posted by Shotaro Nabeya 12/11/2020
Recognizing stress and anxiety in dogs is very important, these emotions can cause destructive behavior if not handled correctly.
Understanding what causes your dog to get anxious or stressed is understanding your dog’s personality. This knowledge helps you build a happy and safe environment for your dog to live in.
Some of the most common behavior that exhibit a nervous or anxious dog is spontaneous peeing or pooing, destructive behavior, tucking their tail, dilated pupils, packing, fidgeting, whining/whimpering, panting, avoiding eye contact, trying to hide, excessive licking, avoiding interactions.
Fear, phobia, and general anxiety in dogs all have similar symptoms and are very hard for us to differentiate which is which. The difference can usually be distinguished through how extreme your dog’s behavior is during the incident.
Fear is a normal response in animals. Dogs naturally keep an eye out for potential threats. This is a common response when your pet is in a new environment or is introduced to someone or something new. This response gradually dies down as your dog is exposed to it more. Most fear responses in dogs can be unlearned with gradual exposure and constant reassurance that everything is okay. If not dealt with in a timely manner, this fear could lead to long term phobia.
Phobia is when your dog exhibits persistent and excessive fear around a specific trigger. Some dogs can develop phobias of insects because of a painful sting they had once received, or even humans wearing a blue shirt because their abusive past owner used to wear blue a lot.
Dogs usually develop phobias if exposed to the same trigger over and over again without reassurance from their owners that everything will be fine. If reassurance and is not given, your dog could develop general anxiety where your dog thinks that their world is always unpredictable and anything could harm them at any time.
General anxiety disorder is a problem that occurs in dogs with low self-esteem. This can be caused by a number of things such as traumatic events in the past that were not handled properly as mentioned above, and even a change of routine or environment that is completely new to what your dog knows is safe.
Dogs with general anxiety disorders or any other forms of anxiety always seem to be on edge and unable to let their guard down.
According to experts, most dogs develop fears, phobias, and anxieties during the first 12 to 36 months of their life. It is advised to expose your dogs to new environments such as socializing with other dogs and humans, walking and exploring different environments, objects, and surfaces.
However, sometimes that is not always the case. Even if older dogs experience anxiety and stress, it is never too late to help fix this problem. Conditioning your dog to have a positive response with treats is the most widely known technique to work.