Tag: dog behaviour

5 Ways to Prevent a Dog From Sleeping In Your Bed

Dogs bring so much joy to our lives… until they decide to hog the bed and cause sleepless nights. Keeping your dog off your bed may be the best solution, but if you’re wondering, “Can it be done if my dog is already used to sleeping in my bed?” The answer is yes! Though it Read More...

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Dogs bring so much joy to our lives… until they decide to hog the bed and cause sleepless nights. Keeping your dog off your bed may be the best solution, but if you’re wondering, “Can it be done if my dog is already used to sleeping in my bed?” The answer is yes! Though it may be easier said than done, you can train a dog to stay off your mattress during bedtime.      

Reasons for Not Letting Your Dog to Sleep in the Bed

Before we discover the ways you can prevent a dog from sleeping in your bed, let’s explore the possible reasons why you don’t want a dog sleeping with you. If you have many pets, you might not all comfortably fit in your bed. Plus, one pet might feel he is favoured above others if he gets to stay on the bed while the rest stay on the floor. In some cases, dogs may also end up biting their sleeping companion when they get startled or when they feel they need to defend the space or a particular person. Senior dogs may also have arthritic joints, weak hips, or poor bladder control, making it difficult to jump onto/off the bed or stay in bed throughout the night.

If you’re a light sleeper, sudden movements, loud snoring, and overcrowding from your dog might wake you up. These can cause you to lose quality sleep and affect your health in the long run. Plus, you don’t know what bacteria, virus, pollen, or particles your dog may be bringing onto your bed and sharing with you. Not to mention, dander may also trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people. 

5 Tips to Stop Your Dog From Sleeping In Your Bed

As a dog owner, it is up to you to decide if your dog should sleep next to you in bed. There is no right or wrong answer. It is simply a matter of preference. However, if you feel a change is needed with your current sleeping setup or you want to introduce a no-sleeping-in-bed policy to your newly adopted shelter dog, you can try these 5 ways: 

1 Find the right bed for your dog.

To keep your dog off your bed, you must first give him a sleeping space to call his own. Purchase a comfortable bed that fits your dog’s measurements, his special needs, and one that can accommodate his favourite sleeping positions. Aside from the mattress shape and dimensions, don’t forget to check its thickness and the materials used for it. It should not sink to the floor when he lies on it, and at the same time, it should be cosy enough for him to sleep in no matter what the climate is. 

With its soft raised walls, the Snooza Faux Fur Cuddler Dog Basket is perfect for anxious dogs 
Available in three sizes, the reversible Isleep Linen Bed comes in a plush pink removable, washable cover

2 Put his bed in an ideal spot. 

Your dog doesn’t need to lie in your bed to feel secure. As long as he can see you and knows you’re nearby, he can feel safe and relaxed. Position his mattress within or close to your sleeping quarters, so you can keep an eye on him throughout the night. 

Observe his resting habits throughout the day and position his bed in an area that he already stays in. Make sure the particular spot doesn’t get drafty, keeps cool throughout the night, and stays shaded from the sun.

3 Train your dog.

Teach your dog how to go to his bed and how to stay off yours. You want to establish boundaries and teach him where he should automatically go for bedtime. Using simple commands, train him how to go “up” or “off” your bed. Give him a treat each time he follows your command, and eventually wean off the treats once he gets the hang of it.

If it is his first time to use his bed, take him out for a walk just before bedtime. Without removing the leash, lead him to his new resting spot and train him to “go to sleep.” Place a treat on his bed, and reward his actions with positive words. 

Made from all-natural, grain-free ingredients, Pure Treat Co Lamb and Rosemary is a treat you can give to convince your pooch to lie on his bed

4 Make his bed/the floor more appealing.

Aside from placing treats on his bed, you can also add bolsters, blankets, and his favourite stuffed toys. Show him that it’s more fun on his mattress by petting him when he sits there. Do not pet him or pay attention to him when he’s on your bed. Coerce him to get off it by calling out his name, dangling his toy, and playing with him when he is finally on the ground. 

5 Limit his access to your bed. 

The fastest way to keep your dog off the bed is by leaving your bedroom door closed or by placing a baby/pet gate as a physical obstruction. If you own a tall dog, make sure he won’t be able to climb or jump over the barrier. You can also place his bed within a metal fence or opt to put him in a crate until he gets used to the idea of not sleeping beside you. 

