Is your dog stressed or anxious? Are you?
A dog should be fun to live with and fit into your life almost seamlessly. A dog should also live a relatively stress-free existence. We should all be aspiring to 'a dog's life'!
If you find you're tying yourself in knots, making excuses or apologising for your dog's behaviour, or adjusting your life or household beyond your dog's basic needs, chances are that he is stressed.
If you find yourself saying 'my dog's afraid of...' or 'doesn't like...', 'he’s protecting me' or you can't do this or that, or go here or there, life is not as much fun as it might be for you or your dog.
Stress might be manifesting as barking, chewing, 'aggressive' behaviour, jumping, digging, destroying property, pacing, whining, 'nervousness', 'fear'...
Dealing with a stressed dog is stressful.
The hard thing for some people to hear is, most of a dog’s stress that manifests with problem behaviour is caused by people.
More likely, it's your interpretation of the world, and what you communicate that is the source of the problem. It may be your anxiety playing out rather than your dog's. Not fun for you. Not fun for your dog.
In a way, knowing this is a people-problem is good news. You can do something about it.
Your job is to show your dog the ways of the world without fuss and fear. Sometimes you've just gotta let your dog scuff his knees, and learn to deal with things on his own.
Lead your exploration of the world with quiet strength and confidence. Think the opposite of helicopter parent, and do that!
If you need help to relax and enjoy your dog more, and to make your dog's life less stressful, get in touch!