What should I do when my dog gets spooked?

Yellow labrador puppy with worried expression on his face.
This worried puppy might need comforting, or he might need you to let him know there’s no reason to be afraid.

A reader asks:

People say you should ignore your dog when they get spooked by something, the reason being that if you comfort them, they will think that, since you are comforting them, there must really be something to be afraid of, or else you wouldn’t be comforting them. Are dogs capable of that kind of thought? What should I do if my dog gets spooked?

This is a great question, and if you ask a dozen dog trainers, you are likely to get about a dozen different responses. Here’s what I would suggest.

First of all, I do think that dogs are capable of the kind of abstract thought that you describe. Thousands of years of living and working together have taught dogs to pay close attention to humans’ responses to things and to our emotions.

So what to do when a dog shows fear or apprehension … That depends. No, I am not avoiding answering the question. But it depends on the dog’s age and on the trigger for the fear response.

When I trained service dog puppies, a huge part of the training was getting them out in public and exposing them to various stimuli. One thing I was looking for was whether a puppy showed fear and if so, to what. I carefully selected destinations, and with the youngest puppies (8-10 weeks old), I only took them in groups with volunteer handlers. We — the volunteers and I — also exposed them to lots of things in the puppy “nursery.” We’d put on hats and Halloween wigs or masks, play weird noises, show them movies, run the vacuum cleaner, open umbrellas, play with skateboards, walkers, bikes, toy cars, Christmas decorations … you name it, it showed up in the nursery at some point.

In these cases, the stimuli were things that a dog might encounter in everyday life and that there was no reason to fear. If a puppy spooked, we’d react cheerfully, going up to the scary thing and touching it or interacting with it in some way that made it engaging to the puppy. For a skateboard, for example, I might hold it still and pat it invitingly, offering a really good treat. I’d make sure to expose that puppy to the skateboard in positive ways several times before allowing him to see a moving skateboard again. For a statue (a common spook-inducer), I’d go up to the statue and touch it, make happy sounds, offer treats, etc. The idea was to show that this was not something to fear. Most puppies will approach after a startle response, especially if their human lets them know it is safe.

For an older dog who spooks at an everyday item, maybe a statue or a plastic bag blowing in the wind, I would ignore the fear response or respond with a cheerful voice, saying something like, “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Let’s go!” and carry on walking. This is for the reason you describe; comforting the dog might reinforce his idea that this thing is really scary; you don’t want to encourage this fear response to ordinary things.

On the other hand, what if the dog’s response is to something that might be threatening?

There are different categories here. One is things or, more likely, people, who might be threatening to the dog or to you. If I’m walking with my dog and she has a negative response to an approaching stranger, I pay attention. Jana, whom I still miss every day, was a fantastic judge of people. If she took a dislike to someone, we got away. I would never question her judgment. Cali is a more typical golden. She loves everyone. I don’t necessarily trust her judgment. But if she spooked, I would definitely pay attention.

But those are rare incidents. What’s more likely is a dog’s fearful or anxious reaction to something that might or might not be threatening to him but is not threatening to you. And for these things, the response really does depend on the context. A few examples:

  • You’re at a dog park and a new dog comes in. The dog is rambunctious and high-energy. You don’t know this dog, and your dog seems nervous. There’s no reason to reinforce the fear or panic, but use common sense. The dog park should be fun for your dog, and if he’s nervous and afraid, he’s not having fun. This might be a good time to cheerfully tell him, “Time to go!” Without reinforcing or even reacting to the fear, just leash the dog and leave.
  • If you’re not quick enough and the new dog gets in your dog’s face, even if he’s only trying to play but is overwhelming for your dog, your response is different. Your dog needs to know that you’ve got his back. You have to be your dog’s advocate and protector, and this example is exactly when he needs you to step up. Again, the other dog might not be doing anything wrong, but dogs have different play styles. Cali finds large, exuberant dogs frightening. There’s no reason she has to play with them. I just get her out of there. Again, though, you are not comforting the dog or justifying his fear. You are respecting his preferences.
  • Your dog is afraid of thunder or fireworks. These are common triggers. In these cases, I wouldn’t make a huge show of comforting the dog, but I would make sure to provide a safe space for him to ride out the storm. A dog who’s afraid of thunder? Give your dog a den in an interior space — a crate can work or a cozy corner of a room with no exterior walls. Some dogs just want to cuddle until it’s over; that’s fine. Try not to leave the dog home alone when scary things are likely, and always make sure the dog cannot escape. A dog who bolts in fear and cannot escape the noise might run for miles and can get lost, injured, or killed.
    If the dog’s reaction is extreme, try supplements or even medications that can ease anxiety. I’ve used small amounts of melatonin (3 mg. for a large dog; be careful to get melatonin without xylitol) or DAP, dog-appeasing pheromone, in a diffuser. Different things work for different dogs, so experiment a bit with over-the-counter remedies like these or Rescue Remedy, etc. Consult a vet if the dog is extremely agitated; some vets will prescribe anti-anxiety drugs. For me, this is a last resort, but some dogs are so terrified by thunder and/or fireworks that it really is the kindest approach.
  • Your dog has a fearful (and possibly aggressive, which is related to fear) response to some people. It might be all men or delivery people or anyone who approaches your front door. You might not be able to figure out which people the dog will react badly to. If this is the fear trigger, call a trainer who specializes in working with fearful dogs and who uses positive training methods. This is not the time to double down on “showing the dog who’s boss” or any other common training nonsense. A professional, positive trainer will help you teach the dog that these people are not to be feared; the trainer will also teach you how to manage these situations until your dog is more comfortable. Be aware that, with some dogs, situation management will always be needed. If your dog finds children scary, again, this is a situation for a trainer and a lot of management from you.

This might be more information than you expected! But the bottom line is that it matters whether the dog is a puppy or an adult, and whether what’s triggering the response is a normal, everyday, non-scary item or something that really might be threatening. Above all, be compassionate. You are your dog’s advocate and protector. If he’s really scared, comfort him. If he’s in a situation that he feels is threatening or overwhelming, get him out of it. Let him know that he can trust you to take care of him. Then figure out whether this is a situation where you can teach him not to be afraid, where you have to manage the situation, or whether you need a trainer’s help.

Advertisements

Are Raw Diets Safe?

Jana holds her food bowl in her mouth

A recent Canine Corner post by Dr. Stanley Coren, a well-known writer on canine cognition strongly suggests that they are not. I’d like to present an opposing view of this often contentious question.

Full disclosure: I feed Cali a partially raw diet; I did the same for Jana for several years and she thrived on it. Cali’s sister Dora recently added raw food to her diet, and she’s healthier and more energetic than I have ever seen her. Other dogs I know have had similar experiences. So, with some caveats, I favor raw or partially raw diets. How’s that for hedging my bets?

I have a lot of respect for Dr. Coren; I’ve read most of his (copious) work on canine intelligence and relationships with people; I’ve even taken a graduate seminar with him. He’s a psychologist, though; not a nutritionist, so I am skeptical of his advice on canine nutrition.

His column starts with a terrible story about someone who fed raw until her child got salmonella; he then goes into detail about why many veterinarians recommend against raw diets and how the people who feed raw diets tend not to trust vets. I have no idea if the statistics he quotes are accurate or representative. But it doesn’t really matter.

I go to my veterinarian, as I go to a doctor, for medical advice, diagnosis and treatment of medical problems. Just as my doctor might advise me to lose weight or warn that my weight could cause health problems, I’d expect my vet to warn me if my dog were severely overweight. (If my golden retriever were underweight, I’d already know there was a problem!) If a medical condition indicated a particular dietary restriction, I’d expect the vet to tell me that, too. But if I needed more detailed diet advice, I’d go to a dietician, not my internist. Similarly, when I seek nutrition information for my dogs, I look to experts who specialize in canine diet and nutrition.

In most cases, that is not the vet. Surprised?

Just as vets are the wrong address for questions on behavior and training, the vet is not the best source of information on canine diet. Of course, just as some vets are also certified companion animal behaviorists, some take an interest in nutrition and become experts, even board-certified nutritionists. But these are the exception. And the nutrition courses that vet schools offer are unlikely to focus intensely on canine nutrition; vets learn to treat many species of pet and farm animals.

I’m fortunate that one of Cali’s vets has taken a deep interest in canine nutrition and has continued to study nutrition and new research throughout her career. This vet firmly believes in and advocates a raw diet for dogs. She urges low-carb diets, too, and, since most kibbles have a lot of carbs, she’s not a huge fan of kibble. She argues, convincingly, that fresh, real food is far more healthful, and, based on dogs’ ancestry, a more natural diet for dogs than hyper-processed cooked kibble.