In conclusion

Though cats and dogs are different creatures, you need the same amount of patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement when training them to stay off your bed. Be sure everyone in the household agrees to this sleeping arrangement so that it’ll be easier to implement it. If someone secretly lets the dog sleep on their bed, you’ll have a hard time carrying out this rule. 

Be the best dog parent by reading more articles from our blog! Learn how to groom your dog at home, decipher their behaviour, and give them dog-friendly human food

What is reverse sneezing in dogs?

Have you ever witnessed your dog creating a snorting sound while appearing to inhale and sneeze at the same time? Don’t worry! He’s just reverse sneezing, which is a condition that’s fairly common in dogs but rarely seen in cats. If you’ve never seen a dog reverse sneezing, check out this video by Dr Aimee Read More...

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Have you ever witnessed your dog creating a snorting sound while appearing to inhale and sneeze at the same time? Don’t worry! He’s just reverse sneezing, which is a condition that’s fairly common in dogs but rarely seen in cats.

If you’ve never seen a dog reverse sneezing, check out this video by Dr Aimee Johnson to see what happens:

Here are the top three things you need to know about your dog’s reverse sneezing:

What is reverse sneezing?

Also called backwards sneezing or inspiratory paroxysmal respiration, reverse sneezing happens when a dog makes rapid and long inspirations, stands still, and extends his head and neck. A dog produces loud and distinct snorts while reverse sneezing a few times in a row for about 5 to 10 seconds.  

When you find your dog reverse sneezing occasionally, you shouldn’t get stressed over it. The episode is not harmful nor will it produce any side effects. 

What causes reverse sneezing in dogs?

Akin to the regular way of sneezing, reverse sneezing is done to force out something that may be irritating your dog’s respiratory tract⁠—from his nose to his sinus, to the back of his throat and nasopharynx. Irritants may include allergies, infections, secretions, foreign materials (e.g. seeds, pollens, or grasses), smoke, odours, dust, and masses. 

Nasal mites may also cause a dog to reverse sneeze. These are small parasites that live in dogs’ nasal passages and sinuses, which are transmitted from direct and indirect contact between dogs or from a contaminated area. 

Dogs with brachycephalic skulls (that tend to have elongated soft palates), long noses and narrow nasal passages, or those with anatomical abnormalities are said to be more afflicted with reverse sneezing than other dogs.

How is reverse sneezing treated?

When your dog goes through a reverse sneezing episode, there is no need to rush to the vet. You can help your dog out by softly blowing in his face, gently massaging his neck area, and covering his nostrils for a few seconds. 

However, if your dog is suffering from bouts of these more than usual, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Observe the causes and  try to capture your dog on video so you can show it to the vet during his next medical checkup. Your vet will go through your canine’s medical history and perform a complete physical examination, paying close attention to the respiratory tract and mouth. Rhinoscopy, blood and urine tests, and nasal or dental X-rays may also be administered to see what might be bothering your dog’s respiratory system. 

Your vet can easily remove foreign materials found within your dog’s respiratory system. However, masses and anatomical abnormalities may only be corrected through surgery. If the vet suspects that your dog has nasal mites, he might perform nasal flushing to obtain and examine the fluid from your pet’s nasal passages. When mites are found, antiparasitic medication may be given over the course of a few weeks to eliminate them. If your dog’s reverse sneezing is triggered by allergies or infection, he may be given antihistamine or anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the episodes. 

In conclusion

Depending on your dog’s anatomical structure, respiratory sensitivity, and exposure to nasal irritants, he may go through a number of reverse sneezing episodes in his lifetime. When this happens, just carefully watch over him and comfort him afterwards. But if there is a marked increase in his reverse sneezing episodes, schedule a visit to your veterinarian immediately. 

If you’re curious to read up on other intriguing canine-themed topics, click here. You can also learn which human foods are safe for your dog. 

10 Ways to Help Your Anxious Dog

Do you care for or own an anxious dog? Just like humans, our pets can and will experience anxiety at different points in their lives. When this happens, they sometimes have a harder time communicating their feelings to us. We can also misinterpret their behaviour and miss the opportunity to help them out. In this Read More...

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Do you care for or own an anxious dog? Just like humans, our pets can and will experience anxiety at different points in their lives. When this happens, they sometimes have a harder time communicating their feelings to us. We can also misinterpret their behaviour and miss the opportunity to help them out.

In this Waldo’s Friends article, we tackle:

What is dog anxiety?

