Does your dog show signs of anxiety when he is in a new environment? Does he tremble with fear in front of strangers? Does he bark constantly? Does he growl for no apparent reason? Is he defensive whenever he meets another dog?
All of these behaviors may be the result of a gradual accumulation of past fears. This article will help you understand, recognize and gradually manage your pet’s stress.
Understanding the causes of your dog’s aggression and anxiety
Many people confuse anxiety with fear; however, there is a slight difference between the two terms. In dogs, as in most canines, fear is a short-lived emotion that arises in response to a real or imagined threat. These reactions are essential for survival since they help the dog make safe decisions, escape an embarrassing situation or defend itself momentarily against an external aggression. However, when this emotion intensifies and persists over time, it tends to turn into a harmful feeling.
An anxious dog constantly anticipates a threat that could occur at any moment. As a result, he often adopts aggressive behaviors to protect himself. Generally, a multitude of factors can make your pet anxious:
- A bad socialization ;
- Its genetics;
- Its living environment;
- A difficult separation (death of a loved one, absence of a relative, sadness…);
- His unpleasant experiences, a trauma or a psychological damage for example).
Recognizing behavioral problems in a dog
A stressed dog tends to develop a number of obsessive-compulsive disorders including phobias, panic attacks and aggression. He reacts in a hasty and emotional manner to certain situations that he considers embarrassing. They may have difficulty calming down, which is often the cause of their anxiety. This feeling pushes him to gradually unlearn what he knew before. He is then unable to accept new knowledge while sinking little by little into depression. In the vast majority of cases, the animal ends up getting sick.
My dog is anxious
When a dog is anxious, it may :
- Lick his paws, genitals, flanks, nose over a long period of time (sometimes to the point of blood flow). If the licking is compulsive and not hygienic, it is advisable to act promptly;
- Become apathetic: he sleeps all day long and ignores the solicitations to play;
- Attempt to grab its own tail with determination;
- Ransacking the house: mostly when you go out and he notices your absence. This is his way of venting his stress;
- Going back and forth in the house: he lies down, gets up right away and then goes around in circles without stopping;
- Mutilating himself: clawing or scratching his tail, flanks and paws constantly. This behavior means that he is trying to overcome his anxiety through physical activity.
My dog is fearful
If he is fearful, he will tend to exhibit at least one of the following non-exhaustive signs:
- Shedding hair ;
- Growling at the approach of a stranger;
- Laying his ears back with a surprised look;
- Staring at an object without looking away;
- Staying frozen in place;
- Blinking slowly;
- Be hyper vigilant;
- Urinating or defecating anywhere;
- Showing teeth as if trying to devour a prey;
- Spreading his eyes, letting the white appear;
- Biting in the void ;
- Constant yawning;
- Crying or squeaking, while trembling;
- Inspecting its private parts very often;
- Putting his feet between his paws;
- Lack of breath;
- Produce diarrhea or vomit.
My dog is aggressive
A vicious dog, dangerous to those around him and to himself, shows these symptoms:
- Barking in an untimely manner;
- Develop an exacerbated nervousness;
- Run away regularly;
- Becoming dirty;
- Showing hyperactivity;
- Eat its excrements (coprophagia);
- Showing his asociability.
Adopting natural and preventive solutions against anxiety and aggressiveness in dogs
There are many natural remedies to reduce stress and manage aggression in your four-legged friend. Here are a few of them.
1/Reducing stress in dogs
Place your dog in a quiet environment, especially if he hates noise: dogs’ hearing is highly developed. Keeping your dog away from noisy places will help calm him down.
Talk to him calmly and maintain a reassuring atmosphere at home: dogs are beings full of emotions, constantly observing their environment.
2/Controlling the dog’s aggressiveness
When the atmosphere is full of tension, shouting, arguments, insults or nervousness, they soak up these bad waves. The next logical step is for your dog to follow the trend. Avoid taking him to places he doesn’t like: this will only increase his anxiety.
Also, don’t punish him when he’s anxious: he may bite you, hold on to an uncomfortable memory or see you as his enemy. Help your dog overcome his fears by turning them into positivity: there’s no need to let your dog sink under the weight of his fears, or worse, to get angry at him. This attitude can have harmful consequences for you and your dog.
In short, your dog may have had an emotional shock at an early age that is difficult to forget. Apart from medical treatment, stress and aggressiveness in dogs can disappear naturally, thanks to the love you give him. Do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian; this animal expert will know how to find the right solutions to raise your faithful companion’s morale.