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Article: Stress in dogs

Stress beim Hund - Anzeichen, Clownface und mehr

Stress in dogs

Dogs' bodies, like those of humans, react to threats with stress. At first glance, stress in dogs is completely natural and can even be important for survival. Stress causes the body to mobilize all its resources to be ready if the worst comes to the worst. Adrenaline and cortisol are released in the body. Just like with us humans, this leads to a higher heart and breathing rate and blood pressure and blood sugar levels rise. Our dogs get into tunnel vision and their sense of pain is often reduced. An acute reaction due to stress is usually followed by a recovery phase. This brings the body back into balance. This is why breaks are so important for our dogs. A distinction is made between internal and external stress. External stress is the reaction to external stimuli that makes our dogs feel at risk. This can be a lack of stimuli or the opposite, absolute overstimulation. Over-demanding, under-challenging or punishment can also lead to external stress. When we are under internal stress, our dogs' bodies are permanently out of balance. This can result from food, water or sleep deprivation. But fear and pain can also trigger internal stress. Dogs that are under stress react to stimuli in a more extreme way, often have a high level of aggression and are easily irritated, and their concentration and willingness to perform decrease significantly.

No dog can learn under severe stress; it is blocked and not receptive. He ignores everything and focuses entirely on the thing that triggers the stress in him. This is also the reason why many dogs become unresponsive during training - they cannot react differently at this moment!

Signs of stress
No dog can learn under severe stress; it is blocked and not receptive. He ignores everything and focuses entirely on the thing that is causing him stress. This is also the reason why many dogs become unresponsive during training - they cannot react differently at this moment!
We should understand this and not react with anger or even disappointment. Our dogs can't help themselves in moments like this. Dogs show a lot of signs of stress. Below I will name a few of them.

This is how you can recognize stress in your dogs:
  • Appeasement signals such as yawning, licking your nose, turning your head to the side, flicking your tongue, blinking, squinting your eyes
  • Skipping actions such as shaking, scratching, turning in circles, increased urge to chew, chasing tail, etc.
  • Restlessness, nervousness, hyperactivity
  • high reactivity, disproportionate aggression
  • Panic, fear
  • Auto-aggressiveness (self-harming behavior in the form of, for example, excessive paw licking, tail chewing)
  • Red eyes
  • Stress face (clown face)
  • Trembling, increased salivation
  • heavy panting
  • tense muscles
  • Yelling and whimpering
  • excessive personal hygiene

Always pay attention to your dog's body language, how is his tail? How are the ears aligned? Is he getting stiff? Is he tense? The list of signs of stress is long.

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