By Sherri Romig CPDT-KA
Band-aids are great to use in combination with a behavior modification plan. They can help give some immediate relief and make the training program go more smoothly. Remember that band-aids are just that: a temporary cover that we can use while we heal the problem from the inside. The actual healing can be done only with an effective behavior modification plan. Band-aids cover up the symptoms, and those symptoms will return full-force as soon as the band-aid is removed unless you address the underlying cause of the dog’s issues first.
Thundershirt Anxiety Wrap – Thundershirt is a pressure wrap. It is just like when we swaddle a crying baby by wrapping him tightly in blankets to soothe and quiet him. Thundershirts soothe and quiet dogs in the same manner. I have used Thundershirt for a variety of different conditions with amazing results, including:
Shy and nervous dogs
Hyper, distracted, or unfocused dogs
Fear of thunderstorms or fireworks
Thundershirt typically takes about 15 mins to have a noticeable effect, and can be purchased at Tails of Success.
DAP Diffuser (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) – DAP diffuses a pheromone that mimics those secreted in mother’s milk and has a calming and comforting effect on most dogs. It is completely odorless to humans, and must be refilled every 4-6 weeks. DAP also comes in a plug-in, spray and collar form. This is available at Tails of Success and most vet offices and pet stores.
Bach Flower Remedies – Bach flowers help to gently clear away the negative emotions of our dogs to help them feel better. These drops can be added to a dog’s food or drinking water, or massaged into the flap of their ears (typical dosage is 4 drops 4x daily), and have a subtle, long-term effect. Options for using Bach flowers:
1. Rescue Remedy – Rescue Remedy is a great place to start if you are unfamiliar with flower essences and is used for a variety of problems. RR can be purchased at Wegman’s for about $10.
2. Custom Formulas – Because every dog is completely individual, pre-formulated remedies may not offer precisely what your dog needs. A custom remedy is specially formulated based specifically on your dog’s personality and needs, and is often the best option. Creating custom remedies is a service offered by Tails of Success.
Chamomile Tea – Pouring Chamomile tea over your dog’s food can help reduce anxiety, irritability, and aggression. It has the added benefits of being an anti-inflammatory and carminative (aids digestion and relieves gas) and is gentle enough even for newborn babies. This can be used daily with no worries.
Valerian – Valerian is another herb for tension, anxiety and aggression. Sprinkle a bit of whole root powder (do not use standardized) over your dog’s food. Valerian is also a great pain-reliever and good for upset tummies. Use cyclically after the first 30 days. Nature’s Way capsules (green cap!) can be purchased at Wegmans.
Lavender Essential Oil – Lavender has a gentle, calming effect. Add a few drops of oil to bedding or a cotton ball in an area your dog frequently sleeps. Lavender can also be used topically to help with itching or bug bites.
Through a Dog’s Ear CD – Gentle, relaxing music bioacoustically engineered to help calm dogs with soothing vibrations. There are several varieties and they can purchased at Tails of Success.
Lactium – Lactium is a milk protein isolate that works with the dog’s brain chemistry to help calm the dog and decrease their tension and anxiety. Dosage is 15-50 mg/kg. Order Swanson Vitamins Women’s Anti-stress Formula online. Also available at Tails of Success.
L-Theanine and L-Tryptophan – Other amino acids to try that will gently regulate the dog’s brain chemistry. Theanine – 5mg/kg, Tryptophan – 15mg/kg. Also available at Tails of Success and Swanson Vitamins.
Tellington Touch – TTouch is a relaxing, focused way of petting your dog. Rest one hand gently on one side of your dog, and use the fingers of your other hand to make slow circles (rest the heel of your hand on your dog for stabilization). Use just enough pressure to move the dog’s skin with your fingertips (rather than deep pressure or just sliding your fingers over the dog’s skin). Each circle should actually be 1¼ circles, or from 6 o’clock all the way around again to 8 o’clock. Do one rotation, then move your hand to a new spot and circle again. Continue this process all over your dog’s body.