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4 Signs Your Dog is Depressed & Solutions

Signs your dog is depressed

Dog Depression is Real, experts say.

Dogs are very emotionally varied animals experiencing a range of emotions as complex as a 2 or 3 year old child. Although, depression is not typical of a child, it is not uncommon among dogs. It could be a change of setting, or that you’ve moved into a new house that triggered it. Or it could be that the newest addition to the family, a baby perhaps, has changed the social dynamic of the family. You may notice that out of nowhere, your dog is suddenly acting strange, and perhaps a bit lazier than usual, or maybe even restless. All of these could be signs your dog is depressed. In fact, symptoms of depression in dogs are very similar to those in humans.

Here are a few signs of Dog Depression

Sudden Loss of Appetite

When dogs undergo a traumatic experience in their lives, a lot of times their reaction will be a sudden loss of appetite. They’ll lose interest in their food, or in their drinking water. However, I must add that it is important to not confuse dog depression with an actual ailment or disease. Other illnesses could also result in loss of appetite. Therefore I recommend that you take your dog to the veterinarian to correctly diagnose the issue. One way to quickly find out is by trying to peak your dog’s interest in food, by tempting them with something extremely flavorful to them, like chicken or beef broth. If suddenly, their appetite returns, then you know that they’re probably just acting out their depression by a lack of interest in their regular food.

Prolonged Sleeping & Lethargy

In this case, it is also very important to correctly diagnose the problem. As stated before, lethargy and extreme sleeping could be signs your dog is depressed, but are also common symptoms in serious dog illnesses. Lethargy, is often times accompanied by a loss of appetite, and loss of appetite continues to exacerbate the lethargy. Weakness from a lack of appetite begets the sleeping and lethargy. In this case it is important to ensure that your dog is eating well and drinking lots of fluids. Introducing flavorful foods, and adding a bit of chicken or beef broth to their water bowl, for example, may entice them to eat. Also, try doing things that you know your dog loves. Like going out for a car ride, or taking them out to a park. That can also trigger their thirst or hunger mechanism, and get them to snap out of their lethargy.


Indifference and lack of interest are both signs your dog is depressed. Both are a very unusual characteristic for dogs, who usually love to please their humans. Again, just like all the other symptoms on this article, indifference can be confused with lethargy, and vice versa. Lethargy is a common symptom with other more serious dog illnesses that need urgent diagnosis and treatment. I highly recommend that you consult a veterinarian if the symptom persists. Otherwise, indifference much like lethargy can be treated similarly. Entice your dog’s attention with their favorite treat or toy and get them to do something they love, or getting them excited to do something with you like playing fetch outside. The trick here is to get them to snap out of it.

Aversion, or Shyness

Sometimes dogs cope with loss, depression, or sadness much like a lot of us do. We curl up in our beds and sleep it off. If you notice that your dog is avoiding contact with you and is hiding in an unusual corner of house, you may want to first check with your vet to rule out any serious disease or injury. Otherwise, your dog may be acting out their depression by choosing to be alone while they cope. Again, here like in the other symptoms, you may want to treat them to something that you know they love. Entice them out of hiding by serving them their favorite treat, or by jingling your car keys signaling a car ride to the park. If your dog is avoiding a particular member of the family over others, then a more serious problem may be afoot.

Like in most situations, self diagnosing yourself is as dangerous as self diagnosing a member of your family. Simply put, don’t do it. If any of these symptoms persists, I implore you to seek a veterinary professional. These may all be signs your dog is depressed, but be aware that these symptoms are also shared with other serious illnesses.

If you would like to learn more about dog emotions, and behavior, I highly recommend this book:

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Free Homemade Dog Food Cookbook

Homemade Dog Food Cookbook

There’s a very good argument to be made against store bought dog food, especially in light of all the allegations and proven reports about the processing, and the overall quality of the ingredients that goes into the food we feed our furry little friends. Our dogs are part of our families, and we must ensure that we feed them the best possible food available to us. Download a copy of our Homemade Dog Food Cookbook, and get cooking today!

