Labrador Retrievers are known for being happy-go-lucky bundles of joy—but did you know they experience stress and anxiety just like humans? Though their nervousness may differ from a child’s, even the most playful lap puppies can become distressed without proper care and attention.
Fortunately, there are tell-tale signs of stress in canines that you can look out for and remedy if your Lab begins to experience unexpected anxiety. Keep reading for five indications your puppy may be experiencing stress and how to put the pep back in their step.
Though you may have seen your pup shake off their wet fur, a shaking dog is usually a stressed dog. Usually, quivering indicates environmental stressors, which may cause your puppy to feel trapped or unsafe. As a result, a stressed pup may shudder or shake in an attempt to relieve some of the discomforts.
The best course of action? Affection and removal from the environment. Though some dogs may prefer less physical contact than others, most lab puppies calm down with a tight squeeze, gentle pets, or appropriate distractions.
Whimpering or whining
Another dead giveaway that your dog is experiencing a bout of anxiety is whimpering or whining. This behavior might occur when your dog meets a new person or feels situational stress. However, whimpering can also be your pup’s way of communicating a need or want, so remain observant and curious to understand their desires better.
Evaluate the situation, and discover what external forces might be causing your dog to whimper. The solution could be as simple as picking up your dog and moving them to another room. Once again, comfort and reassurance are other ways to calm them.
Is your little pooch slouching? Maybe their ears are drooping? If so, you may be dealing with a nervous pup. Body language is an excellent indicator of anxiety in dogs. Sometimes, the most appropriate way to calm your dog is to respond with kindness and compassion.
After all, one of the main reasons to own a dog is the unconditional love they show to you and others—and nothing builds a bond like showing them love and compassion.
Outside of trying to relieve themselves from scorching temps, panting is another sign your lab puppy may be experiencing stress. Though panting is typically associated with long walks or outside adventures, excessive panting is a regulatory method dogs use to reduce anxiety.
Panting out of stress can be tricky to identify, especially if your pup is prone to regular panting. However, if you’re unsure, stay on the safe side and begin soothing techniques, like leaving a stressful situation or distracting them with affection or activities.
Sometimes a dog may choose to hide if they know they’re in trouble. However, hiding can also be an indicator of stress and anxiety. Just like a human, a dog may want to remove themselves from stress-filled situations by retreating to an area of comfort.
There’s nothing wrong with this behavior. In fact, you may want to join your pup to reinforce that everything will be okay.
To Wrap Up
When it comes to getting your lab puppy ready for the real world, knowing the things that trigger them is just as helpful as training your dog. It all comes down to paying close attention and being ready to address any pressing stress-related concerns.