During the crisis (spring 2020 lockdown in Spain) it is totally normal that we start to behave differently. Our bodies adapt to the fight or flight situation and stress is keeping us alert all the time.
We might not even notice that our breath is getting shorter and shorter, shoulders seem to move closer to our ears, stomach feels upset. Maybe we don’t sleep as well as normal and it affects our concentration. We try to find some relief from social media and news but might be even more anxious afterwards.
You probably know that your dog is sensing, or maybe we should say smelling, everything really well. Nowadays we use dogs to detect cancer, discover mold from buildings, find missing persons and more, so I’m sure we can agree that they have an extremely good ability to use their nose. And their olfactory system is really exceptional!
I’m more than happy to share some studies about this if you want to know more.
So as they are reading our body movements and facial expression, they probably also smell that our bodies are in stress. If we’re happy, our dogs are happy. If we are sad, our dogs are sad, I’m sure you know this. Our facial expressions affect our dogs, and our emotions are contagious.
When a few years ago I needed to say goodbye to my old pony and I was really sad, my beagle didn’t let me out of sight for 48 hours. She stayed really, really close all the time, and I was comforted by her company. I don’t think she understood why I was so sad, but she definitely knew that something exceptional had happened and she was sad too.
During this crisis we should also think about our dogs. This is difficult for our dogs too, as we can’t enjoy long walks, play outside like normal or meet our doggie friends. Our dogs might be quite confused as we’re staying home all the time – their daily routines have changed a lot! I’m sure all the dogs are happy to spend more time with their owners, but if they normally sleep all day when we’re working, we should try to offer them possibilities to rest now as well. We all know what lack of sleep is affecting, and a tired dog is not happy or eager for training. Dogs really are family members so it’s our job to keep them happy and try to offer them mental and physical activities as well as we can in this situation.
The DogSmith of Estepona is sharing a lot of free information on how to keep your dog happy during the crisis and I will do my best to share my yoga & mediation tips for you too, so you could keep calm with your dog.
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