Anxiety is “the mind and body’s reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations.” A dog can manifest anxiety when he is exposed to high-stress scenarios, visual stimuli, or major life changes. These include:

  • Being abandoned, abused, or neglected by his owner
  • Being placed in a high-stress environment with poor care and several animals 
  • Traveling or moving to another place
  • Being left home alone
  • Experiencing a change in family dynamic, routine, and/or lifestyle
  • Being separated from loved ones
  • Hearing loud noises such as fireworks and thunderstorms
  • Being exposed to unfamiliar people or animals
  • Getting older and experiencing a decline in perception, memory, learning, and awareness

How does a dog manifest anxiety? 

According to Dr. Susan Konecny of Best Friends Animal Society, these are the common clinical signs to look out for: pacing, trembling, shaking, hypervigilance, lip licking, frequent yawning, and decreased appetite. Aside from these clinical signs, Konecny also shares physiological effects such as increased salivation or drooling, increased heart rate and panting, dilated pupils, skin lesions brought about by self-trauma, and overgrooming.

Central California SPCA also states that anxiety may be expressed in different ways depending on your pet’s personality. Some dogs will continuously whine, howl, and bark, while others will shiver and whimper when experiencing stressful situations. Overly anxious pets even become problematic when they turn into hostile pooches that cause destruction or end up uncontrollably peeing and pooping all over the place.

To the untrained eye, anxiety may simply look like your dog is misbehaving. However, if your pup frequently exhibits these signs, you need to observe when they occur and schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Inform your vet about what you’ve observed, and let her check your dog for any undiagnosed medical issues. If your pooch’s anxiety is caused by an underlying medical problem, this should lessen or disappear as soon as the treatment is carried out. 

If your dog shows increasing bouts of anxiety, you might also want to consider going to an animal behaviourist or dog trainer who specialises in helping anxious dogs so the issue can be dealt with in a positive way. Know that his anxiety can mostly be treated and cured, and if not – it can be managed with a few lifestyle changes. If your dog’s long-term anxiety is not addressed correctly, he may lose his appetite or withdraw from others or cause harm within his community.   

How can you help your anxious dog? 

With every instance of dog anxiety, you should take a moment to figure out what caused it then determine the right course of action to reduce or eliminate it. There are general ways to help ease your dog’s anxiety:

1 Shower him with love.

The fastest way to show your dog you care is by giving him a hug, stroking his fur, or petting him. Giving your pup a massage will also work wonders in easing his tensed muscles and calming his nerves. Do it by starting in his neck area, then working your way downward while applying gentle but firm strokes. Remember to respect your dog’s boundaries even as you display such positive environmental reinforcements. Allow him to receive your affections in his own way and open up at a pace that he is comfortable with. Resist the urge to treat your dog like an infant and hugging and kissing him without warning. Doing this may increase his anxiety and backfire.

2 Regularly exercise your dog.

More than just keeping your dog physically and mentally stimulated, daily exercise is known to reduce anxiety-related behavioural problems. Greater levels of physical exertion will boost the endorphins in his body while strengthening your bond.  Remember to pay attention to the kind of environment your dog is comfortable exercising in. This can be a low traffic on leash park or even just your backyard. 

3 Provide him with a safe space. 

If your dog gets agitated by sudden noise or unfamiliar people, you can place him in a room or in a quiet part of the house that eliminates these stressors. You can play classical music, nature sounds, or white noise, spray synthetic calming pheromones, and use low lighting to help him relax. 

If you don’t have a safe room that isn’t heavily frequented by others in the house, you can also get him a specialised crate that’s specially designed for dogs with anxiety. The easy-to-assemble, motion-activated ZenCrate is known to provide vibration isolation, noise cancellation, and reduced light. It can even be pre-programmed to play soothing music.

ZenCrate

4 Remove his triggers. 

Once you’ve determined what makes your dog anxious, it’s always best to limit his interaction with these elements and observe if his disposition improves. For example, anxious dogs who do not deal well with strangers should be walked in areas with minimal people, or taken out during off-peak times when pedestrians and cars are hardly around. Do not be embarrassed to advocate for your dog when faced with people who refuse to back off or respect your boundaries. If a dog runs up to yours, use your body to create a safe blocker for your dog before your dog has a chance to react to this unwelcome intrusion. 

Ask other dog owners who are not following leash walking park rules to call their dogs away from yours. If your dog is very reactive due to anxiety around very specific triggers, simply stay vigilant and change course the second you spot the trigger approaching. This can be kids who scream at your dog or want to hug him without permission or other dogs who are off leash in a narrow sidewalk.

