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Signs Of Stress While Training

Getting a new dog fence is a fun and exciting time for you and your pet. While you're aware that the end goal is to give your pet more freedom and keep them safe, remember that they don't know this! Introducing and training your dog to use the new fence system should be fun but sometimes dogs can be stressed by the changes to their routine and territory. 

Every dog is different and signs of stress vary from dog to dog and situation to situation. Keep an eye on your dog during the introduction and training with the electric dog fence and address any signs of stress quickly. If your dog does exhibit signs of stress, he is no longer able to learn. If you see signs of stress in your dog:

  1. Take a break
  2. Slow down the training making sure the stress behavior is eliminated before moving on to the next step
  3. Use shorter but more frequent training sessions
  4. Add more play and positive reinforcement to keep training fun and encouraging for your dog

Signs of stress in dogs vary depending on the situation/stressor and the dog. Each dog will react differently to different stressors. The following list of stress behaviors can help you to identify and deal with stress in your dog. Since stress behavior escalates the longer or more often the dog is subjected to the stressor, it is important to detect and deal quickly with stress behavior to avoid creating negative associations with the dog fence or training or escalating the stress behavior. 

Signs of Stress in Your Dog

    Mildly Stressed    

  1. Avoiding Eye Contact: Deliberately looking away.
  2. Ears Back: Ears held back against the head.
  3. Yawning: Not your everyday "just had a nice nap" yawn, this is a more dramatic and animated behavior and usually paired with the corner of the mouth held back with face tension.
  4. Tip of the Tail Wag: Unlike the happy, fast-paced, full tail wag, this is more unsure and wary. Tail is tucked with just the tip wagging.
  5. Shaking Off: As in shaking off water.
  6. Excessive Vocalization: Some dogs are always mouthy but others whine, yap, or bark excessively to relieve or convey stress.

 

   Moderately Stressed    

  1. Body Lowered: Legs bent, body closer to the ground.
  2. Tail Down: A sign of submission often accompanied by extreme anxiety.
  3. Panting/Incessant Lip Licking: When it's not particularly hot, usually accompanied by facial tension.
  4. Dilated Pupils: Wide eyes or 'crazy eyes'.
  5. Paw Sweat: Sweating through the pads of the paws.
  6. Refusing Treats/Play: Dogs only eat or play when they are relaxed and comfortable.
  7. Shedding: Involuntary shedding, a relatively large amount in a short period of time. 

 

   Extremely Stressed    

  1. Staring: An unblinking stare in the animal kingdom is most usually an invitiation to fight or flee.
  2. Drooling: Or excessive drooling in a dog that is not prone to normal drooling.
  3. Inappropriate Elimination: Submissive urination or loss of bowel control in an otherwise healthy dog.
  4. Trembling: Whole body shaking or trembling as if cold. 
  5. Stiff Body/Raised Hair On Back: Warning sign preceeding aggression.
 

Canine Body Language and Signs of Stress

Signs of A Relaxed Dog

  1. Ears Up: Or simply relaxed and floppy in a dog with naturally floppy ears. 
  2. Tail Up and/or Wagging: The universal sign of happy dogs.
  3. Mouth Open:  But without tension, the corners of the mouth are relaxed.
  4. Play Bow: Front end lowered with bum in the air. 
  5. Excited Barking and/or Running/Bouncing: Happy excited behavior.