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Phuket Dog Whisperer: Canine separation anxiety

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Dog Whisperer: Canine separation anxiety | The Thaiger

PHUKET: In part one of our look at Canine Separation Anxiety we identified some of the many reasons and symptoms for its onset, so here in part two, we’ll look at various ways of treating it.

However, it’s important to note that you should always consult a canine behaviorist first so that problem behavior can be correctly identified prior to implementing a modification program. There’s no point trying to modify separation anxiety if that’s not really the issue.

Now separation anxiety, can be tricky and in truth, can be annoying. To add insult to injury, many owners want to yell at or punish their dog for the excessive vocalization, or other behavior associated with the anxiety, but this can make the problem worse by increasing the dog’s need for social contact developing what’s called Learned Helplessness.

Feeling nervous? Okay, here’s the science bit: The nervous system is responsible for behavior and is divided into two sections: the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (nerves and some sensory organs). The nervous system works closely with the endocrine system, which is responsible for chemical coordination in the body.

The nervous system conveys information from one place to another by neurons or nerve cells. Chemical secretions called neurotransmitters travel from one cell to another. They contain and convey information. Some of the more important neurotransmitters are dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Got that?

Dopamine is involved in motor coordination and reaction time. A deficiency can cause inability to learn, irritability, anxiety and a decline in endorphins (a dog’s natural pain killer). Dopamine influences the brain’s pleasure center and a decline in this neurotransmitter can result in a diminished positive feeling.

Norepinephrine is related to adrenaline. It is responsible for your dog’s energy level. A depletion of this can cause your dog to shut down and display signs of lethargy and depression.

Serotonin regulates mood, pain and arousal levels. Low levels of serotonin can result in aggression, impaired learning, anxiety and obsessive behavior.

Now, when a dog becomes overstressed the nervous system releases norepinephrine and dopamine, which causes a suspension of the part of the brain responsible for learning and higher thought process, previous learning, impulse control and social inhibition. Previously learned coping mechanisms may become inaccessible which can provoke species-typical coping mechanisms (chewing, digging, urinating/defecating, vocalizing).

Addressing the problem

There are a number of ways to treat separation or isolation anxiety, and in many cases it’s largely a combination of a number of them – but remember, all dogs are different so consult a canine behaviorist first.

Pharmacology:

A major contribution to the treatment of separation anxiety is a drug called clomicalm, which helps by increasing the serotonin levels in the brain which in turn decreases the level of fear, stress and anxiety experienced by the dog. But lots of people aren’t keen on taking anti-depressants themselves, let alone giving it to their dogs.

Nutritional Intervention:

Stress puts greater nutritional demands on your dog so if your dog is not currently eating a high quality dog food then you could consider a change. Lower quality dog foods frequently contain a large quantity of corn which is also thought to decrease the level of serotonin in the brain (although I’m not a nutritionist, so don’t quote me.)

Mental Stimulation:

Possibly the best way to help your dog, is to encourage active participation and focused enjoyment of something. You can increase mental stimulation in your dog by feeding part of his meal in a fun ball or hide portions of his meal around the house when you leave. One of the best ways to stimulate your dog mentally, is obedience training.

Physical Stimulation:

A tired dog is a well behaved dog. Exercise stimulates the production of serotonin and is a way for your dog to release all of his energy appropriately. When you start exercising your dog start out slow and increase the amount of time and the level of the exercise. You know your dog, so you’ll know what’s too much and what’s not enough, but it is a good idea to have your dog examined by a veterinarian first to make sure there are no issues that may have an impact on your exercise program such as obesity, arthritis, hip dysplasia, etc.

Second Dog Syndrome:

Dogs are social animals and are generally happiest when in the presence of other dogs. Many people believe that getting another dog will treat the current dog’s anxiety, but that often backfires and can actually increase the stress on your current dog. In many separation anxiety cases, the dog has developed a hyper-attachment to humans, so another dog makes no difference.

Scent Item:

Providing your dog with a soft item that smells like the attachment object or person can sometimes help in minor cases. The best way to accomplish this is by wearing a t-shirt to bed and leaving it with your dog in the morning when you leave.

Here one minute, gone the next:

For the first 15-20 minutes after you arrive home or before you leave completely ignore your dog. This means no eye contact, no speaking, and no fast, noisy activity. The goal is to reduce the contrast between your presence and absence. If there is damage or mess in the house, ignore the dog and simply go about cleaning up. Do not punish your dog!

