Do Dogs Get Stressed?
Many common behavior problems in dogs may be related to stress. Anything that changes a dog’s routine can be the cause of stress: you start dating a new person; a new baby in the house or a big move. Things that threaten a dog’s sense of order or his place in the household can make him feel stressed and lead to bad behavior such as soiling in the house, destructive chewing, separation anxiety, and even growling or guarding objects. This is similar to a child acting out for attention.
Other signs that your dog may be feeling stressed would include a loss of appetite, a change in his sleeping pattern, demands for affection or, alternately, seeming to be aloof to you. Your dog may generally seem restless and unhappy. He may lose interest in toys and other things that typically make him happy. He will be unwilling to play.
If you think that your dog is experiencing stress then you should try to discover what is causing him to feel that way. Have there been any noticeable changes in your household recently? Are there new people in your home? Has someone important left the home? Has the routine changed? Is your dog receiving less attention than he usually receives?
Even bringing in a new puppy or dog into your home can be a cause of tremendous stress for your dog. Many owners believe that they are bringing a friend for their dog when they get a new pet but from your dog’s perspective it may seem you brought a rival into the home. This can be a very stressful situation for your dog. The two animals may become friends, but not always.
Once you have identified the cause of your dog’s stress, do what you can to improve the situation. Sometimes there isn’t much you can do to change things, but you can include your dog in events so he won’t feel left out. Make sure that your dog is getting plenty of attention. Spend some extra time with him to help him adjust to the changes.
Dogs don’t like a lot of change in their routine, especially in the home. Introduce changes slowly and consider their affect on your dog. If you ease your dog into the changes and help him get used to them things will go a lot more smoothly.