5 Make his situation known.

If your anxious dog must interact with others, let other people know about his sensitive state by letting him wear a “nervous” bandana or vest. This way, fellow pet owners and pedestrians can instantly see that it’s better to keep their distance from your dog. Again, advocate for your dog by telling anyone closeby about the situation before anything occurs. For city dwellers this may mean asking strangers in lifts to not pet your dog without permission or park goers to keep away from off leash areas.

6 Entertain your pooch with interactive toys.

Dogs that experience separation anxiety can be distracted through puzzle toys that dispense treats when they are successfully unlocked. Not only will your dog be mentally stimulated and entertained by it, but he will also enjoy munching on his favourite treats.    

7 Let him wear a calming coat.

A calming coat supposedly decreases stress on a dog by constantly applying pressure on his torso. The pressure that will be felt by your canine is similar to the comforting way a parent swaddles his child. The coat is said to provide relief from separation anxiety, firework anxiety, noise anxiety, crating anxiety, travel anxiety, thunderstorms, and vet visits.

The Calming Coat 

8 Try to minimise the changes in his life. 

Changes in a dog’s regular routine, environment, home life, and lifestyle can cause anxiety. If you suddenly need to work longer hours, you may need to leave your dog with a sitter so he doesn’t experience separation anxiety. If he has lost his longtime animal companion, it might be good to consider adopting another dog to accompany him.  

9 Book a behaviour modification session with an experienced trainer. 

Don’t be ashamed to ask for professional help! By signing up your dog for behaviour modification, you can help alter his responses to offending triggers and stressful situations. Some of the most commonly applied techniques are habituation, response substitution, desensitisation, and counterconditioning. Thankfully there are several dog trainers who are experienced in positive reinforcement training for anxious and reactive dogs. Look for them in your community or ask your vet to recommend a service.

10 Put him on medication.

For dogs that suffer from extreme cases of anxiety, your veterinarian might consider letting him take antidepressants or CBD oil. Whatever the case, ask about the pros and cons of each type of medication, and find out its effects on your dog’s personality, moods, and life span. Medication and behaviour modification can go hand in hand in decreasing your dog’s anxiety.

We hope this article helps you become the best paw-rent or foster for your anxious dog! Click here to discover more canine-related guides from our blog.

How to stop my dog from barking

Usually loud and sharp, barking is a natural sound that dogs make. Dogs bark to verbally communicate with others or to express their feelings in different scenarios. When a dog barks frequently, excessively, or during unwanted times, his owner must find the cause of the barking and search for ways to stop the behaviour. In Read More...

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Usually loud and sharp, barking is a natural sound that dogs make. Dogs bark to verbally communicate with others or to express their feelings in different scenarios. When a dog barks frequently, excessively, or during unwanted times, his owner must find the cause of the barking and search for ways to stop the behaviour. In this article, we’ll discuss the: 

  • Possible reasons why dogs bark
  • General tips to stop a dog from barking
  • Specific ways to stop a dog from barking in different scenarios

Why do dogs bark?

There are many reasons why your dog barks. PetMD shares the common reasons for barking: excitement; attention or food seeking; boredom; fear, anxiety, or territorial behaviour; pain; reactivity or surprise; and canine dementia. Aside from these, breed and genetics also play a role in a dog’s inclination to bark. 

Excitement 

This kind of bark is usually displayed when you come home, when your dog is greeting another animal, or when he is about to be let outside. It is accompanied by perked ears, an alert body, a wagging tail, and even jumping. The intermittent barking subsides once he has relaxed.   

Attention or food seeking

This type of bark is done to catch a dog owner’s attention, asking you to walk, feed, or give your dog a treat. When he barks for attention or food, the sound tends to be a long string of single barks with pauses in between them. His body language is generally relaxed, but his tail may be wagging and his ears may be standing at attention.

Boredom

When left alone for a period of time, a bored dog may bark to get your attention or to invite you to play with him. The barking sound he makes is at a lower pitch, and sounds like a “harrr-ruff.” He does this in a neutral pose or a play bow, with his front legs outstretched and leaning down on his elbows while his rear is up in the air.

Fear, anxiety, or territorial

Expect your dog to bark in a deep, continuous way when he is exposed to an unknown stimuli, such as a stranger or an unfamiliar cat. This kind of bark can be complemented with growling, with your dog’s entire body in a tense state. 

Dogs exhibiting separation anxiety are known to bark excessively when they are left all alone. They accompany their barking with destructiveness, repetitive pacing, and/or inappropriate elimination. 

