Dog Training in Denver: Weekly Roundup – Episode 8

Posted on May 25th, 2018 by FetchMasters in Dog Training in Denver: Weekly Roundup

In this episode of the Roundup, I want to hit on just one topic — the importance of reducing your dog’s stress — both in life and training.

Reasons to Reduce Your Dog’s Stress

stressTo help people understand the impact of prolonged stress on dogs, it helps to comprehend its impact on human health. While I cannot prove both species experience stress identically, bodies are bodies to a large degree. The vascular systems, digestive systems, immune systems, bones and flesh of humans and dogs share many similarities. Based on the article linked to above, the following symptoms of prolonged stress occur in humans:

  • Headaches
  • Increased Depression
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Risk of Heart Attack
  • High Blood Sugar
  • Pounding Heart
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Fertility Problems
  • Stomachache
  • Tense Muscles
  • Sexual Problems

It only makes sense that some of these symptoms translate to dogs as well, negatively affecting their overall health. Additionally, it is easy to observe the immediate, outward effects of stress in dogs. A stressed dog learns more slowly, has more difficulty focusing, displays avoidance behaviors, etc.

According to this article, it causes the following additional symptoms in dogs:

  • Digestive Issues
  • Decrease in Appetite
  • Self-Isolation
  • Increased Sleeping
  • Aggression Towards People or Other Animals

Nobody acquires a dog to make it miserable. But many people do inadvertantly put their dogs in continuously stressful environments and situations. And they often choose training options in which dogs learn to obey for fear of encountering stress (via pain, discomfort or fear).

But don’t dogs need to know how to handle stress?

Well, sure. It is important that a dog be able to stay calm in difficult situations from time to time. They also should be able to deal gracefully with the unexpected for the most part. This can be accomplished largely through simple counter-conditioning and solid obedience training (both of which help dogs become more confident and stable).

Enduring a little stress does NOT mean that dogs should have to incessantly endure frightening environments, harsh training, and uncomfortable encounters, etc.

You cannot continuously endure it without your health and psychology suffering. Why should your dog have to?

Just some thoughts to ponder. Be well, FetchMasters friends and family, and have a great Memorial Day weekend.