April 1, 2021
Everyone’s seen it. You’ve probably done it yourself. You’re at the vet, tapping your foot on the ground while you wait for a nurse to take you into a room. Your dog stands faithfully by your side, whining as high as his vocal chords allow. You pat the top of his head and say “Shhh, you’re fine. We’ll be in and out.” Or maybe you’re out for your morning walk and your neighbor’s dog stands at the fence, barking at everything that passes by. Caught up in the moment, your dog immediately takes off at the end of her leash, mimicking the dog’s energy. You pick her up to comfort her-not to mention it’s easier to get by the yard when she’s in your arms. In both these scenarios, you are innocently trying to make your dog feel happier and safer. Unfortunately, what you’re doing instead is teaching him that the vet is definitely a scary enough place, and that the neighbor’s dog would have surely eaten her if it weren’t for you. If attending to your stressed pup is only going to stress them out more, how are you supposed to convince them that the world isn’t a scary, bad place?
You ignore them! For many pet owners, this can be a difficult feat. After all, we love our pups, and when they’re scared we want to make them feel better. However, the only way to teach them that the world isn’t scary is to act like nothing is a big deal. Our dogs look to us for everything, including how to react. If we reinforce stressed behavior, they’ll learn to be stressed. But if you are sitting on a park bench, a man and his Dachshund walk by, and you couldn’t care less? Your dog won’t care either. This can take some time and a lot of people-watching, but you’ll soon see a difference in your dog when you praise relaxation and ignore stress. If you have any questions or want to learn more about creating a relaxed, happy dog, give us a call at (443) 926-4335 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.