How to Keep Your Dog Happy and Stress free
5 December, 2012
Dogs, like humans, can become stressed when anything in their normal lives changes.  However, if you establish a daily routine with your dog, it will help your dog to become a happier, less stressed dog.   Simply knowing when he or she will be fed, walked and played with on a regular basis can go a long way to making your dog feel more relaxed and secure.

However, changes in your environment and/or people coming over can be stressful for your dog.  Below are some ways you can help your dog in stressful situations.  

Crate Training
A crate can be a ‘safe house’ for your dog when the world around him or her is changing. Any time you travel, move, or leave your dog for short periods, put your dog in the crate with some comfortable bedding, a shirt that has your scent on it, and his or her favorite toy. Introduce your dog to the crate slowly and carefully so it becomes his or her ‘safe place’.

Confinement If you are having a party or introducing new family members into the home, confine your dog to one room where he or she has a bed or to his crate, so your pup feels safe rather than his territory is being threatened.   Always introduce your pet to new people or places slowly.      

Keep up basic routines
If your dog is stressed because you have moved, it is very important to try to maintain your daily routine with your dog. Make sure that your pup has regular meal times and frequent walks and play breaks.   If your dog seems timid, don’t praise or punish your pup as you don’t want to confuse him even more.  Just give your dog time to adjust to the sights and sounds of the new home.  

New baby introduction
If there is a new baby in your home and your dog is at all fearful or aggressive, proceed with caution. Never leave your dog alone with a baby or small child, as neither fully knows how to react to the other. Put your dog on a leash when he or she first approaches the baby. If she gets excited, correct your pup and praise him or her when he obeys.  With time and encouragement, your dog and new baby will get along.  

Time for the vet
If your dog still appears stressed after you have worked with him or her for a day or two, take your pup to the vet. In some cases, the stress could be caused by an illness. Your veterinarian can rule out any physical causes and should be able to offer suggestions on how to help your dog physically as well as behaviorally.   By maintaining the daily routine in your dog’s life and keeping your pup healthy, active, and well fed, you will go a long way toward preventing most stressful situations.

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