A blog on dogs, inspired by Nishi the boxer , written by Sindhoor, founder of Bangalore Hundeskole Academy and Bombat Dawgz, canine behaviour consultant, teacher, myotherapy student and mommy to two gorgeous dogs – Nishi and Tiggy.
Have you made up your mind to get home a dog? Well, then there is something you need to know about moves – dog’s find moves very stressful. Your home may be the most loving home in the world. But your new dog has no way of knowing that. Moving to a new family is so unnatural for a dog that stress hormones – adrenalin and cortisol will be coursing through your dog’s body. You will need to give it some time to leave your dog’s system. During this period you also need to be aware of what to expect. So let’s do a quick run through of what happens when your dog is stressed.
Stress hormones interfere with digestion. So it’s very common for dogs who have just relocated to have digestive trouble. The dog may vomit, have loosies or constipation. Her appetite may be quite poor. There may be acidity and vomiting of frothy bile. Curd rice is soul food for a stressed dog.
Curds helps sooth the stomach and the rice is a binder for the stools. Carbs also calm dogs down.
Stress also creates a water imbalance in the body. We often sweat when stressed. Dogs don’t sweat. They pee instead. So a stressed dog will pee often and in unusual places. Don’t get upset if your new dog is peeing in odd places. It’s just stress and it will change. Continue taking the dog for toilet breaks after naps and meals.
Stress increases neo-peptides, which reduces immunity. Such dogs may get allergies and infections frequently. Improve a dog’s nutrition and rest. Health will automatically improve.
Stress increases sexual hormones as well. This applies to spayed and neutered dogs too. This can result in irritable dogs and mounting. Mounting is often mistaken for dominance. But if your dog is mounting with no intent to copulate, then it has something to do with heightened stress hormones.
Under the influence of stress hormones oxygen and blood sugar is redirected to the muscles, leaving little behind for the brain. This results in poor ability to learn. This means that a newly adopted dog should not be put in obedience classes. Such dogs need time to relax and recoup. Relaxed dogs are much better students.
In situations of sustained stress the brain cells can start getting damaged. These cells can regenerate as health improves and stress reduces. However while there is damage sustained the social ability of the brain is the first to suffer. So the dog may be asocial to people or dogs or both, depending on the dog’s history.
Stressed dogs can also be hyper vigilant, hyper active and bark a lot. All of this is part of a move and yes moves are indeed quite a burden on dogs. However the good news is that dogs are masters at coping. Given the right environment they quickly cope.
As eager as most of us are to help our new dog settle in, we need to hold back our urge to give the new dog a cuddle and instead give the dog space. Stressed dogs need nothing more than space. While good food and comfortable beds are important, space and time are the key things that is often easy to forget. A good rule of thumb will be to not approach your dog but to let her approach you. Try not to start rushing off to vets, trainers and socialization sessions. Avoid inviting people to see the dog. Lead a low key life for a while. It’s a lifetime of fun ahead of you. Give your dog a few weeks to get used to a life altering change, because that’s exactly what it is.