It's not uncommon for us to find our dog sprawled out on his bed, seemingly without a care in the world no matter what new adventures or challenges he's had that day. And for many dogs, that is true! Domesticated dogs are generally adaptable (and even enjoy) exposure to new environments, people and activities. But just like human’s, not all dog brains are built the same and some are more sensitive to their surroundings - resulting in easily triggered anxiety.
This stress can come from a variety of sources, and when untreated it can manifest itself in a variety of ways including bad behavior and even health issues. Separation anxiety, changes to environment and fear are all common stressors amongst dogs. Similar to human’s body, when a dog is stressed his energy shifts to muscles for fight or flight, and functions like digestion cease and blood pressure is elevated. Shifting back to “normal” after a stressful situation is difficult and if a body exists in a stressed state for too long, it can lead to long term problems. Short term affects are instinctual such as barking to alert danger, digging and scratching to burrow and destruction to establish control. When his reaction to stress are met by scolding as ‘bad behavior,’ this issue is compounded.
What to Do
Additional Information from Dog Expert Victoria Stilwell
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