Keep on top of situation stacking
Often, stress in dogs isn't caused by one individual factor but by several stressful events happening in quick succession. Situation stacking, also known as trigger stacking, is when a dog goes from one exciting, worrying or stressful event to another without having time to return to feeling relaxed. For example, a dog that has had an exciting day at home with lots of visitors is more likely to respond to stressors - such as loud noises or large, bouncy dogs - when out on a walk. These can be situations in which your dog normally feels confident, but when each exciting episode stacks up, your dog may lose the ability to cope and this can result in an emotional outburst. This is what behaviourists term 'passing the threshold'.
By giving your dog regular 'downtime' and its own space, you can prevent the stress response that results from situation stacking.
Build a strong bond with your dog
When it comes to reducing stress, building a loving and supportive bond with your furry friend really is the best cure - for dogs and owners alike. When our dogs trust us, they feel secure in the knowledge that we'll always meet their needs and keep them safe.
While we can't avoid stress altogether, we can take crucial steps to reduce triggers for our dogs to help them flourish as their most confident selves.