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Sensitive dogs and stress

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Poor Secret.


Secret has always been a super sensitive dog. She's sound sensitive and has a pretty soft personality. Mostly, though, she's always been a very happy dog and has been a joy to live with for all of her nearly three years.


I have been going through a lot of changes over the last few months following the announcement that our family company would be closing. The end is drawing near (next week) and as a result the overall stress level has been growing, especially considering that my job search has been unsuccessful.


Now I've started to (finally!!) get some interviews and this is even MORE stressful for me -- I've been with the family business pretty much straight out of school and this is all pretty foreign to me. I think I hide all of this stress well when I'm out and about, but I also know that Secret is very sensitive to my moods.


Last Friday I had a phone interview mid-morning and my stress that day sent Secret into a tailspin. She hid in the back of the house all day long. We had an agility trial this weekend and of course I worried that she would be stressy there all weekend, but she actually ran super well. Overall she seems to do better away from home (she comes to work with me) or in the backyard. Last night she was doing better until we all settled in the living room for the night and then she retreated to hide in the back of the house again.


For at least the last week she has refused to stay on the bed at night. I've stopped even trying and just deal with her going up/down/up/down/up/down all night long. I have no idea what prompts all of her moving about, but I feel bad that she's so restless. Because I need sleep, I am contemplating crating her again at night -- which I haven't had to do since she was about six months old, as she was one who instantly took to sleeping on the bed.


I have put on her Thundershirt during her daytime hiding sessions and it sadly didn't seem to help much. I haven't put it on her at night yet but probably will give that a go tonight. I have considered that there is the possibility that stress has caused me to start grinding my teeth again at night -- a sound that no doubt would cause Secret to turn herself inside out.


I just feel so bad for her. Today I found out that I landed myself an in-person interview stemming from the phone interview on Friday. I know how I am and I know that this is going to be a very bad week for Secret if she keeps feeding off me. :blink:

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Poor baby - my boy reacts the same way to my own stress. (Seriously, if a workman is expected and I'm sitting on the couch waiting, Buddy KNOWS something is up, and will get all reactive-like and bark at the slightest sound. Oy.)


Good luck with all the changes in your life, and with keeping Secret low-key!



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Poor Secret, she doesn't have any way to understand those stress vibes that she is so sensitive to. At night, is it possible that she would settle down, allowing a more restorative rest for her and for you, if she were in a crate right next to your bed? With Juno, she tends to just settle down in her crate, and her stress can't find an outlet in that hypervigilance, getting up, checking things out constantly, worrying, which I think kind of feeds itself. With Juno, anyhow.


Good luck with your job interview, and best wishes on your job transition. It ain't easy!

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Try working on your own stress response. If you've ever tried meditation, yoga, chi gung, get those going. Even taking 5 deep breaths when you feel your blood pressure rise or your stomach start to twist is helpful.


My late Buzz, and now Agent Gibbs, were/are very sensitive to my stress levels. It helps make me more aware of what I'm doing to myself.


I haven't been through what you're experiencing, it sounds difficult, to say the least. Taking care of yourself may be the best thing you can do for both you and Secret.


Good luck with your job interview!


Ruth and Agent Gibbs

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Have you tried something with DAP? Or some sort of calming treat


Kenzi is pretty sensitive too and has often retreated to the upstairs when I get super stressed about something.


What I do - take breaks to play with them, take breaks for me!, baby gate the stairs so she stays downstairs and offer treats every so often.


It does seem to be getting better. Last night I was quite stressed out about an assignment from a class and Kenzi actually stayed near me most of the evening.

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Thanks all. I've had MANY people tell me I need to chill. :lol: I definitely am trying to keep it light around Secret. Lots of play, etc.


Last night I put the baby gate up across the hallway where she likes to hide, keeping her in the living room with me. She did get up to try to go that direction a couple of times but would then return to the couch and was fine.


I put her in her Thundershirt for bed and used a mouth guard I purchased yesterday in case I am grinding my teeth and freaking her out. She stayed in bed a lot longer last night and wasn't up and down as much (only a time or two), so that's good. I'll repeat the same tonight.


I have a doctor appointment tomorrow and am considering speaking to my GP about anxiety meds for myself. lol :blink: Forget the dog, it's me who needs help here...


I must be doing SOMETHING at night because Luke, my big dog, keeps creeping over to my side of the bed and he never usually moves at night. It's just peculiar.

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