Click HERE To Get Your Free Cookbook

So, get out your apron, and crank up your oven. We’re going to address the issue the best way we know how. By cooking the food ourselves using our free homemade dog food cookbook, and hitting the dog food manufacturers where it hurts the most.

The best kinds of dog food are veterinarian formulated to provide our dogs with the best ingredients, nutrients and the exact minerals that they need to thrive. So be careful that you’re supplementing your dog correctly. Many recipes are lacking in iron, zinc, copper, and calcium. So the best step is starting off with a good recipe, one that balances all of these essential minerals. In addition to these essential minerals, you dog needs protein, fat, and carbs from animal meat, seafood, dairy or eggs, grains, and vegetables. Also, some recipes include calcium from egg shells.

Be especially cautious when swapping ingredients in the recipes. For instance using, canola oil, corn oil, vs. olive oil can completely change the nutrients available in the dog food. Additionally, adding scraps that contain onion, chocolate, avocado, grapes, garlic, and macadamia nuts can end in disaster, as these ingredients can be very toxic to dogs. Familiarize yourself with foods that are toxic to dogs.

Toxic Foods List

Your dogs, like humans benefit from a diverse diet. But whatever, it is you cook for your dog, make sure that you thoroughly research the nutritional content of the recipe, and supplement nutrients as necessary.





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How to: Train Dog to Pick up Toys

Train Dog to Pick up Toys

Are you someone that finds themselves spending ages cleaning away after your dog and putting their toys away? Dogs are just like kids in the way that they take out every toy they have and leave them all over the house to make a huge mess that someone has to clean up.

If you’re tired of cleaning up after your dog then why not get them to clean up after themselves? It’s good for both you and your dog because:

·         Cleaning expends energy

·         It makes him think which can also make him tired

·         It gives him something to do. If your dog won’t stop bothering you then get him to do something else by commanding him to pick up his toys.

It can be a little complicated to get your dog to do this, and it’s best if your dog is already good at fetching. If your dog isn’t much of a fetcher then teach him to pick up the toys first. This does make the process longer though. We’ll be assuming your dog is already good at fetching in this article.

What you Need
·         A box for the toys

·         Some of your dog’s favorite toys

·         A clicker

·         Treats

Train your Dog to Pick Up Toys

Step 1; Target the Box

Start by putting the box nearby because your dog is used to bringing things to you and then toss the toy. If your dog needs a cue to go fetch then use it, but there’s no real need to.

When your dog fetches the toy and starts to bring it back you need to point at the box. There’s no need for verbal cues just yet. If the dog takes the hint and puts the toy away then use the clicker or say “Good” and put some treats in the box to show the dog how important the box is.

If the dog fails to put the toy in the box then don’t say anything. Just throw the toy again and give it another go. This time you should place the box between yourself and the dog to give him a stronger hint the toy belongs in the box.

Step 2; Proofing

Now you need to ensure that the dog understands that they get a treat when the toy goes in the box. After he starts dropping the toy in the box at least 80% of the time you need to move the box a few inches away from you to test if he will still use the box.

If your dog still uses the box 80% of the time you can move the box a little further away. If not then just bring the box in a little because he wasn’t ready for the change just yet. Don’t forget to put the reward for your dog in the box!

Step 3; Picking Toys up off the Floor

After you’ve trained your dog to target the box you need to stop throwing the toy. Now you just leave the toy on the floor near the box. If you’ve done everything properly your dog should be able to tell he’ll get a reward if the toy goes in the box.

If he hasn’t gotten the message just yet then throw the toy a little bit to move him towards a stationary toy.

Step 4; Adding the Cue

After your dog is picking up and packing away stationary toys you’re ready to introduce a verbal command such as “clean up”, “clean house” or “pick up toys”. Of course you can use any verbal cue you want. Those are just some suggestions.

