Oftentimes what owners consider “bad” behaviors, are their dogs’ stress signals. Some signs of stress might be:
1. Barking & Whining: Take note of when your dog tends to bark and make a fuss. Is it when he/she is isolated from the family? That could indicate separation anxiety.
2. Digging & Chewing: These behaviors are often related to boredom and anxiety.
3. Jumping Up: Dogs jump on people for various reasons, but few owners recognize this can be a stress signal. If your dog is jumping on you or guests with a more intense, stiff jump with nails digging in your flesh this could be a call for help.
4. Watch the mouth actions of your dog. An anxious dog will often begin lip licking, yawning, and panting with no exertion. This is often accompanied by extreme salivation.
5. Finally, a stressed dog may start shaking his head or entire body, as if they were trying to shake off the stress and uncomfortable feelings.
If you think your dog is high energy and is simply trying to annoy you, it may be worth studying the behaviors seriously to discover what triggers send the dog into overdrive. For example, if your dog is body slamming everyone that comes through your door with wild jumping, it may be the result of the dog picking up on your own adrenaline as you repeatedly rush to answer the door.
In training it is common to observe a dog a little bit stressed as it is trying to figure out what it is you want him to do. I notice that a dog may yawn especially if they are being told to hold a stay. Sometimes a submissive type will lay down as you approach when they are being instructed to hold a sit/stay. It is almost an involuntary action on their part. It is very important for us to attempt to understand them and encourage the correct behavior rather than get impatient, which only serves to make them more anxious!!