Teach Them To Sit And Stay
Having your German Shepherds on your heels can end in accidents.
If you didnt see them behind you, you could trip on them. You could lose balance and hurt yourself.
Or they could be hurt when you accidentally step on their paws.
Before any of these happens, curb the behavior early on. The commands sit and stay come very handy in these situations.
What Is Obedience Training And Why Your Dog Needs It
The sole purpose of obedience training is to teach your German Shepherd how to act at home and in social settings.
Socializing, house training, and basic sit, stay, and recall commands will fall into this category.
Obedience training is essential to avoid the development of behavior problems early on. Its also the only way to fix bad habits and behavior that have already developed.
What You Can Do About It
If you want to get your German Shepherd to be less anxious there are a number of things that you can do.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Reward it when it shows signs of not being anxious
The first thing that you can try is positive reinforcement training which is where you reward it for behaving in a way that you want it to.
To use positive reinforcement training to get your German Shepherd to be less anxious you would reward it with treats just before it starts to become anxious. Then, if it starts to get anxious, you would stop giving it treats until it starts to show signs of not being anxious.
Avoid rewarding its anxiety
While positive reinforcement training can be highly effective it can also work against you.
If your method of getting your German Shepherd to be less anxious is to give it things that it likes then it is likely that it has learned that being anxious results in it getting things that it wants.
Instead, you could try to reward it before it becomes anxious and then wait for it to stop being anxious and reward it again.
See a dog behaviorist
If you are unsure of the cause of its anxiety an option for you would be to see a dog behaviorist in your area. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored to your specific German Shepherd.
Avoid being highly reactive yourself
As mentioned earlier, if you are highly emotional with your German Shepherd then it will be too.
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Do German Shepherds Need A Lot Of Attention
If you have been in contact with German Shepherd owners, or if you have been online researching this breed, you may have come across terms like needy and separation anxiety when describing these dogs.
These things can at times be true, but these terms need to be put in proper context. So how exactly do German Shepherds need lot of attention?
German Shepherds need a lot of attention in the sense that they need plenty of quality time with their owners and can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone. They also require proper socialization, training, lots of exercise, and regular grooming.
If you are looking at adopting or buying a German Shepherd, you should be prepared to meet its needs.
After all, your German Shepherd is entirely reliant on you. Lets look at what kinds and levels of attention German Shepherds require.
As mentioned, German Shepherds wont necessarily curl up on your lap, although each dog is different, and some may require more physical affection than others.
However, almost all German Shepherds are faithful shadows and want to go where you go.
If you go into the garden to do some weeding, your German Shepherd will be right behind you. If you go to the bathroom, you will likely have your German Shepherd watching and guarding you in your vulnerable state.
Your German Shepherd assumes that you will devote yourself as fully to them. They will be very hurt if you were to lock them up or lock them out of your daily activities.
Are German Shepherds Naturally Protective
German Shepherd Dogs are protective of their loved ones GSDs will assertively stand their ground and are suited to be either watchdog or guardian, whichever the situation demands. They can be aloof with strangers yet are not hostile. This natural protective instinct is reassuring to the German Shepherd owner.
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Can Diet And Nutrition Affect Separation Anxiety
You might be wondering what your dog’s diet has to do with Separation Anxiety. And although there isn’t a whole lot of scientific exploration in this area yet, just think about yourself for a second
How do you feel when you’ve had too much sugar or coffee?
Cranky, wired, restless or even hyperactive is probably along the lines of how you’d feel. Right?
And it’s no different for your pooch. What your dog eats has a direct effect on their Central Nervous system .
Dog food made from low-quality protein, filled with preservatives, chemicals, and sugars will have a negative effect on your dog’s behavior.
Most commercial dog foods are filled with synthetic vitamins, minerals, and amino acids because the manufacturing process makes the food sterile. And just like your body has a hard time recognizing and using synthetic compounds, so does your dog’s body.
In fact, this study concludes that the bioavailability and composition of compounds like Tryptophan and Tyrosine can impact the well-being and behavior of dogs, specifically under stress.
Do Not Ignore Training
Some people simply let the dogs rest if they show signs of separation anxiety. It is essential that the dog gets regular training and new exercises to keep their mind off your departure.
Dog trainers specializing in separation anxiety can be a good source of tips on new exercises to include in your German Shepherds training.
Heres a YouTube video that discusses the signs of separation anxiety and how to resolve the problem.
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Tool #5 Calming Scents
Lavender Scent results in dogs being more restful with less vocalization
Your dog’s sense of smell is 10 000 to 100 000 times more accurate than yours. In fact, Alexandra Horowitz, a dog-cognition researcher at Barnard College makes the following comparison
While you might notice a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee, your dog can detect a teaspoon of sugar in a whopping million gallons of water!
