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Stress Factors

Stress Management


 Dog Behavior Library
The Importance of Stress in Dogs

Causes Of Stress In Dogs

  • Lack of exercise.
  • Lack of companionship and mental stimulation.
  • Fleas, other parasites, or any medical condition.
  • Rivalry, real or perceived. E.g.,
    • New dog in the household or seen in neighborhood
    • Dog barking in the neighborhood
    • New baby
    • New scent in the house
  • Change of people work schedule
  • Change in feeding schedule
  • Someone raised his or her voice
  • Unclear or inconsistent leadership by owner
  • Owner or pack member gone too long

Symptoms Of Stress In Dogs

  • Overeating
  • Anorexia
  • Aggression
  • Excessive Barking
  • Excessive Digging
  • Excessive Licking
  • Excessive Salivation
  • Destructive Chewing
  • Inappropriate Elimination (urination or defecation)
The healthiest stress release for people and dogs is regular physical exercise. The second best stress release for dogs is appropriate chewing on an approved chew toy.

How Dogs Release Their Stress Compared To People

Although there is a great deal of individual variation, we can group stress relievers into three main categories: Oral, Vocal and Physical.

Oral Stress Relievers tend to chew things up. Among dogs, the main example is household destruction. In people, this shows up as thumb sucking, smoking, nail biting, and overeating.

Vocal Stress Relievers (canine) tend to bark, whine and howl. People tend to yell and curse.

Physical Stress Releasers tend to relieve stress by using their muscles. In dogs, this shows up as pulling on the leash, door dashing, and/or escaping. In people, we may see pacing, finger-tapping, hair-pulling, knuckle-cracking, squirming, etc.

Stress Defined: "The difference between what is, and how we think it should be."

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