Set The Scene And Remember Safety First
Prior to both dogs being in the same house together, plan ahead and remove anything that could cause competition between the dogs, including food, toys, beds, bowls, and blankets. When the dogs are acting calmly together, introduce a toy and be ready to divert their attention if any negativity arises, and immediately praise positive and calm interactions.
Dogs should always be separated when they are not being fully supervised and controlled, especially when eating. If the dogs consistently show friendly, positive behavior towards each other, then they can eventually be left unsupervised together, but this will need to happen at a gradual pace. It is most important when moving house with pets that all necessary precautions are taken to minimize the chance of aggression or negative interactions.
Encourage Your Dog To Be Independent
If your dog is especially anxious and struggles to be away from you even for short periods of time, you can work on teaching them to settle on their own. Teaching them this will help your dog become more independent in themselves and will help with further training in the future.
To do this, fill a food toy such as a Kong and place it by your feet while you are watching TV. Do this regularly over the space of a few weeks and gradually place it further away from you each time. This will teach your dog to settle down and engage in activities without you. When your dog is occupied with the food you should still go in and out of the room as normal.
If you are able, installing baby gates throughout the house will allow you to move from room to room without your dog always being able to follow. This will help in training your dog to remain calm when you are not nearby and can sometimes help by showing them that you are still in the house. You could also try scattering a few bits of your dogs daily allowance of dry food on the floor when you leave a room, which will provide them with a distraction.
Common Causes Of Stress In Dogs
It’s virtually impossible for a dog owner to know the exact cause of stress in dogs because the reasons are numerous. You’ll need to take your pooch to a vet and canine behaviorist to get several opinions on what might be the reason, but here are the most common:
It’s likely you’ll have to work through every single one of these stress causes to pin down the exact one, and it’s possible there’s more than one.
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My Personal Experience With A Stressed Dog
My former street dog Charlotte has severe stress and anxiety conditions that require lifestyle adjustments for our family and medication. For Charlotte, its a balance of increasing her behavioral coping strategies through play and training for as many triggers as possible, and then adding in medication when needed for the stress shes not able to work through. Some difficult stress triggers include storms and fireworks, which have previously resulted in her injuring herself by breaking out of a crate and attempting to break through a door in our house.
How Can You Tell If Your Dog Is Under Stress
Stress is very much a part of human existence. It is a word that means different things to different people. Some people are stressed out because of the bigger things in life such as money troubles or the high-pressure job they have, as well as any huge changes or disruptions to their normal schedule and routine.
Other people are stressed by seemingly smaller things such as being introduced to new people.
Whatever the causes, there are different ways you can combat stress when you experience it. Whether its confiding in a friend or close relative, perhaps your partner or spouse, or going for a run or taking part in some other form of exercise.
Just like us humans, dogs suffer from stress too. Knowing how badly stress can affect us and how we can express what we are feeling, motivates us to want to help our animal friends too, doesnt it? Although dogs cant express how they are feeling in quite the same way, there are subtle, tell-tale signs you can look out for that may suggest your dog is suffering from stress.
It is very important that therapy dog handlers notice the signs of stress that their dogs typically display and take action when they see these on therapy dog visits. They can remove the dog from the stressor or end the visit early. As a handler it is our duty to protect the physical and emotional well-being of our dogs. They are our priority.
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What Are Some Of The Indicators Of Stress In Dogs
Pacing or shaking. You have seen your dog shake after a bath or a roll in the grass. That whole body shake can be amusing and is quite normalunless it is occurring as the result of a stressful situation. For example, dogs are commonly stressed when visiting the veterinarian. Many dogs shake it off when they descend from the exam table and touch down on the ground. Dogs, like people, also pace when agitated. Some dogs walk a repeated path around the exam room while waiting for the veterinarian to come in.
Whining or barking. Vocalization is normal self-expression in dogs but may be intensified when they are under stress. Dogs that are afraid or tense may whine or bark to get your attention, or to self soothe.
Yawning, drooling, and licking. Dogs yawn when they are tired or bored, they also yawn when stressed. A stressful yawn is more prolonged and intense than a sleepy yawn. Dogs may also drool and lick excessively when nervous.
Changes in eyes and ears. Stressed dogs, like stressed people, may have dilated pupils and blink rapidly. They may open their eyes really wide and show more sclera than usual, giving them a startled appearance. Ears that are usually relaxed or alert are pinned back against the head.
