People can feel stressed if scared, excited, angry, upset, due to life events, adverse events, multiple factors, or due to medical reasons. Dogs can be stressed too, feeling unable to cope.
A dog may associate unpleasant experiences fast, to sights, sounds, smells, environments, or circumstances. A dog may have a particular factor that stresses it. Fear tends to make dogs more stressed. Fear could also result in a dog feeling more defensive. A dog may often have several stressful factors, that can compound how it feels and what behaviour is exhibited. It is important to assess the whole picture, also looking a the dogs history, to identify contributing factors. Canine Whispers can create a bespoke behaviour plan for your dog, so with your dedication, a solution can be designed to reduce stress, promote confidence and target contributing factors with behaviour modification.
One of the first important things to do, is to consult your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose any medical, or clinical reasons, which may be causing; pain, allergies, or other symptoms. Prolonged, or frequent stress can also medically affect a dog. Your vet can address clinical aspects adjunct to behaviour modification.
Other factors may stress your dog such as;
- Wrong amount of exercise for, breed, age and fitness.
- Threat, or perceived threat from another dog, or animal, or person.
- Harsh training style.
- Cross frustrated owner.
- Family upset.
- Unable to get out to the toilet when needed.
- Unexpected scary noise, or event.
- Alone a lot, or never got used to being alone.
- Unable to relax due to a noisy, busy environment, extremes of temperature etc.
- Pain, allergy, digestive issues, medical condition.
- Unpredictable social situations.
- Adverse experience.
- Unresolved behaviour problem.
Stress may often be part of a more complex behavioural condition. Your dog may exhibit one, or more behaviours. Which may relate to particular contexts. There are a variability of stress responses, which relate to the individual dog. For example your dog may be (not limited to); unsettled, scratching, shaking, vocalising, panting, with dilated pupils, unable to concentrate, reluctant to eat, looks nervous, tense body, sweaty paws, pacing, hiding, aggressive, defensive and the dog may also have several unresolved behavioural issues. Each dog is an individual. Ackerman el at (1997), Turid Rugass (2005), Overall k(1997) Beerda B el at (1997).
Some owners find that their dogs cannot settle generally and the dog may also attention seek. It is a common behaviour problem. The unwanted behaviour can feel annoying and frustrating to the owner, especially after doing what they think will stop the dog and it continues to attention seek, or gets worse. A few examples; The dog may vocalise, nudge, paw, push, mouthing, bring toys, jump up, dance about etc. Some dogs steal, or chew important owner items. Some dogs have learnt to attention seek when the phone rings, or when a favourite TV programme begins. Dogs have even been known to learn to do something that gets their owner, to laugh to gain their attention. Alleyne R (2008) Ackerman el at (1997).
It is important to identify what is causing your dog to feel stressed and begin to address your dogs behaviour problems. Naturally a stressed dog can can affect the family too. Working towards a resolution will benefit all. Let’s make a difference together.
Ref; Turid Rugass (2005) on talking terms with dogs. Qanuk Ltd, Ackerman el at (1997) Dog Behaviour and training. THF Publications, Overall k(1997) Clinical Behavioural Medicine For Small Animals, Allyene R (2008) The trouble Free Dog. RBJT6, Beerda B el at (1997) Manifestation of Chronic and acute stress in dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour science. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168159196011318