Is your dog stressed at the vet, on walks, when she sees other dogs, when company comes? If so, you can help relieve her stress by learning how to recognize the signs and things that cause stress.
Signs of stress in dogs are many and some not so obvious, but I can’t tell you how many emails and comments we receive from guardians who didn’t realize that their dog was stressed until they went through the images on the Dog Decoder app and saw their own dog in those images.
Stress can cause health issues as well as behavioral issues that when go unnoticed can be the demise of the relationship between dogs and humans. Being able to read these signs and knowing what actually causes stress can be a real eye opener while not knowing them can cause a dog to bite.
Trigger stacking is when a dogs triggers (things that cause a dog to be stressed) stack up and she had no reserve to manage herself. Knowing not only the signs/body languages that cause stress but knowing what things in her environment can be causing her stress, may prevent a bite.
Signs of Stress:
Excessive Tail Wagging
Poor Coat Condition
Excessive Short Term Shedding
Shivering/Shaking when it’s not cold
Causes of Stress:
Environmental changes: moving, getting married or divorced, having a baby, going away to college, losing a best friend (dog or person), Mondays. Yes, Mondays because after a weekend of fun your pal doesn’t understand why you’re up and gone again all day long and this can be the beginning of separation anxiety.
Training or not training your dog
Backyard only dogs, never going for walks, playing with other dogs…
Walking an unsocialized dog
Lack of exercise causing the dog to be destructive, aggressive, jump, etc.
Riding in the car
Getting a new dog, cat or other animal
Meeting new people for an unsocialized dog
Going to the vet, groomer, dog show, events, dog park, doggie day car, etc.
Improper restraint or handling
Yelling at your dog
Ill mannered children
Lack of daily routine
Ill mannered dogs
Lack of understanding in reading dogs body language (This is really No. 1)
How To Reduce Stress:
Learn to read dog body language
Have a routine (not rigid) yet consistent
Socializing early with dogs, children, new places, vets office, (100 faces 100 days in the pups first 4 months of life.)
Playing with other dogs
Get the Dog Decoder app to find out all the signs of stress in dogs. You may be surprised to know that your dog is more stressed than you thought. It’s available in iTunes and Google play.
About the author: Jill Breitner is a professional dog trainer and dog body language expert. She is a certified Fear Free Professional for Puppies and Kittens, as well as Certified in Animal Behavior and Welfare. She is the author of Dog Decoder, a smartphone app about dog body language. Join Jill on her on her Facebook page.