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Positive Dog Parenting

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS/P

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Dog Stress


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Why dogs act out

To prevent these common dog behavior complaints as well as house soiling and hyperactivity, you must consider two important factors. 

One, canines are a different species but do have some of the same basic needs that humans do. Your dog needs a certain amount exercise, companionship, and mental stimulation every day. It is cruel to keep a dog cooped up in a back yard. 

Second, you must think from the dog's point of view. How can you motivate your dog (and help your dog how) to learn a basic human vocabulary such as come, sit, down, stay, wait, inside, outside, move, easy, quiet, off, etc.

Unfortunately, dogs today share the same stresses and problems as their human families. It's typical these days for dogs be home alone all day while their people are working. When their people come home, they may not have the motivation to exercise the dog, provide valued and needed companionship, interactive play and instruction as part of important dog-human communication.

What is dog stress?


Signs of stress include any new behavior such as hiding, cowering, shaking, tail tucked, inappropriate elimination, abnormal destruction, not eating, not greeting you, eve lack of coat luster.


What to do about it?

If your dog is showing signs of stress and medical causes have been ruled out by a veterinarian, then try to lower your canine's stress at home. The best start is to consult with a veterinary behavior consultant to get started on a structured program. If that isn't possible, then set up a daily routine that meets the following criteria.

      Feed the dog twice daily, starting with hand feeding the first 10 kibbles in exchange for the dog learning and following human words such as come, sit, down, stay, etc.

       Provide a routine of daily exercise off of the property such as a walk around the block at a minimum.

       Teach the dog to be on a mat indoors with you by putting the dog on leash to keep him from wandering and providing a good, long lasting chew.

In addition, lower canine stress in these ways:

  • Increase resources or decrease number of dogs

  • Provide daily interactive play such as "catch" or games recommended in Error Free Puppy Raising Tips by Dr. Rolan and Susan Tripp, MS

  • Make sure your dog has fresh water daily - run dishes through the dishwasher after daily us

  • Kennel train your dog so the dog has a safe, private place to hang and relax indoors.

  • Groom your dog so your dog is more huggable and comfortable.

If your dog gets a clean bill of health, then most likely, the stress is coming from something or someone in the home environment or just outside the home.

What not to do?

Do not soothe the dog when showing signs of stress as studies indicate that soothing may be perceived as encouragement or reinforcement of the behaviors.

Do not pay any attention (even talking to) when the dog is showing stress.

Do not approach the dog as you may get attacked or bitten.
Do not add to the stress by forcing anything or anybody on the dog.

Do not change anything such as food type unless recommended by the veterinarian.

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