Friday, April 4, 2008

Yikes! What's that??!! Stress!

I've had a couple scary things happen and now I know what it's like to feel stress. I was in the dog park and I heard this really loud noise that Jenn said was a trash dumpster being emptied. I heard it and just ran and ran trying to get away. Jenn said I shouldn't be concerned, that the scary noise wouldn't hurt me. She didn't get upset or coddle me. She just told me to do some tricks for her and she fed me some treats which got my mind back to a thinking place. Giving commands and rewards is a great way to help your puppy deal with new stressful situations. Puppies between 6-12 months can get scared at objects and noises and we need to learn they are OK (see fear periods).
This is what I look like when I'm scared, concerned or stressed. My ears go back on my head, and my face gets all tense. Can't you see how freaked out I am? When I'm stressed, I also might yawn, pant/salivate, shake off, lick my lips, pace, whine, etc. Most dogs have a range of signals that indicate stress and it can be helpful for you as their person, to recognize stress in your dog. You can learn more about stress signals by reading the book by Turid Rugaas called "Calming Signals". Read this article for more info.

1 comment:

Niamh said...

Hi Royal,

Sorry to hear that you had such a scary experience at the dog park. I'm more afraid of new objects than noises but I know what you mean about stress. I'm glad that Jenn gave you treats. Barbara does the same for me and it really helps.

Your friend,