Did you know dogs suffer from anxiety too? Anxiety affects many dog breeds and can cause serious behavioral problems in Yorkshire Terriers.
Just like in humans, dogs have to cope with nerve-wracking circumstances. The exhibition of fear in dogs is reflected in their unruly behavior.
Unfortunately, your four-legged buddy can’t verbally express fear or anxiety.
When a Yorkshire Terriers is feeling anxious, he may start withdrawing from routine activities.
One of the prime causes of anxiety in dogs is fear. Luckily, there are a few steps to treat anxiety in Yorkies.
What Causes Anxiety in Yorkies
There are several causes of dog anxiety, including:
Separation Anxiety in Yorkies
Separation anxiety is one of the most common forms of anxiety in Yorkshire Terriers. It affects about 14 percent of all dogs.
Yorkies feel a sense of extreme discomfort when left alone or separated from their loved humans.
As a result, they might start to show such destructive anxiety symptoms as defecating or urinating in non-permitted places in the house, excessive barking (learn how to control barking with our owner tested tips), destructive chewing, dilated pupils, panic attacks, and pacing for hours.
There may also be attempts to escape from home, or whining in a high-pitched voice, destroying furniture.
How To Treat Separation Anxiety in Yorkies
Treatment for separation anxiety holds the key to keeping your pet healthy, calm, and happy and making your dog’s life better.
Some pet parents might mistake symptoms of separation anxiety as disobedience or destructive behavior.
Some Symptoms of Separation Anxiety
- Excessive Barking
- Urinating/Defecating in places within the home
- Destructive chewing
- Panic attacks
- Dilated pupils
- Hours of pacing
Some Yorkies may show these signs even before the owner leaves the house; anticipation of being left alone can cause the dog to become upset.
Causes of separation anxiety in Yorkshire Terriers include a change in surroundings, lack of training (these are our top posts on how to train your puppy or adult Yorkie), changes in pet parents, neglect, hereditary behavior, new socialization patterns, the death of a pet friend, or simply boredom.
Separation anxiety treatment focuses on behavioral changes to help your Yorkie learn that being alone is not at all scary.
The idea is to break your pet’s association of these signals with separation. Try to distract your pooch’s attention by offering him a toy or treat when you leave.
Also, teach your pooch not to associate separation with nervous feelings. Avoid petting him as soon as you are back.
Here are some additional tips on establishing an environment to help your Yorkie cope with you being gone for long periods of time.
- Create a special space or den. It can be a small room, with space to freely move about. Some owners opt for a doggie playpen.
- Make sure the area is warm and comfortable, away from air conditioning blowing cold air on the dog.
- Keep the light on when you leave. That way, your dog will not have to be alone in a dark room, when you return late in the day or the sky gets darker outside.
- Leave a television or radio on with some calming music. Programs on TV with animals or dogs are shown to interest dogs; some are avid TV watchers.
Some studies have shown that programs with animals are more interesting to the dog than programs of just people.
Also, choose not to bid him good-bye when you leave. This will help create positive associations with separation from you.
Have the following items in his area:
- Toys – chew toys are helpful. You may have special toys that your dog can have only when alone.
- Food and water
- Canine bed – this should be of high quality with good cushioning
- Pee pads – you can place them in a corner of the area
- Companion toy – a stuffed animal helps relieve being alone and adds a comforting friend; you can find great ones that are meant for canines to snuggle.
Fear-Related Anxiety in Yorkies
Fear-related anxiety in dogs is often caused by loud noises. Sometimes a dog might experience anxiety from fear due to new people, animals, or the environment.
Fear from a terrible experience is one of the prime reasons for fear-related anxiety in Yorkshire Terriers.
It might result from an unfamiliar or frightening experience.
Some of the symptoms of mild fear may include hiding, trembling, tucked tail, withdrawal, limited activity, and passive escape behavior.
Some experience panic signs, including potentially injurious motor activity and active escape behavior.
If a dog is deprived of social and environmental exposure until he turns a 14 week old, he may turn out to be extremely fearful for the lifetime.
Phobia or panic attacks may set in for a dog with a history of inability to get away from such situations.
For example, it may be due to a dog not being able to escape from a crate for a long time.
Some causes of fear-related anxiety in Yorkshire Terriers include aging effects due to nervous system changes.
It may be caused due to an infectious disease triggered by a viral infection or toxicity. This may cause behavioral problems, resulting in anxiety, fear, and phobia.
Yorkshire Terrier Anxiety Treatment
- Behavior modification holds the key to treating fear-related anxiety in Yorkies.
- As a pet parent, your responsibility is to teach your pet to relax in different environmental settings. You may want to avoid reassuring your Yorkie when he is showing signs of fear or panic. You do not want your pooch to wrongly interpret this as a reward for his anxious behavior.
- Of course, it is important to make your pet feel calm, but that does not mean you should try to reinforce the fear reaction. Remember, there is absolutely no place for punishment in the treatment of anxiety in Yorkies.
- Desensitization and counter-conditioning can help alleviate fear, phobia, or anxiety in dogs. The idea is to ease the dog’s reaction to a particular stimulus. In desensitization, your focus is on giving repeated yet controlled exposure to the stimulus that triggers anxiety in your pet. This will help your Yorkie get used to the stimulus. As a result, he will not respond with undesirable behavior. Counter-conditioning is the process in which you encourage positive behavior in your furry pal.
Aging-Related Anxiety in Yorkies
Sudden behavioral changes in dogs may be caused due to aging.
These anxiety symptoms may indicate that the dog is suffering from some kind of health issues; by recognizing the symptoms early of common health issues that affect Yorkies you might save their life.
Uncharacteristic aggression may be one of the age-related anxiety symptoms in Yorkshire Terriers.
Any changes in movement behavior may indicate joint problems.
If a Yorkie shows changes in elimination patterns, it might be due to digestive, kidney, hormonal issues.
Sometimes metabolic changes might trigger elimination pattern changes.
This form of anxiety affects older Yorkshire Terriers and is often associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome.
Dogs suffering from CDS probably show signs of compromised cognitive functioning, loss of memory and perception, similar to the Alzheimer’s symptoms in humans. It may lead to anxiety in senior dogs.
A normally gentle dog may turn aggressive with age due to physical changes, such as
- reaction to specific drugs
- loss of hearing
- loss of vision (read our list of 5 common eye problems in Yorkshire Terriers)
- dental problems
- painful joints
- nervous system disorders
- cognitive dysfunction
If your aging dog is showing signs of anxiety, fear, or uncharacteristic aggression, take him to the vet for a clear diagnosis.
Any form of illness or painful condition only adds to the anxiety symptoms in a dog. It may further set a chain reaction of anxiety, fear, and phobia.
As a dog owner, you are always looking for dog anxiety treatment options.
How To Treat Anxiety in Yorkies
Feeling a little overwhelmed is normal when your best friend is suffering from anxiety.
Because your dog is in distress, the feeling of failure as a pet parent might set in. But this is farther from the truth.
Anxiety is a common problem in pets. Here are a few ways to treat anxiety in Yorkies:
- Stop rewarding anxiety
- Forget about punishing an anxious dog
- Reward acceptable behavior
- Dilute the fear stimulus
- Reward his lack of reaction
- Focus on basic training
- Keep calm
- Establish a fixed routine
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