We talk to our dogs constantly. Whether it’s greeting them “good morning”, or giving basic obedience commands throughout the day, we are consistently communicating with our animals. As one of the few species that understands what a pointed-finger indicates, dogs are also masters of interpreting human body language.
But when it comes to recognizing stress in our dogs, we typically only see the distinct signals our dogs are giving us. These may include shaking, hiding under the table, growling or biting. In other words, we recognize their fear and aggression too late to intervene.
If you live in an urban area, there are many scenarios where your dog may begin to show signs of stress. Areas of heavy traffic, loud construction noises, and strangers approaching your dog may be a trigger for a stressful response. Everyday situations may also cause stress for your dog, such when you prepare to leave for work, put on your dog’s leash, or invite a friend over for dinner.
By learning how to interpret the subtle signals your dog is giving you, you can begin to recognize when your dog may be feeling fearful or overly-stimulated.
The infographic below outlines some common indicators that your dog may be feeling excessive excitement or stress:
If you notice your dog starting to show signs of fear or aggression, speak with a certified professional trainer about strategies to help you and your dog develop positive associations with new or potentially-stressful situations.