Is your dog stressed?


Your dog may not have a 9-to-5, relationship issues or financial worries, but stress in dogs is real, and can have real implications on your dog’s ability to behave appropriately.

4PawsUniversity has a handy visual guide to Stress Signs in Dogs, which can help you read your dog’s signals before a bark, growl or bite happens. Pay particular attention to the avoidance signs. These are warning signs that your dog is not enjoying the interaction! Think of avoidance as a stop sign. When you see it, stop what you are doing and change tactics, or remove your dog from the environment that’s creating the avoidance behavior. There are a number of reasons a dog could be avoiding a particular person, dog or other scenario, but in any case it is a signal that should not be ignored.

If your dog is continually stressed by specific events or situations, behavior modification can help your dog learn to cope with stressful events before a bite, bolt or other unwanted behavior occurs.

Should you comfort a scared dog?

DSC_8997There’s a terrific discussion about thunderstorm phobia, body language and the issue of whether fear can be reinforced over on Patricia McConnell’s excellent blog.

The oft-given advice to ignore a dog who’s feeling fearful may not be correct. But, like most emotions, fear and its resulting behavior can be complex to address from a behavioral standpoint.

Read for yourself and see what you think — Dr. McConnell promises to write more on the topic, and several folks are offering good advice for thunderstorm phobia in the meantime.
Creative Commons License photo credit: broxtronix