Changes in body posture. Dogs normally bear even weight on all four legs. If a healthy dog with no orthopedic problems shifts his weight to his rear legs or cowers, he may be exhibiting stress. When scared, dogs may also tuck their tails or become quite rigid.
Pet Care: What To Do When You Have A Stressed Dog
You know how mentally and physically exhausting stress can be. Imagine how stress impacts your dog.
Dont think dogs experience stress? Think again. Dogs are social animals that quickly get stressed when separated from the pack.
But is just one reason why dogs get stressed. Moving to a new home, death in the family, loud sounds, and sickness are a few more common reasons.
Now that you understand why your dog gets stressed, its time to do something about it ASAP. Stressed dogs are frequently tired. They also eat less, have trouble going to the bathroom, and suffer from weakened immune systems.
Here are several things you can do to calm a stressed dog so that it can lead a longer, fuller life!
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How Do I Know If My Dog Is Afraid
Sometimes our dogs give us really clear signs when they are anxious, but other times it can be difficult to recognise if they are afraid. Its important to look out for common signs of stress in your dog, which might include:
- Flattening their ears and tucking their tail between their legs
- Hiding away
- Yawning and licking their lips
If your dog is showing any of these signs, chances are something is happening they dont like.
Finding out what they are scared of is the first step towards helping your dog with their anxiety. Try to identify the source .
Its really important to take action quickly as fears and phobias tend to get worse over time. When pets are scared by the same thing over and over, this often worsens their fear. No matter how strongly they react they cant stop their fear, especially as they often have no control over whats frightening them. This makes each bad experience feel even more terrifying than the last.
Even if youre only seeing the earliest signs your dog might be starting to feel nervous, its best to get help sooner rather than later.
During The School Holidays
Children dont always understand the signs telling them a dog might need space. Children and dogs often have strong bonds but its important that you supervise their time together. And its important that you help your child to understand that, just like us, dogs do not always feel like playing or being hugged.
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Remove Triggers That Cause Your Dogs Anxiety
If youve already gone to your veterinarian to rule out other illnesses, and theyve helped identify possible stressors, then it may be as simple as removing those stressors and seeing if your dogs anxiety lessens.
For example, if your dog is afraid of other dogs or people, you can skip the dog park. Alternatively, you can take your dog for walks when fewer people will be outside, play in a fenced yard if you have one, and play games inside the home.
Q4 How To Calm An Anxious Dog
There are many natural ways to calm your dog. Proud Dog Parents always recommends using the natural way first. Try the following natural ways to calm your dog: 1. Massage your dog . 2. Calm your dog by letting him hear soothing music. 3. Give your dog a time-out. 4. Give your dog one-on-one attention. 5. Give your dog physical contact.
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How To Help And Calm An Anxious Dog
Storms, fireworks, being alone, even the vacuum there are lots of things that our dogs might be afraid of or that make them worried. If your dog is becoming anxious, its important to try to find out whats frightening them and get them help as soon as possible so you can teach them that these things arent scary and are a normal part of everyday life.
If your dog is afraid of something, it can be difficult to know how to help. A phobia or anxiety is usually a behavioural issue, but its still best to take your dog to the vet in the first instance to get advice. Your vet will be able to look for any medical problems that could be causing your dog to feel anxious and if needed they can refer your dog to an accredited behaviourist who will be able to help them.
Weve put together some advice and answers from our PDSA team to help if your dog is struggling with fears and phobias.
How To Calm A Stressed Dog
If you have observed any or a combination of the above behaviours and you arent aware of any other health issues that are causing it, this may mean that your dog is experiencing stress. So what can you do when you notice stress symptoms in your dog?
1. Visit a qualified veterinarian if you are worried about your doggo, and they appear to have long lasting stress related issues that are causing behavioural pattens and problems, you should take a visit to the vet for a check up to ensure that there arent any underlying health issues causing your pooch discomfort. Sometimes your vet may prescribe your pooch anti-anxiety or anti-stress medications or remedies that can be somewhat effective for trips to the vet or stays at the pooch motel.
2. Visit a pet psychologist with advancing knowledge of pet behaviours, there are some dog psychologists out there that can help you to get to the bottom of your pets stress and anxiety and provide treatment plans.
