Holidays are fun yet filled with stress, especially for your dog. Their whole world turns upside down, thanks to there being more people around, including kids they may not know well. All of this can make your dog feel uncomfortable — and can create a situation where they may bite if you do not correctly read their body language.
Here are some of the less common ways dogs tell us they are stressed, so you can recognize anxiety before it escalates. Get the Dog Decoder app for additional help. It’s available in iTunes and Google play.
This is one of the first signs a dogs gives, and it is often ignored because many people don’t read it as anxiety. If you do see it, remove your dog from the situation and help them feel safe. Remember: A dog never bites out of the blue. There are many ways they show stress before it happens.
When it’s not warm and your dog is panting, it means they are experiencing a high level of stress and need to be removed from whatever is causing the anxiety.
A tongue flick happens so fast it often goes unnoticed, yet it is again one of the first signs of stress that dogs use to tell you they are feeling anxious.
Pick up your dog’s toys, food, and other items if they aren’t used to having company, especially young visitors. Some dogs guard their belongings, and one of the first ways they do so is to become stiff and stop playing or chewing on the item. When you see your dog go still like this, remove them from the situation. When they are safely away, you can explain to your guests the signs that showed your dog was stressed. Kids actually love playing with the Dog Decoder app and see it as a game. You are your dog’s advocate, and this means keeping them safe while teaching others how to be safe around dogs as well.
Don’t be a statistic at the ER room this holiday season. Keep you, friends and family, and your dog safe with these tips.
About the author: Jill Breitner is a professional dog trainer and dog body language expert, loving and living life with friends and family. She a certified Fear Free Professional and the author of Dog Decoder, a smartphone app about dog body language. Join Jill on her Dog Decoder Facebook page.