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Kelpie puppy


A dog's brain, in some ways, isn't much different to ours! They can experience anxiety and worry just like we can. We have words to communicate, but dogs use their entire body to communicate anxiety and worry. Learning how to read your dog's body language to communicate will help you to meet the needs of your pup and build resilience during an important time in their development.  

Kelpie puppy


It's important to take into account the context and environment in which these behaviours may be exhibited:


  • Panting in the absence of exercise or heat

  • Shedding fur

  • urination (fear or excitation)

  • Diarrhoea

  • Lip licking in abscence of meal or drink

  • Sneezing in absence of allergy

  • Trembling in absence of cool temperatures

  • Clammy/sweaty paws

  • Hyper salivation and saliva with a sticky texture

  • Pacing, digeting, hypervigilance

  • Yawning despite a normal sleep routine

  • Head turning, avoiding eye contact

  • Slowly blinking as though tired

  • Body shaking in absence of being wet

  • Moving in slow motion

  • Freezing

  • Dilated pupils in absence of darkness

  • Unfocused/not responding to cues during training or on walks

  • Distracted

  • Ignores or is disinterested in high value treats


It's important to understand normal worry e.g 'I really want that treat' vs. excessive or abnormal worry e.g. 'My owner will never come home'. Teaching our pups that they don't need to worry can largely be demonstrated through setting clear expectations through routine and obedience training. e.g. we expect them to perform a certain command before we provide the treat and we show them that we always return to them through the 'stay' command. We can build on this gradually by leaving pups in their crate and pen for increasing durations of time when we are home, and progress to leaving them alone when we are out of the home. They begin to understand that we always return, and they don't need to worry!


The key is building this up over time. If we leave pups for 4-5 hrs having never been left alone before, it's too steep a learning curve with consequences that can be long lasting to form true separation anxiety.

Kelpie puppy


Try to identify the source of the worry and where possible, offer support through verbal praise and food. The hair dryer, the coffee machine, the hoover or the laundry machine can all be novel sounds that could induce worry. Create distance between the the puppy and the source of the worry. With time and consistency, your puppy will become desensitised to these household sounds, but we want to encourage and reassure the puppy, not allow fear and worry to set in, which can lead to anxiety.

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