Wyatt Ryan

Signs of Stress While Training

When you get your new dog fence, it can be a fun and exciting time for you and your pet. You know that your goal is to allow your dog to have more freedom while keeping them safe. However, remember that your dog doesn’t know this. It should be enjoyable to introduce and train your dog to use the new fence system. However, at times a dog may feel stressed due to the changes to their routine and territory.

As every dog is different, signs of stress can vary from one dog to another and one situation to another. Watch your dog carefully during the introduction and training process and deal with any signs of stress right away. If your dog does happen to show signs of stress, he will no longer be able to learn. Should you happen to see signs of stress in your dog:

  1. Take a break
  2. Make sure the stressful behavior stops, by slowing down training until you move onto the next step
  3. Training sessions should be shorter and more frequent
  4. To keep training enjoyable and encouraging, add more play and positive reinforcement

It depends on the situation and the dog as to what signs of stress they may show. Different stressors will cause each dog to react differently. The following is a list of stress behaviors that you can use to identify and handle stress in your dog. As the stressful behavior gets worse the longer or more often that the dog is exposed to the stressor, it is important to spot and handle the stress behavior quickly, in order to avoid creating negative associations with the fence or training on it. This can only make the stressful behavior worse.

Signs of Stress in Your Dog 

Mildly Stressed

  1. Your dog deliberately looks away when you try to make eye contact
  2. His ears are pinned back against his head
  3. Animated yawning, which is more frequent and dramatic. The corners of the mouth are held back with facial tension
  4. His tail is tucked with just the tip of it wagging
  5. Shaking off, as if he is trying to get water off of himself
  6. Vocalizing excessively, whining, yapping or barking too much

Moderately Stressed

  1. His legs are bent and is body is held close to the ground.
  2. His tail is down, which is a sign of submission that often comes with extreme anxiety.
  3. Panting or lip licking that doesn’t stop. This happens even when he is not particularly hot and there is facial tension present.
  4. Unusual eye expressions such as dilated pupils, wide eyes or ‘crazy eyes’
  5. Sweating on the pads of the paws
  6. Refusing to play or enjoy eating treats
  7. Shedding a large amount of hair in a short period of time

Extremely Stressed

  1. He stares a lot without blinking
  2. Drooling excessively in a dog that doesn’t normally drool
  3. Submissive urinating or losing bowel control in a dog that is normally healthy
  4. His whole body is trembling or shaking, as if he is cold
  5. A stiff body with raised hair on his back. This is a warning sign that happens right before he becomes aggressive

Signs of a Relaxed Dog

  1. His ears are up, or just relaxed and floppy if the dog’s ears are naturally this way
  2. His tail is up and wagging
  3. His mouth is open without tension and the corners of the mouth are relaxed
  4. His front end is lowered with his bottom held in the air
  5. Happy and excited behavior with barking, running or bouncing

Photo by Wyatt Ryan on Unsplash