Does your dog emit signs of anxiety when he finds himself in a new environment? Does he tremble fear facing strangers? Does he bark constantly? Is he growling for no apparent reason? Is he on the defensive every time he meets another dog?
All of these behaviors may be the result of a gradual build-up of fears from the past. This article aims to help you understand, recognize and gradually manage stress of your animal.
Understanding the Causes of Your Dog’s Aggression and Anxiety
Many people confuse anxiety and fear ; however, there is a small nuance between these two terms. In dogs, as in most canines, fear is a short-lived emotion that arises when faced with a real or imaginary threat. These reactions turn out essential for survival since it helps him to make safe decisions, to flee an embarrassing situation or to defend himself temporarily in the face of external aggression. However, when this emotion intensifies and then persists over time, it tends to turn into a harmful feeling.
An anxious dog constantly anticipates a threat that could arise at any time. As a result, he often adopts aggressive behaviors to protect himself from it. Generally, a multitude of factors can worry your pet:
- Poor socialization;
- Its genetics;
- His living environment;
- A difficult separation (death of a loved one, absence of a loved one, sadness, etc.);
- His unpleasant experiences, trauma or psychological damage for example).
Recognize behavioral disorders in a dog
A stressed dog tends to develop a number of annoying obsessive disorder including phobias, panic attacks and aggression. He reacts quickly and emotionally to certain situations that he considers embarrassing. He may have trouble calming down, which very often will be the cause of his anxiety. This feeling pushes him to gradually unlearn what he knew before. He is then unable to accept new knowledge while gradually sinking into depression. In the vast majority of cases, the animal ends up getting sick.
When a dog is anxious, he can:
- Touching the paws, genitals, sides, nose for a long time (sometimes until the flow of blood). If licking is compulsive and unhygienic, prompt action should be taken;
- Become listless: he sleeps all day long and ignores the demands of games;
- Tempted to grab his own tail fiercely;
- Ransacking the house: mostly when you go out and he notices your absence. It is a way for him to externalize his stress;
- Go back and forth at home: he goes to bed, gets up straight away, then walks in circles without stopping;
- Self-mutilate: tear off the claws or constantly scratch the tail, sides and paws. This behavior means that he is trying to overcome his anxiety through physical activity.
If he is fearful, he will tend to exhibit at least one of his non-exhaustive signs:
- Losing your hair;
- Growl at the approach of a stranger;
- Lay your ears backwards with a surprised look;
- Fix an object without looking away;
- Stay frozen in place;
- Slowly blink your eyes;
- Be hyper vigilant;
- Urinate or defecate anywhere;
- Show his teeth as if he is trying to devour a prey;
- Widen his eyes, letting the white appear;
- Bite into the void;
- Yawn constantly;
- Crying or squealing, while shaking;
- Inspect his private parts very often;
- Place his feet between his paws;
- Running out of breath;
- Produce diarrhea or vomit.
A nasty dog, dangerous for those around him and for himself, presents these symptoms:
- Barking inadvertently;
- Develop heightened nervousness;
- Run away regularly;
- Become messy;
- Demonstrate hyperactivity;
- Eating your feces (coprophagia);
- Show its asociability.
Adopt natural and preventive solutions against anxiety and aggression in dogs
There are many natural remediesto reduce stress and manage aggression in your furry friend. Here are a few.
1. Reduce stress in dogs
Place your dog in a calm environment , especially if he hates noises: dogs’ hearing is highly developed. By moving him away from noisy places, you will help him calm down.
Talk to him calmly and maintain a reassuring atmosphere at home: dogs are people full of emotions, constantly observing their environment.
2. Control the dog’s aggressiveness
When the atmosphere is charged with tensions, cries, arguments, insults or nervousness, they soak up these bad waves. The logical consequence is that he too follows the trend. Avoid taking him to places he doesn’t like : this will only increase his anxieties.
Also, refrain from punishing him when he is anxious: he may bite you, keep an uncomfortable memory or see you as his enemy. Help your pet to conquer your fears by turning them into positivity : no need to let your dog sink under the weight of his fears, or worse, get angry with him. This attitude can have harmful consequences for you as well as for your dog.
In short, your pet may have had an emotional shock that is difficult to forget when he was young. Apart from medical treatment, thestress and aggression in dogs can disappear naturally thanks to the love you give him. Do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian; this animal expert will find the adapted solutionsto boost the morale of your faithful companion.
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