Plenty of people are dealing with a pet who is anxious, aggressive, or reactive, and wonder can Dog Training and CBD be combined. Maybe you have a pet who is older and experiences daily pain which results in unwanted and unpleasant behaviours? Or, maybe your pet fears thunderstorms and loud noises, displaying signs of anxiety and stress. There are countless health and wellbeing issues your pet may be experiencing, but one thing we know for sure is that providing your pet with CBD oil offers the chance for your furry friend to find relief from whatever may be causing them discomfort or negatively impacting their wellbeing, and with that in mind CBD is also very beneficial in the dog training world.
To begin, let’s talk about what CBD actually is and why so many people are implanting it into their pets daily life. Cannabinol (CBD) is a compound that is found within the cannabis plant, and research has shown that CBD makes up almost 40% of plants' natural extracts. Cannabis is most widely known and recognized for another compound found within the plant, called THC. THC is what produces the “high” that most people first think of when we refer to cannabis. However, when we are discussing CBD for pets specifically, we are referring to CBD that has been extracted from the hemp plant, as this contains very minimal THC levels to begin with. There is a special process that occurs to separate CBD from the hemp plant which results in the CBD oil which is full of amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and many other beneficial compounds. All that being said, you can be sure to find these safe and naturally occurring properties when you implement Kitsie into your pets daily life.
So now you might be wondering how this all ties into dog training? Well, as a dog trainer, we have to create varying plans for our clients and their pets. There are many types of dog trainers, such as pure positive training and balanced training. My approach for all of my clients is a balanced training approach, which simply means that I use reward based techniques (positive) and aversive consequences (negative). With all that being said, we are guiding the dog to understand that depending on their choice or behaviour, there is either going to be a positive result or a negative result that is attached to said behaviour. Every dog trainer has their own approaches to situations and depending on the dog that they are working with, they will have to adapt to meet the needs to the dog. CBD is a tool that I can use as a dog trainer to compliment my balanced training styled approach.
One of the most popular reasons I am called for a training session is to deal with a dog who is displaying signs of anxiety of stress. The dog may be generally anxious all the time, or the dog has event related anxiety and stressors that trigger their need for comfort. There is also the possibility of dealing with dogs who have a negative history, think rescue dogs. If you are wondering what to look for to know if your dog is suffering from anxiety, the signs might include and are not limited to: Excessive barking or whining, separation anxiety, biting people, things or even toys excessively, defecating and urinating (this may be while crated or simply during a stressful event), shaking and other behaviours that may be seen as aggressive and unwanted. CBD is widely known and used to treat anxiety and stress, especially in dogs. As a dog trainer, we encourage our clients to stick to a structured plan and help their dog gain confidence, and this can be amplified with CBD as it can offer feelings of calmness and decreased stress. As CBD will encourage the dog to feel decreased levels of stress, we will see the dog be able to adapt and relax in environments where this may not have been possible before. With all this being said, we cannot simply give the dog CBD alone and hope for the problem to just disappear, we need to implement it into a structured plan that is created with the dogs best interest in mind. This product will help us in terms of calming our dogs making them more comfortable which will amplify the outcome we desire, which is reduced anxiety.
Another popular reason that people call me for a training session is reactivity. Reactivity is when a dog simply reacts to a certain environment, situation or stimuli. An example of this can be when your dog sees a squirrel and tries to lunge at it out of excitement. This can also be seen when your dog begins barking when the doorbell rings. It is also important to note that reactivity is not the same thing as aggressiveness or aggressive behaviours, however they are often confused and can go hand in hand if not dealt with in the proper way. All this being said, reactive dogs all have their own triggers, and different threshold levels. Threshold levels can simply be seen as the amount of stress your dog can handle in a certain situation. For example, your non-reactive dog might be fine with other dogs approaching him or her on leash, while my reactive dog might have an outburst when he sees another dog across the stress. So, his trigger is another dog and his threshold level is surpassed when he sees the dog across the street and this is why we have a reaction. So, how would CBD help this? In order to modify the behaviour and actually create a world of a difference we have to practice training techniques and escalation prevention. By teaching and guiding your dog in how to react in these stressful environments, we will see the world of a difference. CBD can help us bring the dog down into a calmer state, which will allow us to work with the dog in more stressful environments. Again, we cannot expect to give CBD to a dog and have them totally okay and never react again, it’s a tool to help us train the dog in a lower level and calm state.
To wrap this all up, as a dog trainer I absolutely love to implement CBD where I see fit. When working with aggressive, reactive or anxious dogs there are so many options and approaches you can take to create a treatment plan to guide the dog onto a better path. By implementing CBD into their plan, we can expect the dog to feel a sense of calmness which will help them with being exposed to certain situations that they need to work through in order to become the dog they deserve to be. It is also important to note that there are many other uses for CBD in dogs (and your other furry friends too!), so if you are using it for anxiety, or reactivity you can also expect benefits in terms of heart health, reducing any pain your dog may be experiencing, nausea and even improving their fur and skin!