Natural Dog Training in New York City

Natural Dog Training in New York City
Featuring All 100+ Articles Lee Charles Kelley Wrote About Dogs for from 4/09 to 2/13, Plus New Articles Written in the Same Vein!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hurricane Sandy & Post-Traumatic Stress in Dogs

How to Help Your Dog Cope With a Natural Disaster
Originally published in slightly different form on November 1, 2012 at

Dogs are emotional animals. They also have the capacity to feel what we feel. So imagine the effects that even a tiny fraction of the shock and distress felt by more than 50 million people during the last 4 or 5 days here in the Northeast has had on the canine population. It’s no wonder that everywhere I go I get reports of dogs that are showing signs of anxiety and stress. And even when they’re not showing signs, it may be because—like most everyone else—they’re still in a state of shock.

How can you help your dog cope in the aftermath of a natural disaster?

There are 7 things that I think are vitally important.

1) Dogs love predictable patterns. So as much as possible try to stick to your normal daily routines with your dog.

2) Play is the ultimate stress-reducer for dogs. So try to give your dog plenty of playtime every day. I would even try to double the dog’s normal amount of play.

3) Research shows that taking walks in a natural setting like a park or a nature preserve reduces stress and anxiety, and has an overall calming effect. So take your dog on long walks in as natural a setting as possible. Just make sure to walk through open, grassy spaces and don’t walk near or under trees (to avoid falling branches).

4) Dogs like physical affection, but at times like this people can overdo it; they use their dogs as a security blanket, downloading their stress into the dog. So while it’s okay to give your dog physical affection please don’t overdo it.

5) If your dog misbehaves don’t reprimand, punish or correct her. The misbehavior is probably nothing more than an attempt to reduce her feelings of stress. Instead, try praising her, then redirecting her into another, more acceptable behavior.

6) Because they’re predators at heart, dogs store a lot of tension and stress in their teeth and jaws. Try to have plenty of chew toys, bully sticks, flossies, etc., available.

7) Dogs live totally in the now moment. When you start feeling stressed and worried about the future, take some time to just be in the moment with your dog. And try to think about and remember all the love and trust and affection your dog has for you.

Remember, the best time to deal with post-traumatic stress is now. The longer you wait, the harder it is to undo the damage.

I hope this helps. If you have your own ideas, please post them here!

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