Pets, particularly dogs, can absorb the stress and tension around them.It can be hard for people to realize their beloved best friend can get just as stressed out as they do. So where does stress come from for your dog? Stress in dogs is often the product of a change in their environment.
Since your dog is a part of your life and as we know our lives will certainly not be free of change, we can expect that on occasion your four legged BFF is going to need to find a little zen.
While there is no need to worry about occasional, excessive or prolonged stress can produce the same negative effects in dogs just as it does in humans. This is because stress triggers your dog's internal defense mechanisms (yep, just like us!) making her heart pound and raising her energy level to the max! It causes dogs their reserve strength just to cope and get by. This can affect a dog's resistance to illness and disease and she may get sick.
So what are the signs of stress in your dog? Just like with humans, personality is a big indicator. You may see a more aggressive dogs take out their stress on you and your home whereas more shy or nervous dogs may turn their stress inward and make themselves detached. Here are some symptoms of a "stressed out" dog:
If you believe your dog's stress is caused by loneliness, boredom and separation anxiety, the best way to relieve it is to spend more time with her. Many experts have also found that an increase her exercise opportunities can help too.
Since dogs are social creatures they can suffer from loneliness just like us. So make sure you make time to hang out. Even if it's just kicking back together on the couch watching the game while you scratch their ears. Some dogs are calmed simply by being close to you.
Of course we all know that time spent with your dog is a win-win situation for both of you. There are hundreds, if not thousands of medical studies proving that people with pets live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Set your dog up for success just like you would yourself. You can stop stress before it starts by having a clear consistent communication and training method with your dog. You should not only start obedience training as early as possible but also show them that you can be consistent with their care. Although puppies are more receptive to learning new discipline routines, older dogs can learn new tricks with consistent, prolonged training and great incentives.
If you are just giving a dog a forever home then know that from the moment you walk through the door with your new dog, you need to establish clear boundaries. You should also set aside a safe environment for her.
Here are some guidelines:
One of the the worst things you can do is punish your dog. You will only succeed in making her fear or resent you causing even more stress. Just like with a young child, the chances are she will wait until you are not around to act out the bad behaviors that you yelled at her for in the first place.
Fortunately for dog lovers, a dog's easily trainable nature works in your favor. You'll need to provide the three "Cs": control, consistency and companionship as much as possible.
Routine something that we all do, even if we don't realize it. Routine is a key element in developing stress-free dog. Your dog needs a structure to feel secure and to behave appropriately. This is true for even the simple things like knowing when she will be fed, walked and played with. These can all go a long way to making her feel more relaxed and secure.
Routine is rooted in regular companionship too. Without it she will not adapt well to unavoidable life changes and feel abandoned.
Here are some situations that could disrupt your dog's routine and cause her stress:
Here are some ways you can reduce your dog from stressful situations:
By working to maintain the daily routine in your dog's life and keeping her healthy, active, stimulated and well fed, you can really make a difference preventing and treating stress she may feel.
Don't you wish it were that simple for you? Sigh.....