3. Check your own state of mind are you stressed yourself? Are you an anxious person? Do you loose your temper around your pooch? If so, your pooch will pick up on your feelings and reflect them through their own behaviour. This is why it is always important to deal with your dog in a calm, balanced manner.
4. Comfort your pooch sometimes all you need to do to reduce the signs of stress in dogs is to comfort them, through patting or cuddling and giving them the love and attention that they deserve.
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Be A Calm Role Model For Your Pet
Your pet is your best friend who is so in tune with your moods that she easily picks up on your anxiety and stress. Practice staying calm, and consider meditation to help relieve your worries, and you will soothe your pet by association.
Occasionally, a pet cannot cope well with the stresses of daily life. If your pet is struggling to find her inner zen, for a behavioral consult.
If The Problem Is Mild
- Give your dog a special treat each time you leave . Only give them this treat when you’re gone, and take it away when you get home.
- Make your comings and goings low-key without a lot of greeting. Ignore your pup for the first few minutes after you get home.
- Leave some recently worn clothes out that smell like you.
- Consider giving your pet over-the-counter natural calming supplements.
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When You Love An Old Dog Managing Care Can Be A Challenge
They also were asked to fill out surveys scoring their dogs on traits such as excitability, responsiveness to training, aggression and fearfulness. The researchers then took hair samples from the dogs and their owners to test for the stress-related hormone cortisol.
“Cortisol is incorporated in hair as it grows, so we get kind of a retrospective of our cortisol secretions,” Roth explains.
They found that dog cortisol levels seemed to mirror the personality traits of their owners.
“It was the owner’s personality that influenced the dog’s hair cortisol level, rather than the dog’s personality itself,” Roth says. The correlation was stronger between dogs and owners who compete together than it was between owners and dogs who don’t.
“When it comes to competing dogs, it could actually be that they spend more time together, and that this training could increase this emotional closeness,” Roth speculates, though she adds that “this is a correlation, so we really don’t know the mechanism behind this.”
Roth says she would like to do follow-up studies looking at more dog breeds this research focused on border collies and Shetland sheepdogs. She is also interested in how owner gender might influence the results. This study included only female owners.
“I don’t think you should be anxious that, if you’re stressed, you might harm your dog,” Roth says. “Instead, your dog is a social support for you, and you are a social support for the dog.”
Pay Attention To Body Language
“Everyone should always monitor their dog’s body language when interacting with them because that is a dog’s way of communicating with us,” Dr. Spano explains. “If, at any point in the interaction, the dog exhibits any of the aforementioned stressful body language signs, the best thing to do is walk away and give your dog some space.”
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A Dog Who Is Trembling And Pacing Is Highly Distressed
Shaking and pacing back and forth are signs that a dog is feeling extremely uncomfortable and seeking a way out of their current situation.
“Trembling and pacing are indicators of stress. It’s a fight-or-flight behavior The dog is looking for an escape route,” said Farrell.
If your dog is trembling and pacing, it’s important to immediately act to either remove the source of their anxiety or allow them to move away from whatever is causing them discomfort.
Cats Who Feel Threatened May Crouch And Flatten Their Ears
One way that cats communicate stress is through body language, Farrell explained.
“A stressed cat may flatten their ears and get into a crouching position. In this position, they will wrap their tail close to their body and may flick the end of their tail as a warning,” said Farrell.
This compact position makes the cat’s body a smaller target and allows them to spring into an attack more easily.
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Show Your Dog The Boxes And Tape
Have you ever noticed your dog behave negatively every time you get your suitcase out? Theyre probably remembering all the times in the past that you packed your suitcase and left them behind or dropped them off at a boarding kennel.
When youre moving to a new home with dog in tow, it can be tempting to hide packing materials like boxes and tape from your dog to not raise their suspicions. Unfortunately, moving house is an endeavor that will disrupt your entire household, and its much better to get your dog used to the sights and sounds of moving well in advance of moving day. Start by assembling some packing boxes in front of your dog, while rewarding them for calm, positive behavior. Some dogs wont like the sound of packing tape, so start by using it at a distance and then slowly and calmly move closer to your dog, rewarding them for staying calm.
Eventually, your entire home will be full of boxes, and some of your furniture will start to disappear. By giving your dog early exposure to the sights and sounds of packing, they will gradually get used to the changes happening in and around their home.