When us humans are feeling anxious we have ways of dealing with that anxiety, like talking through it. Dogs experience anxiety too, but unlike us they can’t verbalize how they are feeling. So how do we know if our dog is feeling anxious or uncomfortable? Dogs communicate through body language, so if your dog is anxious there’s a good chance they are already showing you how they feel. Keep reading to learn the signs of anxiety in dogs, and how you can help.
Common Body Language Signs Of Anxiety
- If your dog is experiencing anxiety, these are your tell-tale signs:
- Body is shaking
- One paw is up (as if to say “stay back”)
- Tail between legs
- Tail is hanging low
- Ears are back or sideways
- Excessive panting
- Urinates or defecates
These are some other signs your dog may be experiencing anxiety:
- Hides behind another person or object
- Turns their head away
- Barking or growling
- Retreats in fear
- Rolls over submissively (this is also their way of saying that they mean no harm)
Displacement behaviors are normal, but do indicate anxiety or conflict in your dog. This happens when a dog gets the urge to do something, but suppresses that urge. For example, if a dog gets super excited to see their owner when they get home, they might they might grab an object like a shoe instead of jumping up in their owner. Likewise, if a dog is receiving an unwanted hug they might lick or yawn. These behaviors are nothing to worry about, rather just subtle ways your dog is telling you that they are conflicted. The important thing to consider with displaced behaviors is context.
Displacement behaviors include:
- Grabbing an object in their mouth
- Sudden scratching when not itchy
- Biting at paws or legs
- They shake their body as if they are wet
- Licking their chops(lips) without food present
Written by Vincent M.
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