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  • Whining, clinging dogs that act nervous are, at best, a bit of a nuisance to their owners. At worst, the anxiety can develop into behaviors such as excessive barking or destruction when left alone. When your dog’s anxiety level goes up, cortisol is produced and has the same detrimental side effects that stress produces in humans.

    • Give your dog physical exercise

    Commit to an hour each day. Throwing a ball, taking a walk, obedience practice, running from the bed to the couch, playing with another dog – they all add up!

    • Give your dog mental exercise

    Put his daily food ration into treat-dispensing toys, hide biscuits around the house, wrap his favorite toy in a cardboard box, practice some obedience commands or fun tricks;attend a dog agility, flyball or obedience class.

    • Do not reward nervous behavior

    When your dog whines do not look at him. When your dog is clingy, do not pet him. Instead, give him your affection when he has momentarily calmed down.

    • Set an example for your dog

    When you walk in the front door don’t fuss over your dog in a high-pitched, excited voice. If you want calm, then remain calm. If your dog jumps on you then turn your body and attention away from him until he settles.

    If your dog gets excited about seeing another dog while you are on a walk simply stand still and ignore your dog. When he settles praise him.

    If your dog paces when you grab your car keys then pick up and set down your car keys throughout the day. Don’t look at him, don’t talk to him. When he settles, praise him.

    If your dog whines when you leave him alone then incrementally work up to more time left alone. Walk outside then come right back in. Repeat. Then add five seconds. Repeat. Add 10 seconds and so on.

    See your veterinarian and consult a professional trainer if your dog has excessive anxiety that does not respond to these tips.

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