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How to Read Dog Stress Signals

Written by ADAPTIL Expert, published on September 18, 2023

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With a deep passion for fostering healthier and happier relationships between humans and their four-legged companions, here at ADAPTIL and Thundershirt, we believe in the significance of understanding and addressing canine stress.

Recently, a study reported by Vet Times highlighted a concerning issue – most dog owners can't read their dog's stress signals effectively. This emphasises the urgent need for education and strategies to mitigate stress in our pawsome pals.

Why It's Crucial to Read Dog Stress Signals

Our dogs communicate with us through body language, vocalisations, and behaviour. Unfortunately, many dog owners struggle to interpret these subtle dog stress signals effectively. Misunderstanding stress cues can lead to anxiety, fear, and in the worst cases even aggressive behaviours, ultimately straining the human-canine bond.

Here's where positive reinforcement based training and calming products like ADAPTIL and ThunderShirt come into play as invaluable tools in our quest to reduce canine stress.

small dog hiding under blanket

Reward-Based Training: The Foundation of Canine Well-Being

Reward-based training is a methodology deeply rooted in positive reinforcement. Instead of using punitive measures or corrections, we focus on reinforcing desired behaviours with rewards, such as treats, praise, or play. This approach encourages dogs to make choices that result in positive outcomes, creating a more harmonious environment.

When it comes to stress, reward-based training can be a game-changer. By recognising and rewarding calm, relaxed behaviour, we can help our dogs cope with stressful situations more effectively. For example, if your dog tends to get anxious during vet visits, reward calm behaviour during the visit to create a more positive association.

Small dog at the vet

How Dog Calming Products can Help Support Your Anxious Dog

While training is essential, sometimes our dogs need additional support. This is where calming products like ADAPTIL and ThunderShirt come to the rescue.

  • ADAPTIL: Adaptil is a synthetic pheromone product that mimics the calming scent of a mother dog. It's available in various forms: a diffuser, spray, and collar. By releasing these pheromones, ADAPTIL helps reduce stress and anxiety in dogs. It's particularly useful during situations like staying home alone, loud noises, visitors and fears.

  • ThunderShirt: Thundershirt is a snug-fitting vest that applies gentle, constant pressure, which can have a calming effect on many dogs. It's a fantastic solution for canines prone to anxiety or nervousness that need immediate relief like during travel, fireworks or thunderstorms.

Combining Positive Dog Training and Calming Products

The magic often happens when we combine positive reward-based training with calming products. For instance, if thunderstorms are predicted, you can use fast calming ADAPTIL Chew to reward your dog for staying calm, alongside a ThunderShirt, to provide physical comfort. This double approach can help to reduce your dogs stress levels.

However, it's important to remember that no single solution works for every dog. Each canine companion is unique, and it may take some trial and error to discover what works best for your furry friend. Consultation with a professional dog behaviourist can also provide tailored guidance for your specific situation.

dog snuggled under blanket on sofa

In conclusion, the recent findings and research from Edge Hill University about dog owners struggling to read stress signals underscore the importance of education and proactive stress management in our dogs.

By embracing positive reward-based training techniques and utilising calming products, we can create a more relaxed and emotionally balanced environment for our beloved pets. Together, let's strive for a world where every dog lives a joyful life.

Adaptil Calm Diffuser

Following our expert tips will help to ensure your bond with your dog goes from strength to strength.

Make sure to join our community for weekly advice from our dog behaviour experts as well as product offers and competitions. 

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