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New Year’s Eve with dog – How to recognize stress, anxiety, and fear.

New Year’s Eve is an event to celebrate for many people. Parties, loud music, sparklers, and fireworks are simply part of it. But many dog owners have a rather queasy feeling when they think of New Year’s Eve. The reason: their dog is afraid.

But how do you actually know if your dog is anxious, stressed or fearful and when should you act?

In this blog post, you’ll learn the difference between anxiety, stress, and fear and how to recognize your dog’s specific signals.

F.A.S. – Fear, Anxiety, Stress.

Fear → Is a directed reaction to a threatening situation (also to be managed).

Anxiety → Is an undirected reaction to an experience or situation that cannot be concretely grasped and that is apparently unmanageable.

Stress → Is an unspecific reaction of the body to a (also potential) strain.

Stressors can cause such a strain.

Is my dog scared?

The best way to determine if your dog is experiencing fear, anxiety, or stress is to pay attention to his body signals.

Possible early signs of F.A.S. may include:

  • ears pointed slightly back or to the side
  • lowered tail
  • furrowed brow
  • slower movements or stiffening
  • slightly dilated pupils
  • looking around for the holder
  • frantic search for escape possibilities
  • panting with narrower mouth opening
  • refusal of food or faster food intake
  • stronger chewing on toys
  • unspecific individual signs

If your dog shows one or more of these signs, it is already management action to take.

Calming my dog when he is anxious:

There are several ways you can calm your dog when he is anxious, stressed, fearful. Here are a few examples:

  • Offering closeness and petting if necessary.
  • Offer protection e.g. dog crate, between legs, under a table etc.
  • Distraction e.g. by food puzzle or playing together
  • Exercise (please not outside on New Year’s Eve, but rather inside the house)
  • Conditioned relaxation signal (start free training now!)
  • Reduce stressors (e.g. light and noise on New Year’s Eve), e.g. darken windows, turn on TV or radio.
  • Do not leave your dog alone
  • Specific rituals between you and your dog

We hope these tips help you and your dog! If you want to learn even more about your dog’s behavior or start New Year’s Eve training right away, download our app now!

By Sarah Mertes

Certified dog trainer

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