There are many little things that dogs do when they are stressed. Remember, all of these things are in context, dogs yawn when they are tired, sniff because they smell something, and lick their lips because they want treats, but these can often be stress signs as well.
- Yawning – Dog’s often yawn as a way to release stress and often to calm you or other dogs as well. The older dog in the picture to the right is likely trying to calm the puppy.
- Tounge flicking – This looks like they are licking their nose, just a quick flick of the tongue.
- Shaking off as if they are wet – This is a pretty good indicator that your dog is trying to “shake off” an experience they just had or just release stress in general.
- Sniffing the ground when there is nothing to sniff – This is typically used as a way to calm the situation they are in, whether with other dogs or you.
- Sweaty Paws – If you notice your dog leaving paw prints on the ground, they are likely experiencing a fair amount of stress.
Stress isn’t always necessarily bad. Anytime your dog is learning something new, they will likely experience a certain amount of stress, its just important to keep an eye on the stress level and be sure to not push your dog over threshold which might create fears or provoke aggression in some cases. Typically if you are seeing several of these things all together within a minute or two, your dog may need a break. Some dog’s stress more easily than others depending on their social experience and genetics.
For more information about stress signals and other dog body language check out Dogwise’s collection of books & dvds.