Does your dog seem a little bit uneasy lately? Do you feel like your dog has changed and that there is something bothering them? Well, unfortunately, they may be stressed.
Before we spot the signs, it is important for our pawrents to understand what triggers their dogs to behave in such a way. There are many reasons why your dog is stressed or anxious. Some of these can be:
- Changes in your house, like a new baby, the attention is then not in them anymore.
- Missing or death of a family member who used to live in the same house.
- Additional noise from appliances, renovations, or cars.
- Loss of a companion pet or conflict with a new pet.
- Continuous arguing and loud voices in the house.
- Lack of routine and ignored.
- Brought by their age, older dogs tend to be less tolerant of changes and avoid social interactions.
- Separation anxiety.
Watch out for these five (5) most critical and clear signs of dog stress. So, you can help them be relaxed and happy again like they used to be.
1. Body language
When you notice something unusual about your dog, the first thing you would see is their changed body language.
Dogs that are stressed may show a whale eye which happens when they reveal the whites of their eyes. At the same time, they also tuck their ears, tuck their tail, raise hackles, lip-lick, yawn, and pant.
Also, your dog may avoid eye contact or look away, something like they are giving that “guilty” look. But the truth is, they are just reacting to your voice and body language, saying that there is something wrong.
However, body language could mean a lot as well, so you may also check the following signs.
Are they constantly growling lately? If yes, your dog is definitely stressed! Whenever your dog growls, this means that they are uncomfortable.
Growling can also mean that they feel threatened, their space is invaded, or something hurts. Most dog owners may think growling is aggressive, but it should not be if you deal with it the right way.
Don’t discourage or punish your dog from growling because when they get in trouble for doing it the first time, the next time, most likely, they will go straight to a bite. The best way to deal with growling is to respect their space or figure out another way to calm them down. Maybe some treats could help?
3. Whining or barking
Have you heard a dog sound like they are stuck and in pain or like they are crying? That is basically whining—one of many forms of canine vocal communication. Meaning they are trying to talk to you!
Your dog whines to get your attention and show they are anxious. Most dogs can’t control their whining whenever they feel stressed. This is their automatic response when dealing with stress, which is pretty similar to when they also bark. Barking is one most obvious signs that something is bothering your dog. For example, when someone unknown goes inside your home, they would bark and then can’t control it.
Freezing or becoming stiff is another clear sign of dog stress. There are two possible meanings behind this: (1) your dog is simply showing submission or (2) they are shutting down. When you notice your dog freezing, you must not ignore it because it can be harmful to your pup.
Dogs pacing back and forth is an indication that they are anxious and under stress. Normally when this happens during mealtimes or for a short period of time, there is nothing to worry about. However, when it occurs consistently, it’s time to seek veterinarian help.
According to a book by Norwegian dog trainer Turid Rugaas, dogs generally need more than 30 days to avoid stressful situations and condition themselves. Dogs will try to calm themselves, diffuse the situation, and tell you or another dog that they are not a threat during this period.