So it stands to reason, that using scent as a tool to help calm our dogs when they are anxious is worth a try.
And science has something to add to this theory
In this study 55 shelter dogs were exposed to 4 different scents for 4 hours a day, over a 5 day period. The scents of lavender, chamomile, rosemary, and peppermint were used.
The behavior of the dogs was recorded on day’s 1, 3 and 5. But it’s the behaviors recorded from exposure to Lavender and Chamomile that are the most promising for dogs with anxiety
The Lavender and Chamomile scents were notably positive and resulted in more relaxed behaviors. The dogs exposed to these scents spent less time moving and more time resting. And the researchers also noted less vocalization than with other scents.
In this next study, 15 shelter dogs were exposed to Coconut, Vanilla, Valerian and, Ginger scents. They were exposed to each scent for 2 hours a day, for 3 days with a break of 2 days in between scents.
And although this was a small study, the results were dazzling
How to Properly Diffuse Scents for your Dog
They Are Going Through Estrus
If you have a female German Shepherd, she will go through estrus.
Thats another term for in heat or in season. It refers to the stage in a female dogs life when shes ready to mate.
The age they reach estrus depends on the breed. For German Shepherds, the first heat occurs between 9 to 12 months of age.
They go through the heat cycle twice a year. Each cycle can last up to 4 weeks.
A female German Shepherd in heat goes through personality changes. They could become clingy to you because of hormonal changes.
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When Do German Shepherd Puppies Start Become Energetic
Your german shepherd is likely to become energetic at 3 months old. This is when theyre going to want to explore the world. Unfortunately, theyre also likely to stay energetic until theyre about 3 years old.
Between 6 months 3 years old your german shepherd is going to be the equivalent of a human teenager. Theyre going to be unruly and try to do whatever they want, whenever they want.
However, you can help calm your german shepherd down by using an effective training program. And while at three years old theyre still going to be energetic, you should notice that theyre energy levels taper off a little bit.
What Causes Separation Anxiety In German Shepherds
It is not properly understood why dogs experience separation anxiety. There are, however, a few likely scenarios.
First, wolves and dogs are natural pack animals. They grow fond of each other and their master much faster than other animals like cats.
It is not, therefore, hard to imagine how difficult it is for your dog to feel alone, as they might be afraid of being hurt or lost.
Another possible reason for this behavior is previous experiences with abandonment. Dogs adopted from shelters are particularly vulnerable to these experiences.
According to GermanShepherdWorld, the issue is also quite rampant in older dogs who have had to survive the passing or departure of their owners and had to be re-homed.
Here are a few possible causes for your German Shepherds separation anxiety.
- Moving into a new home
- New household schedules such as school hours or a new job
- Recent additions to the household such as a new pet, a baby, or a new roommate.
- Changing of a guardian being moved to another family
- Death or moving of a family member
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Tool #2 Training: Counter
Counter-Conditioning is a training tool that goes hand-in-hand with Gradual Desensitizing.
In fact, in this study of 247 dogs on Canine Fear and Phobias, the combination of desensitizing and counter-conditioning was successful in 100% of the study subjects.
And, interestingly, calming drugs were specifically avoided in this study. Which goes to show how powerful this combination of desensitizing and counter-conditioning is.
In a nutshell, counter-conditioning is a tactic to help dogs change the way they feel about something scary. In this case, the scary thing is being left alone.
It works by pairing a scary stimulus , with something your dog finds pleasant, like food.
How to Apply Counter-Conditioning Training
Below is an infographic that will guide you to include powerful counter-Conditioning to teach your dog that good things happen when you’re getting ready to leave home.
What Is The Difference Between Separation Anxiety And Normal Canine Behavior
Before labeling destroyed cushions or potty accidents as SA, be sure its not a case of inadequate training. Does your dog truly understand good manners, even when youre not watching him? Is he 100% potty trained? One of the best ways to see whats really going on in your absence is to audio or videotape your dogs behavior while youre away.
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Here Are My Tips For Preventing Separation Anxiety In Dogs:
- Never make your leaving a big deal. Likewise, never make your coming home a big deal. Once your dog figures out that this is just a normal part of the routine, theyll feel more comfortable at home alone.
- Leave your pup something to keep them occupied when you leave. A Kong stuffed full of peanut butter works wonders! For more durable and entertaining chew toy ideas, check out this article.
