Identifying Red Flags in Your Dog’s Behavior

October 29, 2022

Common Red Flags to Watch Out For

In our previous post, “Do dogs attack out of nowhere?” we explored the rarity of unprovoked attacks. Now, let’s discuss the warning signs to look for and how to help your dog. Red flags signal urgent concerns. Here are common red flags to be aware of:

  1. Disinterest in favourite activities
  2. Refusal to go on regular walks
  3. Declining playdates with other dogs
  4. Seeking isolation from the family
  5. Reactivity to sudden or loud noises


Pain as a Cause of Reactivity

Recent research suggests noise sensitivity in older dogs may be linked to pain. Startling due to sounds may cause muscle tension or sudden movements, exacerbating pain. Painful dogs may avoid play, walks, or cuddles and become reactive to dogs or people initiating interaction.


Simple Tests to Assess Your Dog’s Pain

Dr Yoko Clinch of Veterinary Rehab Services recommends trying these manipulations:

  1. Skin roll: Gently knead the dog’s skin along the spine to identify tight or sensitive spots.
  2. Touch tolerance: Check for any no-go spots on your dog’s body.
  3. Flexibility test: Assess each joint’s range of motion.
  4. Treat lure test: Observe if the dog can symmetrically follow a treat around its body.
  5. Tail test: Gently pull the tail to see if the dog backs up or pulls away.


Addressing Touch Sensitivity

If your dog has specific areas they don’t like being touched, try using a towel between your hand and their fur. This can help determine if the issue is pain or sensitivity to touch.


Pain Management is Crucial

Dogs don’t become aggressive without reason; always check for pain first. Avoid training a dog if you suspect the pain is involved.

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