Stress in the Dog
I was waiting at the vet to have an ultrasound scan of my Lagotta. The usual anxiety when I go for ultrasound to confirm pregnancy. To deceive the wait and to think about something else, I take a magazine and start leafing through. Ah here is an interesting article on the stress of dogs. Let’s see if there are new things we don’t know.
Entrusting our Lagotto puppies to families who are often the first dog is a strong unknown for us. Generally everything goes well but inevitably mistakes are made due to inexperience.
Recognising the stress of the dog, what can cause it and how to manage it is certainly a subject dear to us.
It is difficult to think of the dog as a stressed being. We have the same difficulty in thinking that the families who take our puppies can be a source of stress for the Lagotto.
Their lives are generally affluent, covered in cuddles and attention, yet dogs are under stress. Sometimes they are short-lived and other times they take on chronic forms.
I read in the article that research has shown the connection between the brain and intestine and how a hormone is responsible for gastrointestinal disorders and diabetes.
A confirmation that from direct experience and by talking to veterinarians we had given as a matter of course…. better!
Causes of stress in dogs
A simple overview of what can be the sources of stress for our dog, or as in our case of the puppy.
- For the Lagotto Romagnolo the novelty in general is almost always lived with mistrust. Changes in the living situation, changes in the family nucleus, changes in schedules and routine
- Absence of venting valves such as walking, outdoor games, driving and racing.
- Separation anxiety.
- Loud noises such as thunder or fireworks.
- Invasion of personal space such as interruption of rest, unwelcome hugs and kisses, physical constraint.
Methods of coercive punishment are a strong source of stress inspired by loud noises and invasion of personal space. It goes without saying, however, that they should not be used.
How to recognize stress in the Dog: the signals
The ability to withstand stressful situations is subjective.
The following stress signals may also depend on other causes.
They are signs of discomfort that can be caused not only by stress.
Common sense and knowledge of the habits of our Lagotto should make us stand out if we are talking about stress or something else.
- Yawning and a tendency to lick one’s nose as frequently as for men the dog is getting bored.
- Low tail and between the legs, ears pulled back or squatting posture generally causes some fear.
- Loss of appetite or diaree. In new situations such as the arrival in the new family is quite frequent. It is important to know the reason and help your puppy or dog brilliantly get through this moment. If the condition lasts longer than a few days, it is advisable to consult a vet.
- Fatigue, tremor and increased vocalisation. If it’s just stress, the dog is psychologically weak and severely uncomfortable. It is very likely that there are competing causes to have created such a sad picture. It is essential to consult a vet to understand not only how to better manage the Lagotto dog but also other problems or pathologies.
How to manage the stress of an Italian Water Dog
The stress management strategies of a Dog are similar for other breeds. Knowing the breed and knowing that aggressiveness such as the attempt of continuous escapes is not part of the atavistic instincts of the Lagotto Romagnolo, we will focus on what is most relevant in our case.
- Ensuring the safety of the Lagotto and the members of the family. Especially in the initial period after the arrival of the puppy, having a safe and comfortable place that can at certain times protect the puppy from the excessive attention of children ensures a balanced and serene growth.
- Avoid excessive recalls (it is obviously subjective of the Dog) in moments of stress or depression.
- Physical activity. As for humans, physical activity helps to free the mind and provides a feeling of physical pleasure.
- Eliminate sources of stress wherever possible, even thunderstorms or fireworks can have less impact if lived alongside family members.
- Gradual exposure to sources of stress. I am thinking for example of a car journey with your dog. For some dogs it is quite natural, for others they are often a strong source of stress. This is usually overcome by short trips and physical contact with family members. Slowly the problem is usually overcome. If at the end of the journey there is also fun to be had, the dog will soon associate the ride in