Dogs are more anxious than you would expect.
Dogs are more anxious than you would expect. Very receptive to humans, they can mirror their emotions. Is the context of the COVID-19 mass confinement going to cause the animals more stress? According to vets, coming out of isolation might be more of a problem.
Best known for their cheery welcomes, goofy smiles and happy playtime, dogs are actually quite anxious creatures. A recent study on 14,000 dogs from 264 breeds suggests that anxious behaviours may be more than widespread. The largest-ever study on canine temperaments showed evidence that nearly three-quarters of the pets (72.5%) displayed at least one anxiety-related behaviour – and the relevant behavioural issues linked to those, such as barking or aggressiveness - with some variation across breeds.
James Burkett at Emory University in Atlanta who was not involved in the latest study said the work added to a growing body of research showing that dogs empathised with their owners.
“Dogs are affected by their owners’ distress and respond with consoling behaviours,” he said. “We now know that dogs are also affected by their owners’ personalities and stress levels. While this may be common sense for dog owners, empirical research is still catching up to our intuitions about animal empathy.”
Stress Awareness Month for you and your dog
Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures of our modern stress epidemic. The Stress Management Society has created a Challenge ‘The 30 Day Challenge’ that encourages you to pick one action each for your Physical, Mental and Emotional Well-being to carry out every day. You could even add actions for your social and spiritual wellness too.
Have you ever seen a dog wearing a yellow collar, lead or harness?
The yellow dog project was started by a dog trainer in Alberta Canada and is now know globally The idea was taken from tying a red ribbon on a horses tail if it was a kicker so people then tied yellow ribbons onto their dogs lead.
Sarah shares how she got started with My Anxious Dog
I have had dogs all my life and got a beautiful Cocker Spaniel Bella in 2012. She was brilliant in training and in our puppy class we even won the award for “Best dog in class”. However, as we progressed in classes Bella struggled with the “Stay” when I walked away and I did not understand this was because she was anxious. Unfortunately, Bella was attacked a couple of times (nothing too serious) when she was young and became fearful of other dogs. This also developed into being fearful of strangers and not liking to being touched. My dog trainer told me about using the yellow ribbon as it meant that she needed space but people did not know what this meant so I developed and tested my own range of yellow space awareness products. I found it such a massive help and it made me feel so much calmer. I have used the yellow harness and lead on Bella for over 3 years now and we never leave the house without it, I even put it on her every week at our agility classes because people forget and she looks too pretty. Bella’s levels when out in public improved massively as people did give her space, occasionally we have the odd dog come running up in the park but I explain what the yellow means so next time they see a dog in yellow they will understand what it means.
However, life isn't easy and sometimes things don't run smoothly and they become reactive.
You are working really hard to keep your dog safe, to ensure they do not become anxious, frustrated or fearful which then can cause them to become reactive.
You don't like to feel embarrassed by your dogs' actions
You see life with your anxious and reactive dog is a challenge and you often feel like you've been labelled, labelled as a bad dog owner with an aggressive dog.
A dog owner who's not socialised your dog
A dog owner who has no control
A dog owner who has been made to feel like an outcast
I mean how dare you walk in the same park with that off-lead dog, how selfish of you
But this is not true.
Your dog is not a monster and you are not a bad dog owner. You should be able to enjoy the same walks as everyone one else.
No one should ever make you feel like you have done something wrong or not trained your dog properly. Despite what others think you are the hero. You are the one who is trying your best to rehabilitate, support and train your anxious fur baby.As an onlooker walks past you may feel embarrassed, you don't want to be seen as different from this difficult dog
What will they think?
Wouldn't it be good to have some kind of way to help educate and inform others about your dog's needs?
Yellow is a great way.
Your dog wears its yellow with pride and I walk my dog with pride, It creates awareness, educates, It is you and your dog's SUPERPOWER
Yellow is a simple way to inform other people that your dog needs space
It works! I know as I've seen it in action
Yes, some days are tougher than others. Sometimes no matter how hard we try there is always going to be that one dog owner who let's their friendly dog run up to yours on lead.
However, the message is slowly getting across I am proud that my dog wears yellow, in fact when I slip her harness on I feel like I have put on some kind of shield.
Life is not a bubble and we are not in a vacuum. You will have bad days but there will be good days if wearing a yellow harness or attaching a yellow lead onto your dog can help, then this is a positive thing. Think of it as a helping hand. We all need a bit of a helping hand once in a while.
If you would like to find out more about My Anxious dog and how to order a harness please go to www.myanxiousdog.co.uk