IDs.

dogs and halloween

2. Keep All Candy Out of Reach Of Your Pets

Many treats can be harmful for your pets, including chocolate. Laura Cross from Vetstreet tells us, “Sugar-free candy is also a risk, as it may contain xylitol, which can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs.”

keep candy away from dogs on halloween

3. Watch Out for Lit Jack-O-Lanterns

While a small amount of pumpkin is healthy for dogs and cats, consuming an entire raw pumpkin can make them sick. And, if it’s a lighted Jack-O-Lantern, you run the risk of your pet knocking it over and starting a fire. Best to go with the battery operated ones this year.

rsz_catwoman_and_batdog_cropped

4. Pets in Costumes

Some dogs can tolerate wearing costumes. But, many can’t. If your dog wants to get out of his costume, let him. Make sure all costumes are comfortable and that accessories or buttons are not chewable. Gina tolerated her batdog costume because she was very well paid when I put each piece of it on her when we entered the USDAA Cynosport World Games costume contest.

 

5. Tire Her Out

Make sure you get your dog out for a good romp during the day and tire her out. Frequent games of fetch along with some extra training sessions can also help  her be less reactive during the evening festivities.

6. Put Her In A Quiet Room with Soothing Canine Music 

In my early adult years, I had a small dog with a heart murmur that had a heart attack on Halloween and died. The constant activity was too much for him. If I knew then what I know now, I would have kept him away from the stress of all of the noisy activity and immersed him with canine sound therapy.

How do your pets do during Halloween? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

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Music for Traumatized Pets Post Hurricane? Seriously?

I took Gina to the beach one recent, beautiful Sunday morning. Hurricane Harvey had already destroyed the Houston area, and I kept thinking about Hurricane Irma. It was heading for Florida and was about to uproot the lives of so many, two- and four-legged alike.

We’re in California, and I remember feeling a little guilty. The weather was so beautiful, and Gina and I were enjoying our playtime at the beach together so much. I asked myself, “How can I be happy when so many are suffering, losing their homes and all their personal belongings?”

Unfortunately, animals were caught in this traumatic disaster, too. During and after the hurricanes, I received heart-warming emails and Facebook posts with stories of our music bringing comfort and peace to pet families. This story from Dot in Florida was music to my ears.

“We are home after 3 days in a hotel with our rescue dog, “Spirit”, who is environmentally sensitive. So thankful to have your wonderful music to play non-stop for not only Spirit, but for my husband and myself!

I played one of your CDs in the car on the way to the hotel, and the iCalmDog player the entire 3 days.

I just wanted to tell you how much it meant to all of us to be able to relax and have a sense of calm in the midst of the storm.

There must have been at least 100 dogs in the hotel, and we saw most of them at 5:30a.m. when the fire alarm went off, sending us all scrambling to find our clothes and exit the rooms. Thankfully, it was a false alarm, but the boiler malfunctioned leaving us without hot water. Numerous tornado watches kept us awake. One man and his dog had on life jackets.”

As soon as I read it, I knew we had to do more. I then saw an article on Facebook about shelters and rescue organizations helping out. Sherri Franklin, founder and CEO of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, told  SFGate ,“What we can do is relieve those shelters that had all those dogs [prior to the storm] and now they can handle the homeless animals that are being rounded up daily.”

Our iCalmPet team started working on a campaign focusing on what we do best… bringing calm to stressed out pets.

Thousands of pets were in shelters at the time of the hurricanes. They were transported, many by air,  to shelters around the country, where their chance for adoption would increase. They are confused, upset, and unsettled. The wonderful hearts at the shelters are wanting to find these refugee pets new homes.

Even so, a small part of me was a little hesitant about offering a music donation. These dogs and cats needed food, shelter, and love. Music seemed so inconsequential. But, when I received responses from organizations that helped to transport the animals, it reminded me of the importance of bringing calm to the homeless animals.

Erick Smith, Development and Operations Officer at Muttville told me, “I’m sure the music will have a positive effect on some of our more sensitive and stressed out mutts (especially those who are still a bit traumatized due to their long journey from Texas).”

Mark Stubis, COO of American Humane, made my day when he wrote, “Thank you so much for your remarkably generous offer of the iCalmPet products. We are grateful (and I’m sure the animals will be even more so!).”

Our clinically tested music had already been donated to over 1500 shelters and rescues worldwide over the the past nine years. (Click the video above of dogs at Santa Fe Animal Shelter listening.)

