Deprivation Syndrome in Dogs – Understanding Your Dog

Canine deprivation syndrome is characterized by a maladaptation of the animal to its environment; causes manifestations of excessive fear. May cause permanent anxiety, depression, or aggression. Treatment of deprivation syndrome in dogs involves behavioral therapy.

A puppy he has by of all ? A dog that refuses to leave or pulls a leash to enter? An animal that growls and hides when you receive guests at home? These manifestations of fear are not insignificant. They can ruin your life and that of your partner. They are mostly a sign of deep discomfort. What if your dog has sensory deprivation syndrome?

What Causes Dog Deprivation Syndrome?

The typical portrait of an animal suffering from a deprivation syndrome is classically the puppy adopted a little late (after 4 months) and which has been raised in a hypo-stimulating place: kennel, isolated field … Located in its new living environment (urban). environment, large family, etc.), the puppy shows signs of fear, even panic, at the usual stimuli such as the noise of cars or the cries of children. You may also be afraid of other dogs or humans.

Dog deprivation syndrome is a developmental disorder. The hypostimulated puppy during the period of socialization he has a defect in the sensory filter that causes him to panic in the face of unknown but objectively non-dangerous situations.

The period between birth and 3 months of the puppy is therefore crucial in the development of this disorder. However, sensory deprivation syndrome is also believed to have a genetic basis.

@Shutterstock Zivica Kerkez

How does sensory deprivation syndrome manifest in dogs?

Dog deprivation syndrome causes unwarranted manifestations of fear. The animal will seek to flee from the object of its fear (vehicular traffic, empty, congeners …). Fear can also manifest as urination or uncontrolled diarrhea. In everyday life, the very scared puppy is inhibited (few interactions) and hypervigilant (jumps with the slightest noise).

Some examples of a sick animal’s behavior:

  • Dog pulling on leash to get in during walks

  • Puppy who can’t train in the urinal because he’s too scared outdoors

  • Puppy going to hide when guests or a dog come home

In the long run, deprivation syndrome can lead to depression. The puppy is also at risk of developing aggressiveness secondary to certain humans or dogs. In fact, especially after puberty, the dog still gains some confidence and may begin to growl and bark at the object of his fears.

Not all puppies are affected at the same stage. Depending on the intensity of the fear (some noise or widespread), the prognosis is different. The secondary development of aggression raises the issue of the danger of the dog. Fear bites are usually severe.

How To Treat Deprivation Syndrome In Dogs?

Treatment of sensory deprivation syndrome in dogs involves behavioral therapy. The new teacher will have to arm himself with patience and kindness.

If your puppy shows signs of fear in the presence ofchildren, it’s not about getting him out of school on the day of his arrival! First let them get used to your offspring and then invite some friends who aren’t too upset.

Ditto in case of fear of cars. Start by walking your puppy down a quiet street and then increase the difficulty. You can also play a traffic sound on your home by gradually increasing the volume.

Deprivation syndrome in dogs
@Shutterstock olgaarmawir

It is about associating the object of fear with something pleasant. For example, if your dog is afraid of children, you can give him sweets when the children come home. Then ask the children themselves to offer you the little treats. Always under your supervision, of course.

You can do the same on the street to divert your dog’s attention and associate the outing with a pleasant time.

Of course, this is a long-term job. Relapses are possible. Results are better if reconditioning begins before puberty.

When your dog is scared, do not hug or pet him to reassure him. This behavior is likely to comfort him in his fears. Instead, try to be as natural as possible because there is nothing to fear!

If you have ever met a full-fledged adult dog, introduce it to your puppy. Even if he is scared at first, his playful behavior should take over. When it’s on, go for a walk together. Nothing better than a calm dog to reassure your puppy and teach him to evolve with serenity in your environment.

To reassure your puppy, you can also buy a necklace based on pheromones or food supplements with relaxing properties.

In more severe cases, it is advisable to call a behavioral veterinarian. Proper pharmacological treatments can make the puppy more receptive to behavioral therapy.

Breeders also play an important role in preventing the onset of this canine deprivation syndrome by selecting trusted mothers and providing sufficient stimulation to the puppies before they leave for their new families.

Dr. Isabelle Vixege


Deprivation syndrome in dogs

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