Adaptil® is a synthetic copy of a calming pheromone that is clinically proven to help reduce stress in puppies and adult dogs that leads to inappropriate behaviors.
What Is Adaptil?
Adaptil is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the pheromone mother dogs emit after giving birth to help their puppies feel calm and secure. Dogs of all ages recognize this pheromone throughout life.
The Adaptil range of products offer help in many situations, both indoors and outdoors, and for short-term and long-term use.
Many situations can be perceived as stressful by dogs, such as loud noises (fireworks, thunderstorms, household appliances), going to the vet, traveling by car, home alone, kenneling/boarding, and changes in the home environment or the composition of the family.
The comforting pheromone in Adaptil has been clinically proven to help increase focus during training in puppies and adult dogs. Additionally for dogs in stressful situations, Adaptil helps reduce the signs of stress which are usually inappropriate behaviors.
Even small changes in your home and your daily routine can upset your dog and increase stress.
Stress can lead to unhappy behaviors such as hiding, excessive barking and whimpering, soiling in the home, and destroying household items.
Using Adaptil will help give your dog or puppy a feeling of security and will help reduce the signs of stress that they experience.
How To Use Adaptil
When Adaptil May Not Work
There are some situations where Adaptil won’t work – or at least won’t work without additional concurrent therapy such as behavior modification or even medications.
- When the behavior is not stress-related
- When the behavior has been present for a very long time or the problems are severe. Seek advice from a veterinary behaviorist.
- Overexcited dogs – an overexcited puppy is not going to be calmed down by Adaptil alone. In this case, additional training is needed along with the use of Adaptil.
- Urination in the home due to a medical condition or lack of toilet access. Always get a clean bill of health from your veterinarian if your dog is house-soiling.
- Aggression towards other dogs or humans is a very serious problem. Seek advice from a veterinary behaviorist.
Dogs express behaviors based on experiences and each dog may react differently to different situations. This makes understanding dog behavior complicated.
Understanding Your Dog
What makes a dog man’s best friend is how well they seem to understand us. Dogs communicate with us all the time but without words or conversation. Instead they use body language, facial expressions and some vocalizations to let us know what they feel and think. Being able to pick up on these signals will ultimately help improve your relationship.
How Dogs “Talk To Us”
Dogs are social animals that often live in groups and have an effective method of non-verbal communication. To make living together more effective, dogs remember and learn about each group member and work to avoid conflicts by being predictable and following the canine social rules. As a member of your family, dogs expect clear signals from the humans that make up their social group. Dogs rely on routine and consistent responses from us during interactions. Predictability makes things easier for them to understand, while change and inconsistency can create anxiety and confusion.
When a dog is anxious, stressed or insecure, they send you many non-verbal signals to indicate their stress level. When first stressed or scared, dogs may try to run away, cower or hide.
As their level of anxiety and fear increases, their body language increases as well to include a more aggressive posture, teeth baring, laid back ears or growling. Frightened, threatened or punished dogs may escalate to teeth snapping or finally even biting. Check out this great diagram on dog’s and body language from Dr. Sophia Yin. Dogs need us to be consistent in our communication with them. They don’t know what we are saying, but they can recognize our body language and tone of voice. Calm, consistent pet owners who reward dogs for good behavior (while ignoring – not punishing – bad behaviors) often have the best relationships with their pets. We’ve listed some great resources on the bottom of this page for more information and resources to help you better understand your dog.
A dog’s sensory world
- Vocalizations and sounds – A dog’s hearing is about 4 times more acute than ours, leading dogs to react to sounds that we can’t hear. Unfamiliar or loud noises can startle or frighten dogs and trigger some behaviors that we consider “bad” such as hiding or trying to escape.
- Smells – A dog’s sense of smell is known to be 1000 times more sensitive than ours, making dogs react to smells that are imperceptible to us.
- Visual signals – Without words, dogs use body postures, expressions and gestures to communicate their feelings. Dog’s can’t understand the meaning of our words, but can pick up on our body language and tone of voice.
- Pheromones – These are natural chemical signals produced by dogs to send messages that are innately and immediately understood by other dogs. Pheromones produced by dogs are undetected by people and other animals.
Canine Social Communication
Social communication is a two way street. Dogs need to be able to understand the signals from humans, and in return expect their signals to be understood as well. But without words, some canine social signals are very subtle.
- Your dog may be uncomfortable if you see him:
- Turning the head away and not making eye contact
- Licking the lips
- Wrinkling the forehead
- Panting (when it isn’t hot)
Another common canine body posture is one that is often called the “guilty” look. In this instance the dog may take the avoidance to the extreme-really averting their eyes, lowering their body and licking their lips. The dog is actually not feeling guilty, but in dog language is saying “I see you are angry-please don’t hurt me”. Our mistake is assuming they know WHY we are angry. But remember that they don’t understand our words, they hear our angry tone and see our tense and angry body.
When your dog does not react as expected to your verbal cues, remember that they don’t understand what you want them to do. They aren’t intentionally disobedient, they may be distracted, anxious or frightened and their behavior will reflect their emotions.
If a dog is misunderstood, confused or anxious because of unclear human-dog communication, they can become stressed.
Potentially Stressful Situations For Dogs
- Loneliness – separation (staying alone at home or in a boarding kennel)
- Adoption – settling into a new home.
- Puppy training and socialization.
- Veterinary visits and hospitalization.
- Loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms.
- Exposure to new situations and environments.
Some Common Signs Of Stress
- Ecsessive Licking.
Common Behaviors Displayed By Dogs Suffering From Chronic Stress
- Decreased exploratory or play behavior.
- Decreased appetite.
- Reduced social interaction (with other pets or humans)
- Apathy Increased reactivity or vigilance (barking at the slightest noises)
- Increased sleep or disruption of sleeping patterns.