We are pleased to be co-hosting the 4th WOOF blog hop along with Oz the Terrier. WOOF (Working Out Our Fears) Support is where reactive dogs and their owners can come together to share similar experiences. Are you a reactive and/or fearful dog or its owner? Then please join us and share your story. The Blog Hop is open through Sunday.
What I’ve learned with Cricket’s issues and also from reading all the other informative posts from our blog hops, is that working with a reactive or fearful dog may always be a Work In Progress….they probably won’t ever be completely “cured”, and there can often be setbacks. Every bit of progress we make is to be celebrated, and we’ll probably be working with a lot of different tools along the way; some might work, some might not.
We currently have three tools I’m using right now with Cricket:
- Continued “watch me” training.
- Taking her favorite toy (a ball) on walks with us as a distraction.
- The Anxiety Wrap
“Watch me”. I’ve been doing better at remembering to take treats with me on walks. We periodically stop and I call Cricket to me, say “watch me” and give her a treat when she makes eye contact. She’s been doing very well with this, and will often come and look right at me without even hearing the command (though she may be hearing the rustle of the treat bag too!). I think these periodic stops break up her intensity at walking a bit. She’s been somewhat up and down….on some walks she seems much more relaxed, but on others she’s plowing forward with her usual intensity.
“Her favorite toy”. We’ve only tried this once so far (we don’t take daily walks like others do, fetch is our dogs’ main form of exercise…it’s their favorite and we have a great yard for it. Plus our weather has been cold and rainy). The ball really did distract her, and she seemed pleased to have the job of carrying it. The only thing I did notice was that she did seem a bit intense about that…..and I’m trying to get her to relax more. But I do think the ball could be a very good distraction when we meet other dogs. At the least, I’d know she couldn’t bite them if she had the ball in her mouth!
“The Anxiety Wrap”. We were offered this product at no charge to try. Let me tell you a bit more about it: The Anxiety Wrap was designed to treat many issues such as fear of thunderstorms and other noise phobias (Cricket is fearful of storms and fireworks), separation anxiety, car travel anxiety (Cricket has this also), and unwanted jumping and hyperactivity. It works by calming the dog through pressure and acupressure. It gives a calming, hug-like effect that activates and maintains key pressure points that enables pets to relax.
From a press release we received: “According to Dr. Roger Mugford, Pet Psychologist and Founder of The Company of Animals, “Fear and anxiety are at the root of many canine behavioral problems.” Unaddressed, these fears can result in aggressiveness, leash pulling, separation anxiety, excessive barking, and hyperactivity. “We’ve been using and recommending the Anxiety Wrap in The Company of Animals’ own British Behaviour Centre for Years” continues Mugford.”
“A recently published Tufts University Clinical Research Study, titled “The Effectiveness of Anxiety Wrap in the Treatment of Canine Thunderstorm Phobia: An Open-Label Trial” even deemed the product 89 percent effective!” So you can see why I was pleased to get this offer and the chance to give the product a try.
I don’t have any results for you yet…..we are in the beginning stages of getting Cricket used to wearing it. She dislikes having anything put on her, so we are gradually trying it. They suggest that you may only need one introductory session in which you should put it on and not interact with the dog while they get used to it. We did 20 minutes the first time and 25 the second. She initially stood stock still with it on, and then wanted to go outside to roll on the ground, which I let her do (what’s a little grass and dirt…it’s already covered with fur anyway). The second time after I let her do that, she then came in the house and laid down for a nap. So she’s adjusting to it, and I hope to try it on a car ride soon, our first step.
It does fit very snugly, but it is made of a lightweight and breathable fabric. I like how there are openings for their front legs to go through, compared to some other similar products I feel like it does fit just a bit more snugly. The rear leg “calming straps” are optional and removable, and are supposed to help release tension in their hindquarters. I found it much easier to put on the second time I used it, since I think it had stretched and loosened up a bit, and it really does fit her perfectly (it comes in 11 sizes).
I will share more on the Anxiety Wrap in future posts, but I wanted to let anyone know about it that might be interested in trying it. The price is $39.95 and you can find out more about it through their parent company’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and there are other available calming products at The Company of Animals.us.
*Disclaimer: We received a complimentary Anxiety Wrap to try and were in no other way compensated. Wag ‘n Woof Pets only shares products we think will be of interest to our readers, and we are honest in our reviews.*
Be sure to visit Oz the Terrier through the link below this week…he and his Mom Gina have some exciting news to share!