An Overly-Loyal Australian Shepherd, a Neuroic Beagle, and a Car-Fearing Italian Mastiff
Season 3 | Episode 15 | Joe, Penny, and Promise
An Australian shepherd is so devoted to his owner he breaks leashes to be with her; a neurotic beagle makes trouble for a pack of foster dogs; and an Italian mastiff puppy fears riding in cars. Can Cesar help this troubled trio?
The Stubborn Mastiff
To help Promise overcome her fear of cars, I tried a different technique than the one I used for Kane the Great Dane’s shiny floor-phobia from Season One.
She didn’t seem to have a physical fear of vehicles. When I challeged her to jump into our Dog Whisperer production RV, she not only willingly complied, she relished the challenge!
I wanted to get her into that same excited, playful mood when it came to getting into her owners’ car. And once I realized the problem was all psychological, I took it from there, using the environment around us to work Promise through this problem. You’ll see how on tonight’s episode.
Remember, you only get what you want from a dog when she is willing to do something. If at first she’s not getting it, don’t punish her; calmly redirect that energy. This is why I always say the only “training tool” you need is your calm-assertive energy. You just need to keep your eyes–and your mind–open.
City dogs are faced with constant stimulation from a plethora of unique scents, dizzying sounds, and things whizzing by them—often at high speeds! Because this is far more stimulus than their natural environment could create, this sensory overload can cause a dog stress.
Now stress is not good for a dog, no matter where they live. But I try to emphasize to my city clients that they try and get their dog out of the urban environment at least a few days a week. This doesn’t mean you have to pack up and head to the country. Leash up and head to the nearest park or trail. If you think about it, almost every city has a quiet hideaway: New York City has Central Park, Los Angeles has Griffith Park (not to mention tons of canyon paths), Atlanta has beautiful Piedmont Park, etc. The idea is to get the dog closer to nature, release pent-up energy, and reduce stress.
Separation anxiety not only occurs when an insecure, high-energy, or anxious dog is left behind at home, but also, as in the case of Debbie and Joe’s “baseball dog,” at close range.
The truth is, it’s in dogs’ nature to be with its pack 24 hours a day. But in order for them to live with us, they have to learn to become somewhat independent, and this can create anxiety.
Your dog must learn that you can be in the same room, but you are doing something else and he is doing something else. If you give the dog attention all the time, he learns to become addicted to it. You open a door and he’s right there. You go to the restroom and he’s right there. He becomes your shadow.
Anxiety comes from a lack of being challenged and not being able to understand detachment. When you exercise your dog and he reaches his limitation, he’ll naturally go into resting mode. He’ll stop following you simply because he’s tired.