Step 5; Add More Toys

Your dog should be cleaning up on cue now so it’s time to add toys. Start out by giving your dog the cue and then rewarding him for cleaning up one toy. Then put out two toys and don’t reward him until he’s put both away. Your dog will likely look for something else that needs to be done in order to get that elusive reward. With luck he’ll be smart enough to realise he needs to put the other toy away; at which point you can reward him handsomely.

Keep adding toys one at a time. By the time your dog is cleaning up six or seven toys at once he should have grasped that he needs to pack away all of his toys before he can get his reward.

If your dog isn’t grasping picking up that second toy then put it closer to the box or throw it a little like you did when you first started training him. If you have a treat dispenser such as the AutoTrainer then you can put that in the box so that the training goes smoother.

The point is that the dog should enjoy performing this trick. You can take a little break if your dog begins to get frustrated. Give them a break before going back to the training. Keep in mind this is also an advanced trick that can take a few weeks to master. It’s definitely a good trick for your dog to know though and is a fun way to spend time with him when the weather is too bad to go outside.

For dog behavioral training this handy little tool will make it much, much easier. Designed on the principles of operant and classical conditioning, once you’ve started clicker training, you’ll never go back. I promise.

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How to: Be Dog Pack Leader

Be Dog Pack Leader

Be in Control – Assert yourself

Sometimes, the biggest problems with dog behavior stems from the dog’s owners themselves. Not knowing how to react in certain situations, and overreacting in others just piles on to the problem. Maintaining equanimity while you are training and interacting with your dog is key, if not mission critical, in establishing and maintaining a good working relationship.

It’s often easy to lose control of a situation and overreact and on the flip side, it’s even easier to spoil your dog rotten, letting them walk all over you, claim the furniture, get on your bed, beg for food, and eat whenever they feel like. And that’s all well and good, but when it comes down to correcting a bad behavior you dog must understand that you’re the boss. And in order for you to do that, you must assert yourself. It’s very easy when you’re training a puppy, as they haven’t had time to adjust themselves to you, but it becomes harder and harder (but not impossible) to do when they get older. So the earlier you can establish a dominant role, the better. Finally, giving your dog a proper place in the pack will give them comfort, and keep them from acting out.

Dogs who misbehave often do not know their place in the pack. It is your job to teach them.

Here are a few ways to establish a dominant role in the pack:

Treat Denial & Food Assertion

This is a very easy, and quick technique to supplement other strategies in establishing a dominant role in the pack. If you’re not already the Alpha in the pack, your dog likely believes that it can do anything it wants in the house, including accessing their toys, old bones, and food whenever it wants. The toys and bones are your, just like your house, the food, the furniture, and even the doggy bed. Reassert yourself by selectively denying and allowing access to her favorite toy, food, or bone. Letting them know that only you can give them access to those things, but only as a reward for the desired behavior.

For example:

Stance, Body Language, and Tone of Voice

This is and incredibly important technique, if not the most important. Dogs can read body language better than most other animals can. They can tell when you’re angry, anxious, upset, or happy simply by observing how you stand, walk and talk. As you assert your dominance over the pack, it is incredibly important to not make your dog anxious or nervous, but simply calm and collected.

Your new mantra should be: “I am in charge, and nothing will phase me”.

There’s no better opportunity than taking your dog out for a walk to reinforce your position as the pack leader with your dog. Walk them on a short leash, and if they try to lead, use the “Turn in Front” technique to reassert control. Always walk with a straight posture, confidently, and always look straight ahead. If your dog tries to go off course, or stops for a sniff, gently remind them who’s in charge. Pull them in the right direction, and don’t even bother looking down at them. Exude confidence in what you’re doing. And if you really believe it, your dog will follow suit.

Be Assertive, Not Aggressive

Also, never, ever talk to them in a high pitched voice, like you would a baby. This will show them weakness. When you talk to your dog, talk strongly, and confidently, and in an calm even tone.

If you’re interested in diving into the subject of Becoming the Pack Leader, then I highly recommend this book.

Finally, before you leave. Don’t forget to comment with your thoughts below.