Help your dog overcome anxiety and stress.
As we continue to humanize our pets, we continue to interpret their world through our frame of reference. One of these “frames” is how we perceive anxiety in pets – and how we interpret behavior based on this anxiety. Often, we do not recognize the symptoms (in cats especially) only the outcomes (noise, damage, elimination, etc.) that results from this anxiety overtaking our pet’s normal behavior patterns. With a strong focus on pet adoption, more of these issues have seemed to come to the forefront – probably due to the separation challenges and stress of being in a kennel or shelter situation for extended periods of time. Studies have been done that show that pet adoptability drops the longer the animal is in the shelter – and this is due to socialization challenges and overall deterioration of an animal’s psyche when they are not part of an organized “pack”.
What can cause stress for your pet? In last month’s post I shared the secret “happiness” sauce – You!! So, when you are not there, stress levels go up. Studies show that most stress related anxiety comes out in the first 30 minutes of your departure. This likely is caused by the immediacy of your departure (dogs and cats do not have long-term memory – at least the way humans think of it) – but that “loss” can fade quickly. What dogs do have is “imprinting” (or associative memory) – both good and bad things that are associated with events. This is especially true with younger dogs – and the shelter dogs we discussed earlier may get some negative imprinting that will take a while to overcome. Animals live “in the now” – and anything a human can do to make the now better will help relieve stress.