Pain

When your dog is attacked by another animal, gets accidentally hit while playing, or is experiencing pain in a particular body part, he may produce high-pitched, staccato yelps to verbalise his discomfort. 

Reactive or surprise

Whether he suffers from poor hearing, does not pay attention, or suddenly sees something strange, a dog caught off guard can make a singular, high-pitched bark to convey his shock. 

Canine dementia

Older dogs who incessantly bark in the corner or at a wall (without anything appearing to be there) during the night may be suffering from cognitive dysfunction. 

Genetics and breed

In an interview with PetMD, veterinary behaviourist Dr. Stefanie Schwartz shared that genetics and breeding are also factors to consider. Barking was emphasised in particular breeds by our human ancestors to help protect and defend past settlements. Dog breeds that are known to bark more include terriers, huskies, and Nordic breeds.   

How can I stop my dog from barking?

Barking is completely normal for dogs. Once he faces the physical, emotional, or external stimulus, he should calm down and stop barking. However, if you notice that your dog barks frequently with the slightest provocation, you should figure out the triggers and take the necessary steps to correct his action. Ignoring the problem will only make matters worse. To be successful in breaking your dog’s barking habit, you’ll need to equip yourself with the proper techniques and execute them patiently. 

General tips: 

  • If you get a chance to foster or adopt a puppy, try to expose him to a variety of stimuli and environments so that he gets used to them as early as possible. Exposure to these different factors will help desensitise him and make him less likely to bark at novel experiences.  
  • Shouting at your dog when he is barking won’t solve the problem. It will make him think you’re joining him. Instead of yelling at him, speak calmly and firmly. 
  • Keep your training positive and consistent. Make sure the entire household applies the same training methods, so your dog doesn’t end up getting confused.  
  • Teach your dog how to stop barking with the command “hush” or “quiet.” The next time he barks at something, walk up to him while holding a treat in your hand. Let him smell it in your hand, and as he grows quiet to sniff it, say the command and toss the treat away from him. Don’t give him the treat if he continues to bark. Keep repeating this technique until he learns not to rely on the hand prompt or the treat.
  • If you suspect that the barking is caused by a health-related problem, take your dog to the veterinarian to be assessed immediately. If your pooch is experiencing high levels of anxiety, your vet might prescribe him anti-anxiety medication

Scenario: Your dog barks when you get home 

It’s common for your pooch to bark an excited greeting to welcome you home. But if he does it too much that it drives you (or even your neighbours) crazy, teach him this quick trick: Just before the door opens, train him to go to an area and stay there. Pick a spot that allows him to see who’s entering, but not too close to the door that he can run out or excitedly jump on the person. Practise getting him to stay calm in that particular area whenever the door opens. When he keeps quiet and sits still, call him and reward him with praise and treats. Stop yourself from petting him or making eye contact with him if he barks at you the moment you get home.

Scenario: Your dog barks when someone or something is at the door

Dogs bark when they are afraid or feel the need to protect their territory. You can minimise this kind of barking by limiting what your dog sees. When he’s indoors, close the curtains or cover the windows with an opaque film so he doesn’t see what’s happening outside. You can also situate him in a different room that’s far from your entryway. When he’s outdoors, block his view of unfamiliar elements by containing him within a solid wood fence instead of a chain-link fence. Don’t leave him outside by himself. 

Scenario: Your dog barks when he wants something

Ignore your pooch whenever he barks to ask for something, whether it’s attention, food, toys, or to go outside. Look away from him or leave the room to show him that barking won’t result in anything. Wait for him to become quiet or sit still before granting what he wants. You can also teach your dog other ways to communicate his needs, such as training him to ring a bell if he needs to go out for a potty break, or nudging the water dish with his nose so you could refill it.   

Scenario: Your dog barks when he’s all alone

Boredom, loneliness, and separation anxiety can all lead to excessive barking. Provide your dog with enough attention, playtime, and exercise to put him in a relaxed state before you leave him all by himself. Give him puzzle toys that dispense treats to keep him occupied. Hire a dog walker to play with him or take him out if you’ll be out for prolonged periods of time. 

In conclusion

Barking is the easiest way for your dog to communicate with you. You must allow him a chance to express himself through this vocal manner. However, you must draw the line when his barking becomes uncontrolled and unnecessary. By ignoring him when he barks, determining the triggers, removing or lessening the triggers, and consistently teaching him the proper techniques, you can correct this unwanted behaviour. 

To discover more pet parenting articles from Waldo’s Friends, click here.

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