How to Recognize Signs of Stress in Your Dog

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Before we start, look at this picture…

What a cute little Yorkshire… Do you think that there is something wrong with this dog? I’ll come back to this later…

Stress in dogs is triggered by many factors that might not be significant for us but for them could be a big deal. A new environment or something unfamiliar for the dog can cause a lot of stress. Also no energy outlet, hunger or thirst, too much noise, pain or illness, boredom, or a need to eliminate can cause stress.

The dog, in extreme response to these factors, can act on fear or aggressive behavior. The dog prepares the body for defense, and can react suddenly.

When you see something different happening with your dog, or in the environment around him, consider the number of signals he is exhibiting. Try to think from the dog’s point of view.

The most common signs of stress are:

1. Closed Mouth
2. Yawning
3. Lip-licking
4. Half-moon Eye
5. Excessive shedding or dandruff
6. Change in breathing pattern
7. Look away
8. Scratching or Sniffing
9. Vocalization (bark, whine)
10. Shakeoff

Let’s go back to the first picture… Now you may recognize what’s going on … the poor Yorkshire is under stress. He is licking his lips and to prove that he is really stressed, here is another pic of the same dog, probably from the same photoshoot:

Now, he has a closed mouth, another sign of stress.

Let’s do another exercise. It is your turn, try to recognize the signs of stress on each dog.

The child might be happy, but the dog...

 

Lip-Licking

 

Closed mouth / Look away

 

Yawning

 

I hope you’re able to recognize some signs of stress by now.

To manage the stress, what you can do is move the dog away from the stressor or block the visual stimulus. Also recommended, if the dog is suffering from stress for long periods is use calming aids, like sprays or rescue remedy, wear a thundershirt, and stimulate his mind with stuffed Kong or exercises / training.

In severe cases of stress and aggression, I recommend looking for help from a professional.

Now, I’ll let you with a picture of a happy and relaxed dog! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook!

Have a great day! ;)

Patty Vieira

 

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