Remember, this is not your dog’s fault and he is not acting this way to get back at you for leaving him. Treatment for Separation or Isolation Anxiety takes time, patience and lots of work but you can make a difference.

For more information on Canine Separation Anxiety, or to inquire about training classes contact the Thailand Canine Academy on T: 089 588 4050, E: mailto:[email protected]or check out W: tk9a.com.

— Russell D Russell

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Bangkok

Third runway for BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport

The Thaiger

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Third runway for BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport | The Thaiger

The Thai cabinet yesterday approved the construction of a third runway at Suvarnabhumi International Airport as part of the country’s ambition to become the aviation hub of ASEAN.

The 21.7 billion baht project will increase the combined capacity of Suvarnabhumi international airport’s runways to 94 arrivals and departures per hour from the current 64, said Lt-Gen Weerachon Sukonthapatipak, deputy government spokesman.

Suvarnabhumi Airport (aka. BKK) was opened in 2006 as Bangkok’s second airport. Initially it replaced the tired Don Mueang Airport but Don Mueang was later revamped as a low-coast airport to service the growing traffic demands.

Meanwhile Suvarnabhumi Airport was, and still is, operating above its designed capacity. An earlier bid to build a third terminal has been mired in controversy and is currently shelved pending a new brief from Airports of Thailand with a new round of design bids called for in the future.

Third runway for BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport | News by The Thaiger

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People

Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal

The Thaiger

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Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Patong Police / Theeraphong Penmit / Newshawk Phuket

A Phuket boy has been rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community.

8 year old Kosin Ta-ngam, who is studying at Sai Nam Yen School in Patong in Pratom Suksa Three, has been collecting garbage in the filthy Pak Bang Canal and along Patong Beach since the beginning of this year.

He lives with his grandmother and other relatives. His grandmother has been looking after Kosin since he was 10 months old.

A certificate, scholarship and life vest have been awarded to Kosin by the Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee for displaying excellent citizen for the community as a youth volunteer and being an active part of keeping the city clean.

The Pak Bang Canal, running through the back of Patong into Patong Bay, has been a dark, dirty mess for decades. Many promises have been made to clean it up but it remains a disgraceful waterway flowing through Phuket’s main tourist town.

The tiny eight year old seems to be able to achieve a lot more than the local municipality with all their money and machinery.

Kosin, you are the Thaiger hero for today and we salute you!

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

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Southeast Asia

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet

The Thaiger

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Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Japan Times

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ new 88-passenger Mitsubishi Regional Jet is testing the skies just as rivals Embraer and Bombardier are moving to sell off their manufacturing operations for jets with up to 160 seats to Boeing and Airbus.

At stake, particularly in the market for jets with fewer seats, is US$135 billion in sales in the two decades through 2037, according to industry group Japan Aircraft Development.

More cities in Asia and Europe are seeking to link up with each other and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first airliner built in Japan since the 1960s, began certification flights last month in Moses Lake, Washington.

With fewer seats and smaller fuselages, regional jets are a different class of aircraft from larger narrow-body planes such as Boeing’s 737 or Airbus’s A320. The MRJ has a range of about 3,220 kilometres. The seating is 2+2 instead of 3+3 in a small Airbus or Boeing single-aisle jet.

After spending at least US$2 billion over more than a decade, the manufacturer is looking to get its jet certified and start deliveries to launch partner ANA Holdings.

Mitsubishi initially planned test flights in 2012 but blew past that deadline because of production difficulties. Now, the company, which makes ships, nuclear power plants and aerospace components, expects to have the plane ready for customers next year, a timetable that will test the company, said Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hisakazu Mizutani.

Mitsubishi Heavy is not the only Asian manufacturer betting that it can build aircraft cheaper and more efficiently. Commercial Aircraft of China (Comac) has a new regional jet in service, while Korea Aerospace Industries is studying whether to develop a 100-passenger aircraft.

“The aviation market in Asia is expected to grow further in the coming years and there will be demand for these aircraft,” said analyst Lee Dong-heon at Daishin Securities in Seoul.

“The shift in the regional aviation segment we have seen over the last year or so has opened opportunities.”

“The MRJ is fully capable of competing in the market.”

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | News by The Thaiger

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