We love our dogs like little people in furry suits – that’s the way I feel about mine. We are totally bonded. Like all pet parents my feelings and emotions transfer directly to my dog. But despite all we have in common, these fuzzy creatures of ours are actually members of a different species. They love us to the end and they belong in our lives but they relate to us differently than other people do.


We are our dogs’ leaders because they see themselves as our subordinates. Their brains are genetically programmed to watch us and follow our behavioral cues. They feel safe with us because they are canine survivors who are vigilant for the subtle shifts in their person’s body signaling. Your dog is determined to get through life with you. If challenges like the coronavirus epidemic have you edgy (me too), your dog is on high alert right by your side.


Anxiety is miserable for anybody, human or canine, but some of it is normal. Concern about what might be lurking around the next corner is a protective instinct. But anxiety can be overwhelming. A dog who already struggles with this disorder can worsen if its person is also feeling a bit edgy. No need for a guilt trip; we can turn this around.


There is a wonderful new, non-drug therapy for anxiety. The Calmer Canine™ is a pulsed electromagnetic field device that a dog wears behind its head for just 15 minutes, twice a day – right at home, snuggled up next to or free to move around comfortably. There is no sensation from the Calmer Canine. With its internal battery, it’s lightweight and attaches easily to a comfy removable vest.


Calmer Canine on PapillonThe Calmer Canine is high tech – developed by a team of veterinarians and neurobiologists. It works by sending microcurrents of targeted pulsed electromagnetic (tPEMF™) signals to the microglial cells in the anxiety center of the brain. The Calmer Canine also triggers the neural cells to produce “feel good” substances such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Approved for treatment of separation anxiety in dogs this instrument has also been found to help with a variety of other anxiety-related canine behaviors.


Research recently published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior showed the value of basic obedience in reducing a dog’s anxiety. Drs. Takuma Kurachi and Mami Irimajiri explained that, “…using highly motivating rewards, such as food, social attention, or toys to reward commands such as ‘sit-stay’, the commands can be used to settle and calm dogs when they feel anxiety and/or fear.”


Calmer Canine being held in place over dog by owner on couchI’m a believer in obedience; it’s a perfect way for a canine subordinate to take direction and earn rewards from its leader. A simple command-response-reward structure provides security during difficult times. You can feel it when you bring out the best in someone else – human or canine.


We’re all obliged to look out for ourselves and others during the coronavirus debacle by following official recommendations for ‘social distancing’. You should wait until after this storm has passed to enroll yourself and your good dog in obedience class. But you can enjoy teaching fun tricks in your yard or on leash walks right now. By working for you and earning reinforcers, your best friend will absorb your positive emotions. Just being outside together will help both of you feel better.