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Understanding your dog’s mood

Our pets share the same instinct that we as humans have. We have an innate reaction to a threat that we have been born with. It's a flee, flight or fight reaction to a dangerous situation; real or perceived.

An automatic reaction to a fearful situation is a trait we are born with. Our dogs are the same and they experience some of the same reactions as we do. Abnormal behaviors displayed in your dog, over time, can be changed.

Your dog can exhibit symptoms of anxiety in ways such as excessive barking, uncontrollable urination or whining. These are triggered by either visible stresses or separation. The most common stress a dog experiences is separation anxiety.

Loud, sudden noises like fireworks or thunder claps can cause your dog anxiety. Your dog might have a phobia which can be described as a unjustifiable fear of sudden sounds. Dogs can be trained to “unlearn” this behavior by observing signs of the onset of this patterned behavior and stopping it.

As dogs get older, they may experience more separation anxiety then in the past. This can be caused by the decline in memory and thoughts. Anxieties and phobia see their onset around the beginning of social development which is about 12 to 36 months. Between 8 to 10 months they may experience a fear or withdrawal which is normal.

Now we will talk about some symptoms associated with anxiety. Obsessive licking and biting themselves can be a sign of anxiety. If your dog is trembling, withdrawn or is tucking its tail then there it's possibly exhibiting signs of mild fear.

One reason for the manifestation of these conditions is illness. An illness or physical situation can cause you pet to develop phobias or anxiety. Puppies that are less than 14 weeks old and have not had social interaction might show signs of being fearful.

Some other factors that can cause these conditions are separation issues such as abandonment. Prior neglect or moving to a new home with a new owner can cause this anxiety for a dog. It's important to know that owners need to provide a secure, safe environment for their pets from the beginning.

As with any issue concerning our pets, we do suggest that you visit your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis when possible. Some dogs affected might respond to behavioral modifications but it's not a guarantee. Many of these behavioral issues can be treated with medication but those sometimes can take up to 2 weeks to take effect.

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