Unravelling the Mystery
Picture this: You’re strolling with your canine companion, and everything seems fine. They breeze past other dogs, ignore playing children, and even handle a couple of barking dogs with ease. Then, out of nowhere, a dog turns a corner, and chaos ensues. Your German shepherd goes from calm to uncontrollably barking. What just happened?
Your dog just lunged and barked out of nowhere!
The key lies in understanding your dog’s stress response system – the flight or fight stress system ingrained in their hormonal makeup. Dogs release stress hormones when they perceive a threat, and sometimes, it’s the accumulation of external triggers that leads to seemingly unexpected reactions.
Analogy Time: Think of each trigger as adding a glass of water to a tank. The more arousing the trigger, the more glasses it adds. If your dog’s metaphorical tank is small, the overflow – the sudden and intense reaction – becomes inevitable
Making Things Easier
Now, when it comes to helping your dog deal with stress, think of it as letting some water out of their emotional tank before it gets too full. Bring in a bit of extra joy with activities that get their chill-out system going, like:
– Moving nice and easily
– Getting a soothing massage
And here’s a cool idea – give your dog a break from stress, a bit like hitting pause on cortisol. Let them dive into activities like the ones we just talked about, take a slow and easy walk in a peaceful wooded spot, or play in a secure field where potential triggers are kept at bay. Get those feel-good hormones going!!
Spotting Stress: Taking Charge
When it comes to figuring out what gets your German Shepherd feeling stressed, it’s all about tuning into those everyday things. We’re talking doorbells ringing, visitors showing up, neighbours slamming car doors, the post being delivered, or even checking out new places.
Watch how your dog reacts to these seemingly ordinary happenings. Do they dash down the hall, start barking, or show other signs of stress like hiding or heavy panting when it doesn’t quite make sense? Think about those times you introduced them to a new place, and they just couldn’t settle or take a treat.
It’s all about keeping our dogs thinking and not just reacting. So, every time they hit that stress mode due to a change in their surroundings, we want to be mindful. The key is to space out those stressors and make sure there’s plenty of stress relief in between. By managing their environment and giving them moments to chill, we’re encouraging that thoughtful, calm learning state of mind. It’s like creating a balance to keep them in the thinking zone.
So, why does this matter?
As we dive into our training journey armed with this knowledge, understanding how trigger stacking and the intricate dance of biology come into play gives us a better handle on our dog’s behaviour, and how we can help them practise better strategies. Those moments that seem to come out of nowhere? Turns out, they’re not so random after all. So, let’s get clued up on our dog’s triggers, take steps to ease their stress, and get ready for a smoother, happier learning adventure. Because nailing these triggers is the first step to having a companion who’s cheerful and chilled out and ready to learn.
If you are experiencing problems with a barking , lunging German shepherd reach out to me and schedule a free call
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