Stress signs

Published: Monday, June 2 2008 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Here are some subtle behaviors that you may not recognize as indications of an uncomfortable dog:
• Lip-licking out of context
• Yawning, when dog is not relaxed
• Looking away
• Increased panting

Reducing anxiety
If you have an anxious dog, try these simple tips:
• Keep the volume of the radio and television at a level that can't be heard from another room.
• Avoid playing the radio and television at the same time.
• If you are not actively watching the television or listening to the radio, turn them off.
• Reduce the noise from sound-producing appliances — turn down the volume on beepers and buzzers.
• Lower the ring on your cell phone, and have it play a soothing ring tone.
• Instead of yelling to people in other rooms, walk over and talk to them in a normal tone of voice.
• Don't slam doors and drawers; avoid clanging pots, pans and dishes.
• If you become overly enthusiastic during television sporting events, put your dog in a calm place, or outside, if possible.
SOURCE: "Through a Dog's Ear," by Joshua Leeds and Susan Wagner

What music can do
Music can calm us and put us in an emotional space of safety. Our animals will entrain physiologically to the musical rhythms and psychologically to us. (Entrain, in this context, means to match.)
• Music reduces our heart rate and blood pressure, thereby providing an environment conducive to self-healing.
• Music can be a filter for unwanted sounds.
• Music is a vibration that is in line with our natural state of being.
• Other research has shown the effect of various genres of music on other animals:
—Country music calmed ponies.
—Country music best brought cows home.
—Classical music made cows produce more milk.
—Dolphins swam in exuberant synchrony to Bach.
—Classical music improved the growth rate in chickens.
—Classical music caused hens to feed more.
SOURCE: "Through a Dog's Ear," by Joshua Leeds and Susan Wagner

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