I am on several mailing lists for newsletters. This blog post is fashioned after a newsletter from Dr. Karen Becker at Mercola Pets. None of the newsletters that I subscribe to are for diabetic dogs, but many of the topics apply to us. We all know that stress is not our friend with a diabetic dog at home so let’s take a look.
Dogs stress for many different reasons and no two are alike. If you have more than one dog, you’ll notice that what stresses one of your pups, may not affect the other (s). My Max was the more laid back of my two. Thankfully, because if Finn had been my diabetic, my journey would have been a nightmare!
For example, dog to dog greetings involve a lot of circling and sniffing none of which is easy while on a leash. This may be why leashed dogs appear tense when they encounter other dogs. They can’t greet each other in a natural way which means that they can’t tell if the other dog is a friend or foe.
Some of the ways that we can add stress to our pup’s lives include:
Punishing them for being a dog… Dogs are creatures of opportunity and when you give them opportunities to misbehave they will take advantage. So don’t leave anything out that will tempt them.
Don’t tell them “no” without offering an alternative. This is just like human kids. If you don’t offer an alternative, just saying “no” will interrupt the behavior, but won’t stop it. Offering an alternative will let him/her know what is okay.
Don’t use different words for the same command. Train your dog to respond to simple one word commands and then use those words (and only those words) to communicate with your pup.
Don’t say “it’s okay” to your pup. When we say “it’s okay” to try to comfort our pups, they know that it isn’t and it becomes a verbal cue to tell them to panic.
Don’t pull him/her along by their leash. If your pup was properly trained to walk on a leash, they likely don’t pull much. If they are pulling, it may be time for a refresher on leash work. Keep in mind that you need to give your pup plenty of time to sniff.
Don’t restrain your pup while you hug or kiss them. Not all dogs like to be restrained, so when being affectionate with your dog, let them decide whether they want to participate or not.
Don’t stare at your pup. In canine “speak” staring is a confrontational behavior, so no staring unless it’s just to return their gaze.
Finger pointing is also a “no-no”. This is a universal stress inducer for dogs. Being that it’s usually done while you’re standing over him/her in a menacing manner or speaking in a tone that signals displeasure.
Don’t use the phrase “get down” when he/she jumps up. Use the command “off” instead.
Don’t wake your pup up unless you need them to do something.
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Until next time…