My name is Abbie and this is my 4 year old Miniature Schnauzer Teddy who I have had since he was 8 weeks old. Once you get to know Teddy he is an extremely affectionate little man and loves nothing more than being chased. He lives alongside his Cockapoo brother, Alfie. They get on like a house on fire and will play for hours! I am actually the Product Manager for Adaptil and Feliway which is why I am extremely passionate about Pet Anxiety and helping others. I live with an anxious dog every day and so want to get the message out as far and wide as possible.
your pet mean to you?
My dogs mean everything to me, they are my fluffy sons! Having a nervous dog means that you become even more protective of them to ensure he is never put into a situation which he may find uncomfortable.
How does your pet show they are anxious?
Teddy actually began showing his anxieties when he was really young, he used to have a very high pitch scream. As he got older the screaming disappeared and then he became what I assumed was a Schnauzer (as they are known as being loud). However it started to become really apparent that he was actually worried by people. Before I learnt more on this topic I used to think the woofing was the first sign of anxiety, but now he will begin with licking of the lips or yawning and then he would shake his body to release the stress. These are much more subtle signs, but they give me an opportunity to take control of the situation before it becomes too much. A behaviorist described this as ‘whispering’…you want to take control of the situation while they are whispering and not waiting until they are ‘shouting’.
How do these anxieties make you feel as a pet owner?
Tackling Teddy’s anxieties has not been easy, we have had to make some real life adjustments. With Ted being nervous of new people having anyone round to the house is not a simple task (although we are getting better). What I have found most difficult is adjusting to how we can make Ted the most comfortable, I would love nothing more to pop him in the car and take him everywhere I go but we have to be considerate about how he feels and take small steps.
What would it mean to you to help your pet cope with these issues?
Helping Ted overcome his fears is the best feeling! When we achieve something (which can appear small to others) it can really affect our day-to day life. If we continue making many of his worries, positive then over time he will feel so much happier in himself and this is all we want to achieve.
Why is it important to highlight these issues to other pet owners?
So important!!! What I believe is important is making the right decision very early on – way back to choosing the right breed. With Ted being genetically nervous PLUS being a Schnauzer it means that these combined can show his anxieties very differently to what another breed would. It is in his nature to be protective.
What products do you use to help your pet?
We could NOT LIVE WITHOUT the Adaptil on-the-go collar – with Teds anxieties being everywhere, having the collar on I know he is getting the additional support everywhere. With the collar I know that he is feeling as naturally happy as possible, even with his fears.
Do you have any top tips for others facing anxiety challenges with their pet?
Do not give up! We have had many setbacks in our training and there are days when you think this will never get easier. But if you persist one day you will have that break thorough. Also, spend time looking for the best behaviorist for you and your pet, look at the qualifications, The APBC is the ideal start for this search.
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