The traumatized hurricane pets were sometimes experiencing double the anxiety. They originally had the stress of being homeless. Now, new fears were developing…. the sounds and smells of the hurricane, followed by miles of travel, all in the hopes of finally finding their forever home.

Reducing anxiety is key to de-stressing homeless animals while increasing their chances of being adopted. Our clinically tested calming music does just that! Listen here:

Would you like to help bring calm to traumatized hurricane pet victims? Make any purchase on iCalmPet.com between September 19th and 25th – and we’ll donate 50% of profit towards iCalmDogs & iCalmCats for hurricane-related shelters. You’ll be bringing calm into your own pet household while also helping stressed out four-legged refugees.

Organizations where we plan to donate iCalmDog and iCalmCat players include:

Thank you in advance for sharing with your pet loving friends. Every purchase and every share makes a difference in helping these beloved pets who have suffered too much. They are deserving of some calm after the storm.

 

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5 Easy Tips to Help Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

It’s that time of year again… the kids have gone back to school after an action packed summer. It’s been fun for the children, and Buster has been so happy with the extra attention and playtime. Then one day, his world changes. The house is empty and he’s left home alone. Uh oh, does Buster have separation anxiety?

The stress of suddenly being alone may cause behavioral changes… excessive barking, destruction, escaping, pacing, chewing, scratching, and even the inability to lie down and rest.

While there is no evidence showing why some dogs have separation anxiety and some don’t, dogs are naturally social animals. So much so, that behaviorist and author John Bradshaw says, “Surprisingly, most dogs, given the choice, will actually prefer human company to other dog company.”

The ASPCA states,

“When treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the dog’s underlying anxiety by teaching him to enjoy, or at least tolerate, being left alone. This is accomplished by setting things up so that the dog experiences the situation that provokes his anxiety, namely being alone, without experiencing fear or anxiety.”

What You Can Do to Help Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

1. Mix Up Your Patterns

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 Buster that you are leaving. If picking up your car keys is always a precursor to leaving, Buster 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 Buster guessing so that he starts to unscramble the patterns you’ve already set in place.

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.” Separation Anxiety training protocol by famed dog trainer Victoria Stilwell can be found here.

2. A Little at a Time

If the kids aren’t going back to school for another three weeks, start practicing with very short departures today. 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.

3. Tire Her Out

A tired dog will less likely be inclined to tear up the linoleum while you are gone. Get up extra early to go for a long walk. Engage in a good game of retrieve. The amount and length of activity depends on breed, size, and age.

4. Training and Dog Tricks

While exercise and long walks are great at keeping him in shape, he’ll get more tired from mental stimulation combined with exercise. I joke that the more I hike with Gina, the better shape she gets in to prepare for even more physical activity. But, add in some agility training, and she actually gets tired. Don’t have any jumps at home? Try teaching Buster some new dog tricks daily.

5. Let Music Soothe His Fears

Don’t leave Buster home alone. Leave him with his own iPawd. While iCalmDog is the portable solution to canine anxiety, the clinically tested music works just as well at home as when Buster is on the go. Thousands of veterinarians and dog trainers worldwide have recommended the slowed down, simplified, classical compositions. Take a lesson and enjoy a soothing sound bath with your pup.

 

listen-samples-buster-headphones

 

Has your dog experienced separation anxiety? What have you found to help? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

 

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Celebrating Musical Dogs on National Dog Day

We’re all about creating music for dogs and cats at iCalmPet. But, on National Dog Day, the dogs are taking over my blog and making their own music.

Rescue dogs plays the organ. Uh-oh. Did she play a wrong note?

I found this video of Rev in a Mashable post. According to Rev’s owner, he’s been played the same Adele song since being a tiny pup. He clearly recognizes the tune and is quite enthusiastic about singing along. Karaoke for dogs?

Tucker’s owner didn’t know he had such a musical dog until he received noise complaints when he was gone. This is what he found on his nanny cam. Good boy Tucker!

Mishka apparently prefers harmony to melody!

Got a birthday to celebrate?

Celebrate dogs and music by take a soothing sound bath with your pup.

listen-samples-buster-headphones

Enjoy soothing music specially designed to calm the canine nervous system. Humans have been known to also benefit from the slowed down, simplified classical piano music. And calm gets easily transferred to the other end of the leash.