Going to the groomers or getting a training lesson are regular rather than foreign routines. Initially these outings can be considered foreign and cause some anxiety so how do you know? Is your dog stressed ?
Signs of Stress
Is your dog vocalizing, panting, whining, licking their lip and flicking their tongue? What about limping, crouching, hiding, tucking tail or trembling? Unusual grumpiness, growling, tense, tight muscles even vomiting, drooling or diarrhea can answer the question is your dog stressed? All of these visible reactions can signify your dog has experienced something and they are uncomfortable with that experience. When dogs have trouble adjusting to new experiences or even overdo a good experience, their temperament and physical health can be affected.
Just this weekend a group of handlers discussed a seasoned dog’s slight hesitation to move well in the show ring. Later it was determined that two split toenails on a rear paw were causing pain and in turn enough stress so as to be unable to effectively move and compete. Just like people, dogs can become grumpy and irritable or even weak and lethargic when in pain.
Once stress is identified, then what do you do?
What To Do For A Stressed Dog
If you were asked, “is your dog stressed?’and had no inkling what that question meant, take heart. There are many common responsible pet owner’s management tips that help alleviate stress.
- Events or celebrations that are great for humans can become too noisy or disturbing for pets. Provide a regular, routine home environment with a safety zone like a quiet room or crate where your pet can feel safe
- Initiate new activities at your dog’s pace and comfort level using positive reinforcement.
- Do activities with your dog that soothe and creates enjoyment.
- Give your dog a visual and physical once over, looking for unusual marks, hot spots, areas of swelling or tenderness.
- If the source of stress is not physical, the cause may be due to fear, frustration or anxiety. Remove or distance your dog from situations where he feels threatened or unsafe.
- Stay calm and send calming signals to you dog through your body language.
- Be alert to your dog and whatever stimulus causing an upset.
- For severe or unrelenting stress, seek the help of a qualified Veterinarian behaviorist.
Our companion dogs are exactly that, companions. We are responsible for these companion’s welfare. Isn’t communicating with each other effectively to avoid stress the kind of goal you want? Your dog would agree!