Set the Energetic Tone for Your Pack: Excerpt from my book Calm Your Paws
Your Energy Sets the Tone for Your Pack: Behavior Modification for Separation Anxiety and Trauma Drama
Studies show that the most effective treatment of separation-related anxiety is a combination of properly dosed anxiety reducing medication and systematic desensitization and counterconditioning.
Sounds a little complicated? Don't let the big words deter you. A few simple changes can make a huge difference to to you and your anxious dog.
Read on for a step by step guide.
Lets break it down...
Desensitization, counter conditioning, and pack dynamics are your foundations for success.
In practice, desensitization involves initially leaving the dog for very short times, returning almost immediately, and gradually increasing the length of your absences.
Counter conditioning the is act of rewarding the behavior you want, and ignoring the behavior you don’t want.
Your energy sets the tone for your pack.
One of the most important components in modifying separation anxiety is adjusting your personal energy to reflect the energy you want your dog to display. Remember. You are the pack leader.
Whatever display of emotions you may have had in the past when seeing your dog or leaving your dog, it is important to now act calm, confident, and neutral. That is what you would like for your dog to feel when you are gone!
1: Studies show a calming supplement increases your chances of success. Many animal guardians are choosing non-pharmaceutical alternatives like cannabidiol (CBD).
If you choose to use a calming supplement such as the Cannimal Relax Formula, make sure you do your homework beforehand. Take the time to find the perfect dose for your dog using the blueprint found in the Cannimal dosing protocol. Keep in mind you should be administering the supplement 30 minutes before you plan to leave your dog alone.
Studies show that similar to SSRIs (drugs often prescribed to dogs for separation anxiety -like Fluoxetine- that block the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin in the brain, making more serotonin available) CBD may boost signaling through serotonin receptors. In an animal study, Spanish researchers found that CBD enhances 5-HT1A transmission and may affect serotonin faster than SSRIs.
2: Exude calm, confident leadership. We will talk more about how this in the chapter Your Place in the Pack
3: Leave a small amount of your dog’s very favorite food in a place that is considered safe for your dog- crate or place you often see your dog “settle.”
4: Calmly let your dog know you are leaving, and then leave immediately with no big good byes or fanfare.
When you leave your dog, use the power of visualization to set the tone and intention for your interaction by imagining your dog eating the treat, then calmly and quietly awaiting your return.
Instead of dreading his/her reaction, let him know with your words, thoughts, and intention that you expect a calm response.
5: Once you are out of your dog’s sight and smell, watch your dog on a remote cam/video. Stay calm and grounded. Watch your dog eat. Don’t re-enter the house until the dog begins to worry about where you are. Don’t wait too long as it might exacerbate your dog’s anxiety more!
6: Upon re-entering the house again exude calm, confident leadership.
Don’t talk to your dog (the food was enough of a reward for his good behavior while you were “away”). If your dog jumps on your or wants to jump in your lap, be neutral and calm. Don’t pet him excitedly, talk excitedly to him or get excited in any way. Just be calm and neutral. Neither overjoyed nor resentful. Negative reinforcement such as scolding will not be effective in treating separation anxiety- if anything it will simply escalate your animal's anxiety.
Again, stay neutral. Refrain from both punishing or rewarding needy behavior.
7: When attempting to modify a behavior it is important to engage in the conditioning exercises regularly and consistently. As you continue day by day, gradually increase the length of the absences.
In some ways it may sound like you are having to act as a robot, but remember, there are other times in the course of the day to reward your dog with play, fun, loving and affection.
This step by step protocol may seem extremely simple, but scientific studies show it works. Particularly when used with anxiety reducing medication.
Desensitization, supplementation, and counter conditioning is used to treat separation anxiety as well as trauma related anxiety such as environmental or situation specific trauma such as dogs who are abused or terrified of driving in cars.
Read success stories from happy customers below:
“Cannimal’s RELAX Formula helps our Cairn terrier Jengo rest easier when we leave town and he has to stay home w our pet sitter or go to the doggie hotel. He is not a high stress dog, but he tends to get more anxious when we leave, going to the front door looking for us or wandering around the house wondering if we might magically appear!? Just 1-2 pumps of the Relax Formula and our pet sitter says he is calmer, more at ease and able to rest easier while we are gone! So glad we found Cannimal!” -Mike
"Lola has had separation anxiety for pretty much her entire life, she would bark for a maybe a min or 2 and then it would subside - knowing she had a buddy there. Now that her dogpal Mowgli is gone, it was “double” separation anxiety for her and I felt terrible. Cannimals RELAX Formula has legitimately changed her life. She is relaxed while we are at work!! Your product is amazing and we fully intend on re-ordering when we run out!" - Lindsey
“I recently started using Cannimal Relax Formula for my two dogs Mayzi and Henry. Henry is an anxious dog who gets stressed out and over stimulated very easily and I started him on the Relax. It’s been so incredible to see the change! Henry has been noticeably more relaxed in stressful situations. I couldn’t be happier with the success I’ve seen and I’m sure they feel the same! Thank you so much Cannimal for this incredible product!” -@delraydogmom
“I adopted Tippy six years ago from a shelter when she was just four years old. As the years progressed, I noticed that she had growing anxiety. She was so stressed that she would constantly lick or sit with a tennis ball in her mouth for hours on end. I tried many at-home remedies and eventually I asked three different veterinarians if there was anything I could do for her. They didn't seem to take me seriously. I did some research on my own and found Cannimal. I received my first shipment of the "Relax" formula back in July and noticed a change in Tippy after only a few days. She seems much less stressed and isn't constantly on edge. She's like a new dog! I feel so much relief knowing I found something that improves her overall quality of life. Thanks so much Cannimal! -Shannon
“It’s miraculous! For the first time in the year he has been with us, little Khan is FINALLY out of fight or flight mode! This is huge! He loves the taste and we love the product! Thank you also for the insanely fast shipping! Customers for life!
“Our girl Caspian is often afraid of thunderstorms and loud sounds. She used to run and hide, knock things off tables or even get in the bathtub! We give her Cannimal’s RELAX Formula and we definitely see a huge difference in her anxiety. She settles down and rests much easier now! Thank you so much!” ~ Elise
I use Cannimal for my kitty cat every day. Lunebear uses the Cannimal Relax formula and I loooove the way it soothes him. He’s alert, just chill and seems more content and comfortable. And... one bottle lasts a long time even when he’s using it multiple times a day!! Thank you Cannimal!!💜 -@janetnicksic
We got the Relax for our rescue dog Lil Bear as he was always wanting to move, never relaxing, digging holes, tearing anything and everything up even with walks each day he just never was calm, camping was not fun either with his anxiety he would bark at every little noise and was scared of other people. Within days of Relax he was calm and more confident, he wouldn’t just bark at the littlest noise (night time is awesome). And he also now does not have to be on medicine to calm his nerves.. I am a firm believer in the product and thankful it is there for my fur babies! Thanks so much!" -Kari @pika.trainer