If you just adopted a dog congratulations! Now that you have them home they need some time to get use to their new living arrangements and family. You will be training them and starting to build a long lasting bond with your new companion. Did you know that building a strong bond between you and your furkid helps reduce stress and will make for easier training. It will also make it easier for them to make new friends and allow love from your human friends. Dogs who are fearful can become aggressive and that’s never a good thing. Let’s set them up for success!
Creating a Foundation for a Calm Dog
Is your dog experiencing separation anxiety, fearful of you and anyone who walks in the door, or has kept to themselves longer than you thought they would after adopting them? If so, you are probably considering a behavior modification program but before you attempt to correct the behavior, you need to put into place a firm foundation. You might be thinking “What is that?” Here at Kings and Queens Pet Sitting, we read about the Firm Foundation Program in Nicole Wilde’s book “Don’t Leave Me – Step-by-Step Help for your Dog’s Separation Anxiety!” Read on to get an idea of what it’s all about.
In Nicole Wilde’s book, she discusses the Four Pillars of the Firm Foundation Program. The pillars are: management, nutrition, exercise, and confidence. With these four pillars, you will have a strong base to implement a behavior modification program.
Management – As you begin to build the firm foundation, you will need to minimize the time that Fido is left alone.
- Bring your dog with you when you hang out with friends.
- Arrange play dates with dog-friendly dogs.
- When you’re at work, leave Fido home with another family member or hire a pet sitter to spend time with your dog. A pet sitter is trained to deal with separation anxiety issues and can help you implement your plan!
- When you leave Fido alone in the initial stages, make your time away brief.
- Consider leaving background music or a recording of “sounds of home” while you’re gone.
Nutrition – Research a healthier Diet! You will notice a difference.
- Read labels. Avoid sugars, chemicals and preservatives as these contribute to nervousness.
- Avoid corn and chicken by-products and artificial colors and flavorings.
- Supermarket brands are lower in quality. Spend more now, save on vet bills later.
- Look for a food that has a whole meat source as the first ingredient listed on the label. Be careful of too much protein. Sometimes the pets body has a hard time breaking the protein down and digesting it.
- Consider going raw but do your research first. Supplements will need to be added to balance the diet out. Meat should be free of hormones and antibiotics.
- Cooking your dog’s meals is healthy as long as you keep the diet balanced just as you would in the raw diet.
Exercise – Exercise relieves stress, anxiety and boredom.
- Long walks, running, climbing, hiking, playing in the yard.
- Give your dog a job! It can be as simple as putting a backpack on him during a walk.
- Play dates with other dogs. Just make sure your dog follows commands, especially if you are considering a dog park.
- Chew toys
- Interactive toys
- Treat dispensers
Confidence – A confident dog is less stressed and fearful. Consider some of the following when implementing your plan to instill confidence in your dog.
- Be a strong leader.
- Use gentle training and reward expected behaviors.
- Harsh training will result in the opposite of what you desire.
- Use plenty of praise and rewards.
- Start small and build towards your desired behavior.
- Agility and other dog sports build confidence.
For more about the Firm Foundation Program, read Nicole Wilde’s book “Don’t Leave Me! A Step-by-Step Help for Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety.” Call us at Kings and Queens Pet Sitting. We can help you implement your techniques and create a calm enjoyable experience while you are away.