TIP #1: WORK AT YOUR DOG'S LEVEL
If your outing was not as enjoyable or successful as you would like, spend some time at home working on the cues your dog struggled with. Then pick an easier outing, such as a café during the afternoon lull instead of the morning rush. Bring tastier treats and go before your dog’s mealtime, not after.
TIP #2: PHARMACOLOGICAL INTERVENTION
"I'm not going to put my dog on drugs!"
"I don't want my dog to be a zombie!"
I have heard these types of comments over the years from owners of dogs with major behavior issues. The sad part is that as much as those folks loved their dogs and thought they were protecting them by avoiding drugs, the dogs were suffering greatly, and could have been greatly aided by pharmacological intervention. Now, I'm the last person to cavalierly suggest that a dog needs to be on drugs; it's not the right solution for every individual, and there are potential side effects with any type of medication. But the side effects of chronic, severe emotional distress must also be considered. Just as with people, constant or even frequent anxiety can cause all manner of physical ills. Dogs can become afflicted with gastric ulcers, atrophy of the lymphatic glands, and even suppression of the immune system, which in turn opens the door for illness and disease.
That said, a course of drug therapy, as helpful as it may be, is not likely to solve your dog's behavior issues on its own. Drugs are meant to be used in conjunction with a behavior modification program, not as an alternative to it.
- excerpted from Nicole Wilde's Don't Leave Me!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI