One of the few times I love seeing stress signals

When Stress Signals are Encouraging


One of the tenents of my training has always been to make things low-stress.  If I’m seeing lots of shake-offs, yawns, or panting, there’s a good chance that I’m asking too much for the dog (at their level of training) or putting to much pressure on them.  Learning IS, by its very nature, a process that has some stress but I don’t want to be pushing the dog so much that he/she starts throwing stress signals frequently.  There are moments, however, where seeing stress signals is good (and not just good that the dog is letting you know he/she is stressed).

When I brought Linus home on Sunday he was a shut down mess.  In the car he rode BEAUTIFULLY–except it was because he was so shut down.  He was just frozen stiff.  He sat nearly the whole way until I had a sharp turn and he finally got off-balance and he finally tipped over into a down.  Although offered food, he would not eat at all (though he licked at a treat once).

Today in the car he was panting, changing positions frequently, and scanning out the windows intensely. I was actually really excited to see these stress signals because it was telling me that he was not shut down and that is a huge improvement.  He was also eating high value treats easily on our trip to the vet (after the vet he was a bit TOO stressed out).

He may have had to be carried to and from the clinic but he did take really high value treats for a while in the clinic and that is another big improvement. Our trip outside the house definitely confirmed that while he has made huge strides in the house, his world is still very small and we’ll have to slowly desensitize him to the rest of it.

Cone of Shame...not doing it right!

Cone of Shame…not doing it right!

We went to the vet yesterday and although absolutely terrified, Linus was a good boy!  He does have a yucky infection at the neuter site but it’s only skin deep which is good news.  He’s on a pain management and antibiotic regiment to hopefully make him more comfortable and kick the infection to the curb!  The vet was also adamant about him wearing a Elizabethan collar “at all times.”  I’m pretty sure that the e-collar would stress him out way more than me redirecting him from messing with his booboo. I’m home a lot so I can keep an eye on him but I’m hoping to not have to use an e-collar often (I mean , look at the poor guy, he’s so confused with the cone of shame.. he thinks he’s a lamp!).


1 Comment
  1. Awww, poor Linus! I am glad he is finally showing signs of life, even if they are stressful ones. I hope he recovers from the infection without any further difficulties. The poor kid has been through enough.

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