STRESS AND SWITCHED BEHAVIOR IN DOGS
It might not even be worth separating the behavior of the dog into stressful and switched. In the end, they are often strongly interrelated, it is stress that is the cause of the switched behavior. As a matter of fact, a dog that is under stress and not having the ability to relieve stress with adequate behavior, and unable to withstand the internal stress, SWITCHES its actions to an object in no way related to the source of stress.
Recently, the word Adequate (and inadequate) characterizing the behavior and reactions of people and dogs has spread. Adequate means “appropriate” – when the responses correspond to the strength of the stimulus and the behavior corresponds to the situation as we imagine it. If, from our point of view, the manifestations of reactions do not correspond to the situation, the behavior (and the person) is characterized as inadequate. Say, someone can instantly infuriate at first glance an innocent remark, and a person who has become infuriated because of a trifle gives the impression of inadequate. But upon a detailed examination it may turn out that this person had grounds for rabies, if this innocent for others remark deeply concerns his personality, is, so to speak, a beloved corns, repeatedly crushed before.
Unfortunately, the dog cannot tell us what exactly knocked her out of the rut of normal behavior and explain the misunderstanding. Therefore, it is very easy for an inadequate label to stick to it. Moreover, her reactions are just adequate to her state of mind and situation, we just do not know all the circumstances leading to a breakdown. It is a breakdown, because in dogs mental illness and anomalies are extremely rare and the vast majority of the so-called inadequate reactions are caused by acute or chronic stress.
Most dogs suffer from stress worse than humans. On the one hand, they are not tormented by the problems of the future: what to do if we fall under the reduction, how to snatch a son out of a bad company, or how to overcome the cooling of marital relations. On the other hand, they are not aware of the circumstances and cannot know that the cause of their stress is absolutely harmless, they cannot say to themselves in spirit: calmly, nothing terrible happens! They can not relieve stress like us: listen to music, read a book or take up knitting.
Or at least relieve the stress by ripping off anger on an innocent dog, thumping a fist on the table, or kicking a good wall. The last two examples, by the way, refer to classic examples of switched behavior.
Stress is usually understood as the effect of external and internal stimuli, which lead to a disturbance in the mental equilibrium of the dog. External – noise, frightening objects, sudden flashes of light, unpleasant actions of a dog by people or other dogs. Internal – pain, feeling of overflowing bladder, cold, hunger. In fact, any stress factors always act on any organism. If their effects do not exceed a certain limit, the body copes with stress. Moreover, a certain level of stress is necessary, it stimulates the development of the brain, because it stimulates the activity of the subject (and in our case, the dog). Simply put, if we are good, there is no incentive to move and move with convolutions in search of a more comfortable position. But when we feel bad, we develop activities aimed at avoiding the bad and finding the good. At the same time, we develop our brain and gradually increase our resistance to stress.
But if the strength and duration of stress exceed the safety margin of the body, stress leads to disruption of its normal functioning. Especially prolonged stressful conditions lead to disorders – and not only the nervous system, but also other organs and systems. Not for nothing is the people saying: all diseases come from nerves. In severe diseases, stress can literally kill, because severe physical suffering deprives the sick animal (and man too) the will to live. Any doctor will tell you that a calm environment and the removal of physical suffering increases the chances of recovery and accelerates it.
Resistance to stress in all is individual and depends not only on genetic factors, but also, to a large extent, on the growing conditions and content. Unfortunately, many owners themselves create a predisposition to stressful reactions in their dogs. Too long content of a puppy in four walls of quarantine conditions, in an environment that is poor in stimuli, leads to the fact that, later on a noisy city street, he is unable to cope with an abundance of strong stimuli. The same thing happens when growing a dog at a dacha – after hitting the city, it is very stressful, because the weak in greenhouse conditions of a quiet dacha psyche does not cope with such loads. Unfortunately, if time is lost, the dog will never learn to cope with stress easily. On a weak foundation, a fortress cannot be built …