There are a lot of stressors unique to the summer months – but fortunately there are a lot of ways to help your dog with their struggles with those things. Running in a thunderstorm, days at the beach, the Fourth of July. Summer is packed with fun activities for people. But if your dog is showing signs of stress – from subtle cues like a tucked tail or trembling to overt aggressive behavior – these tips can help you and your dog through.
Physical and mental exercise
Some trainers and veterinarians suggest increasing the physical and mental exercise for your dog. A “tired out” dog is less likely to become hyper-stimulated by the stressors of summer. So, increase the length and/or frequency of your walks. Take your dog to the park. Teach your dog some new tricks. All of these activities will help contribute to a calmer mental state for your dog. As an added bonus, increasing your dog’s exercise may help get you into better beach shape too!
Your dog is a pack animal and you are the leader of the pack. In times of stress your dog looks to you for guidance. If you stay calm you provide visual and scent cues that let your dog know that the pack leader has the situation under control, which reassures your dog and calms them down.
We have all heard of Pavlov’s dog who was trained to associate the ringing of a bell with food. Why not train your dog to associate thunder or other loud noises with a treat? During a thunderstorm or other period of loud noises like fireworks, give your dog a treat after each crash. In time, your dog will be running to the food dish rather than running for cover.
Products such as the “Thunder Shirt” activate pressure points on your dog’s body that promote a calm mental state.
Nutritional supplements containing L-theanine from green tea have been shown to help dogs better cope with their stress and anxiety. Dogs who consumed L-theanine showed greater interaction with human strangers, and increased dopamine levels. These effects are enhanced when combining L-theanine with hemp protein powder, significantly helping reduce your dog’s stress.
Summer is almost here, help your dog enjoy it as much as you do. And when they feel better, you do too!