Humans and dogs are different species, but we tend to humanize our fur friends as much as possible.
We also do things that cause a dog stress unknowingly.
Take a look at my top human actions that stress dogs out the most!
1. Telling your Dog they are “A Good Dog” when they feel anxious or stressed.
It’s a common mistake we see all the time, especially in the vet clinic. Your dog is nervous, anxious, stressed and scared about being there.
So you want to make them feel better, so you pat them and tell them over and over what a good dog they are.
However, all this is doing is confirming to a dog that their anxiety and stress is warranted. They are correct and a ‘good dog’ for showing you how stressed out they are.
You are basically confirming they should be worried about what’s going to happen.
Instead – To reduce ‘Dog Stress’ Try to ignore the behaviour or just talk to them calmly about where they are.
They may not understand what you are saying, but by talking in a calm relaxed tone. You are providing them with more comfort and telling them there is no reason to be so anxious.
2. Standing Over Them And Watching Them Eat. Can Cause Dog Stress.
This is one people often look at me like I’m nuts but it’s true!
Dogs are pack animals! They have hierarchy instincts.
You are their ‘Alpha’ well you’re meant to be. Alpha issues is a whole different post so let us assume, all is well and you’re in charge.
In a pack ‘Alpha’ eats first, then when they are finished they walk away from the food and let the rest of the pack feed.
So when you feed your dog and proceed to stand over watching them eat.
You are confusing them and making them think they are ‘Alpha’. Hierarchy changes are stressful for some dogs. Others will jump at the chance to be ‘Alpha’ and make you stand there every time.
Instead – place the food and walk away. Make it clear, you as ‘Alpha’ are giving them their meal and leaving them to it.
This will help to reduce overall ‘Dog Stress’.
3. Getting Angry, When Your Dog Is Being A Dog Causes Dog Stress.
Dogs are dogs! They bark, itch, Chew and lick. Its what they do.
I have a very common example of how getting angry at a dog for being a dog stresses them out.
Dogs bark when people arrive at the house? Am I right? It can be super annoying.
So, we yell at them to shut up! or be quiet! Silly dog making all this noise when we invited people to come over.
Let us look at this from a dogs point of view. They are in their pack. You are their ‘alpha’ as we discussed before.
Did you know it is their job as a pack member to let ‘Alpha’
know when a potential danger/threat is approaching. How do they do this? They bark of course.
It is then ‘Alpha’s” job to investigate and confirm if the pack is ok or indeed in danger.
By yelling you are then confirming to your dog “Yes I see the Danger we are indeed under attack”.
That’s when all hell breaks loose and your dog goes into a barking frenzy to which you probably yell louder or shut them outside.
I have written a more detailed post on this, so if you are having trouble with this issue in your house check it out:
4. Having Inconsistent Rules And Boundaries.
Dogs like knowing what is happening. They thrive on consistency and routine.
So changing the rules on them from one day to the next stresses a dog out!
For example one day you let them on the couch or bed as a treat. Then the next day you scold them for it.
That stresses them out as they don’t understand why its all changed again?
Instead – Try to be as consistent as possible with your dogs boundaries.
5. Using Multiple Words For The Same Tick Or Behaviour.
There are many of examples but ill use this one.
“Sit”, “Sit Down”, “Sit There”, and “Sit There On Your Bed”. We all fall into the same trap. Using multiple words and sentences is confusing. Dogs don’t speak our language so make it as easy as possible for them.
“Sit” On its own will do and will cause your dog less stress trying to figure out what you want.
What are the signs of stress in a dog?
What can cause stress in dogs?
How can I relieve my dogs stress?
What are signs of separation anxiety in dogs?
Vocalization – Howling and barking while the dogs owner is out.
Destruction like chewing or digging
Change of Owner or Family
Change in Schedule.
Let me know what stresses your dog out the most in the comments below.
I may be able to write a post with some, tips or tricks to help you and your pooch.
As Always Thanks For Reading.