Ok, so if anyone actually read my previous post called Stress Stacking-- Part 1, then here's my second part. (hopefully some of you guys read it...)
So, if your dog is exhibiting some aggressive behavior at times, think about whether your dog is dealing with stress stacking. Most of us don't think too much about this when thinking about our dogs. But they have stress, too. Sometimes way too much stress!! And we all know too much stress can lead to us humans getting super grumpy or snappy or even "aggressive", right??
I started thinking hard about all this when I adopted my Gracie dog who sometimes will "freak out" (or tweak) at "nothing" and it was so perplexing to me. The more I thought about it in terms of stress stacking, I seemed to understand her better, be more proactive about helping her deal with her (zillion) stressors ---and thus have GREATLY reduced the amount of freakouts/tweaks over time! What may help is to get a pen and paper and write down all the things that seem to stress your dog out. Even minor/small stressors count.
Examples may include:
1)annoying cat that stares down dog
2)guests coming to house
4)nail trim/grooming session/bath!
5)owners go on vacation
6)owner working new schedule
9)new food/diet change -may upset tummy
10)owner in bad mood/yelling at humans in house
11)squirrels teasing dog
12)not enough exercise
13)too much exercise
14) not enough sleep/interrupted sleep
15)playtime with other dogs...can be stress overload
16)getting overstimulated in play
17)heat--damn hot here in Texas
18)change in dog's schedule
19)owner preoccupied/dog not getting "normal" amount of love/attention
20)new house/apartment--new place to potty
22)skateboards wizzing by
23)opossum in yard at night
24)men with beards, hats, deep voices, harsh voices
25)people with canes, walkers, wheelchairs........
26)dog next door barking at fence
27)people passing window at house
28)Fedex/UPS delivery people coming to house
29)"Bully" dog at dog park (not the breed)
30)Pain or body discomfort
Ok, that's a good start, right? I'm sure you guys can add to the list of things that stress your particular dogs out.. Heck, most of these stress us humans out, too, right??? Why wouldn't they cause stress to our dogs as well? Anyway, think about it next time your dog acts out aggressively! Consider how many stressors were going on in your dog's mind?
When a dog bites or lunges, etc I always want to know what preceded the bite...and what was going on that day and the days prior. '
Was it due to stress stacking?
If so, now that you made the list, see what you can do to make your dog more comfortable about EACH situation via counterconditioning, humane training, management techniques.... and most importantly helping to teach your dog to RELAX!!!