Learn the emotional, physiological, genetic and behavioural components of canine anxiety and how to apply this knowledge in recognising and treating canine anxiety.
For years, scientists debated whether animals experience emotions at all. Now it is widely accepted amongst ethologists that emotions are a biological phenomenon that animals experience and that they play a vital role in survival. You will learn the biology behind animal emotions, what emotions are attributed to animals, and what factors influence emotions.
Fear and anxiety are key emotions that promote survival in animals. We’ll gain a deeper understanding of anxiety as an animal emotion as well as an understanding of when anxiety is adaptive and when it is pathological.
The feelings and expression of anxiety are strongly routed in physiological processes within the body. The course explores the physiological stress systems within mammalian bodies, specifically as they relate to fear and anxiety.
The nervous and endocrine systems play a vital role in stress systems. You’ll gain deep insight into the physiological mechanisms behind animal emotions, specifically general anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Genetic predisposition and environmental factors contribute to fear and anxiety-related disorders. We’ll review the heritability of fear and anxiety in mammals, along with the epigenetic mechanisms that can alter gene expression.
‘Coping style’ refers to individual differences in stress response and is an aspect of individual animal personalities. You’ll learn how to measure personality, how coping styles are connected to genes and physiology, and how personality affects anxiety.
Fear and anxiety responses begin with the perception of a stimulus as a threat. You’ll learn about the components of dog perception and how they can contribute to anxiety.
People who manage dogs should have a deep understanding of dog body language and the body language cues of anxiety. These, along with other behavioural indicators of dog anxiety, will be discussed.
We’ll look at what is currently known about canine anxiety including what types of anxiety dogs experience and the consequences of anxiety.
Dealing with an anxious dog can be challenging and can lead dogs to relinquishment to shelters or premature death. We’ll explore behavioural and pharmacological techniques for managing and treating anxiety in dogs.
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
- Understand and explain the biological basis for anxiety as an animal emotion
- Define key terms and processes and explain underlying physiological and neurobiological systems that regulate canine anxiety
- Demonstrate an understanding of anxiety by summarising the differing roles of genes, environment and individual personality
- Discuss dog perception and interpret behavioural signs of canine anxiety
- Formulate a plan to address and treat anxiety in dogs by assessing their environment and behaviour