- Make sure your dog is tired when you leave the house. Try going for a nice, long walk right before you leave. Or if you have a really high-energy pup , opt for an exhausting game of fetch. A tired dog has less energy to be stressed out when you leave.
- Consider hiring someone to watch your dog during the day. If you work a typical 8-hour day, then your dog may be experiencing separation anxiety because theyre home alone for such a long time. Since dogs dont experience time in the same way we do, 8 hours can feel like forever! Having someone watch your dog can remedy this problem. Or you could even hire a dog walker for an hour or so just to break up the monotony.
- Similar to the suggestion above, you can also try putting your dog in daycare if youre regularly away from home for extended periods of time.
- Try reaching out to a behavior professional to make sure youre on the right path and doing your part to ease your dogs anxiety.
Is It Separation Anxiety Or Boredom
Now imagine for a moment, you are at home, alone and you’re not allowed to do anything to keep yourself amused
No hobbies, no screen-time, no internet, no Netflix, no lazing at the pool
How bored would you be?
Yeah, I know, I’d be bored stiff too!
Well, it’s the same for our dogs.
If we leave them with a tank full of energy and no way to release it, chalking any vocalization or destructive behavior up to Separation Anxiety would be a mistake.
If you’re unsure whether the unwanted behavior is related to Separation Anxiety or boredom, set up a camera so you can watch a blow-by-blow replay.
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Leave Comfort Items And Background Music On For Your Dog
Items that have your scent such as dirty laundry can help your dog relax and remember that you will come back. Remove stress factors such as chokers, collars, chains, or crates if your dog doesnt like them. Hide treats around the house so they can hunt them while you’re away. Finally, soothing nature sounds can help your dog relax and fall asleep. You can monitor your dog through a Petcube Bites 2, a pet camera that doubles as a treat dispenser.
Are You Away From Home Frequently Or For Long Periods Of Time
GSDs can become anxious or bored if left alone for long periods of time and are more likely to express their worry with excessive barking, chewing, or digging. Some German Shepherds can also suffer from extreme separation anxiety if left alone for too long. Crate training can help teach them to be calm and happy when separated from their owner but it is best to have the availability to be near your pet as much as possible so as to not leave them alone for long periods of time.
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How Do You Know If Your Gsd Has Separation Anxiety
Knowing about the symptoms and the causes of this behavior is critical. With these details, youll be able to make preparations for dog separation anxiety training.
German shepherds can endure the toughest of the challenges they experience. But even they cant hide their anxiety about being separated from their loved ones.
This is good news, though, since youll be able to figure out if your dog has . Lets start with the most obvious way to go about it.
Why Is My German Shepherd So Needy
Your German Shepherd is so needy because they crave attention and you unwittingly reinforce it. Owners are at fault when they pet or give praises when their dog follows them around. In some cases, boredom and lack of mental stimulation make dogs needy.
German Shepherds are adorable and make great family pets. Theyre extremely loyal and can be strongly bonded with their owners.
But sometimes they take this to the extreme. To the point that they become clingy and needy. Its like they dont want you to get out of their sight.
Heres a list of the possible reasons why:
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Do Human Family Members Affect Separation Anxiety
This study found that dogs from a single adult home were 2.5 times more likely to develop anxiety-related issues, compared to dogs that live in homes with multiple owners.
To complicate matters, even more
This study found that 50% of the dogs that displayed anxiety-related problems lived with a couple vs. 10% living in a family with children.
And one study also found that with a higher number of human adult females in the home.
What Not To Do When Dealing With Separation Anxiety In Dogs
There are also some things you should NOT do when it comes to dealing with your dogs separation anxiety.These include:
- Punishing your dog as youre leaving or when youget home
- Getting another dog to keep your dog company
- Leaving the TV or radio on for background noise
While some of these actions just wont help, some can even make the situation worse. So, stick to the tips I recommend to see the best results.
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Keep Departures And Arrivals Low Key
Do not overly fuss your German Shepherd when leaving him. The purpose of separation anxiety training is for your dog to maintain as much calm as possible at all times. Making a big fuss about departures and arrivals detracts from this purpose. The same applies when you return, so wait a few minutes before petting him and showing him affection.
Why Is My German Shepherd So Attached To Me
Because she loves you.
A dog will redirect their anger or frustration to a person they have a lot of trust in not just because its safer for them, but also because they know that this would be better for them too. Theyre social creatures and instinctively want to be with the one providing their daily needs. Dogs bond almost immediately at birth and will sense when something is amiss if they are separated from the one who provides good care for them.
Her love of you doesnt mean shes smarter than other dogs all dogs are capable of feeling deep emotions including sadness, anger, joy, pain and empathy just like humans do.
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