Another source of in-depth information about canine diet is The Whole Dog Journal. It takes no advertising, so is not beholden in any way to pet food companies. This is markedly different from the average vet, who sells (and profits from) so-called “prescription” diets and who may also push a particular line of foods for all their clients. The Whole Dog Journal publishes detailed reviews of canned, dry, and dehydrated raw dog foods every year. It has published several articles exploring the pros and cons of raw diets as well. (See: Raw Dog Food and Salmonella Risks and High Pressure Processing and Your Dog’s Raw Food, for example.) When evaluating commercial foods, WDJ asks probing questions of the manufacturer; it has a fairly high bar for including a company in its list of acceptable or recommended foods. I’ve said it before: If you don’t subscribe to The Whole Dog Journal, you should!

Recently, a nutritionist who works with Deni’s guide dog school recommended a raw diet for Koala, Deni’s guide. Koala has “leaky gut,” and the nutritionist said that the raw diet was easier for her to digest than kibble and would allow her gut to heal. I found that interesting because one of my hesitations with raw diet was that I thought it was recommended only for dogs with a healthy digestive system. But Koala is doing very well; she has not had any of the issues — vomiting, stomach upset, etc. — that she had consistently on a kibble diet.

I still would be very careful about introducing a raw diet to a dog with a compromised immune system, but I think it is a healthful and desirable option for most dogs.

What is my other area of concern? Well, the story that Dr. Coren based his blog post on illustrates it nicely: safe handling.

The woman in the story let her young son feed the dog, handling the raw food. I don’t eat meat or seafood, but when I did, I would not have trusted a child to handle and prepare it safely or to thoroughly clean the utensils that had been in contact with it. Similarly, I would not let a young child feed Cali her raw food or do the cleanup. I wash everything carefully, just as I would with raw meat if I were cooking that for myself. It seems like common sense. But if I had young children in the house, I probably would avoid a raw diet just because it would be harder to enforce the safe handling protocols.

So, all that is a long lead up to this: I think that raw diets are perfectly safe if handled with proper care. The presence of Salmonella in some samples does not worry me; eggs and chicken commonly carry some Salmonella. Many dogs “shed” Salmonella and other pathogens in their feces; that is not an indication that they are sick and most never have symptoms. But it is an argument for picking up your yard often — and washing your hands afterward. Dry foods have more recalls for Salmonella contamination than raw dog foods, though that might just be a question of volume. Lots more dry food is out there than raw!

The bottom line is, we eat food — as do our dogs — from an imperfect system that exists in a world full of germs and pathogens. We therefore should take precautions with all of our food. A raw diet has many, many benefits for dogs, and, if you can afford it and handle it safely, it is something that I think is worth considering.

 

 

 

 

What’s so funny?

Cali seems to laugh; pictured with Dora and Jana
What’s so funny, Cali?

What do dogs think about human laughter?

People often ask me this question. I think that dogs understand that laughter is a good thing; it means that the person is happy — with them, with life in general. I also think that some dogs actively try to get their humans to laugh.

img_3944-copyJana had a toy called a “gefilte fish. She’s had several, actually. Instead of squeaking when squeezed, the fish says, in a distressed voice, “Oy, vey!” It then makes a bubbling sound. When Jana first got that toy, she squeezed it a lot. Each time, I would laugh. She soon took to standing in front of me and “oy, vey-ing” the fish. She’d watch carefully, and if I seemed about to stop laughing, she’d “oy vey” again. She’d give a little tail wag each time she got a laugh from me.

Cali tries to get me to laugh, too. If I am preoccupied or otherwise not paying enough attention to her, she’ll lie on her back and madly bicycle her back legs so that she propels herself around the room. I laugh, of course, at her silliness. She looks slyly at me, her signature sideways look, and makes sure I am watching her.

Dogs not only understand human laughter, they have a way of laughing too. I’m far from the first person to suggest this. In Man Meets Dog, respected ethologist and Konrad Lorenz describes a smiling, panting, most often seen during play, that he characterized as dog laughter. Bark magazine also ran an article discussing dog laughter.

It’s not only dogs; researchers have found that rats, chimps, and other nonhumans laugh. Why not?

So, you’re not imagining it if you think that your dog is laughing (at you?) or enjoying your laughter. Many dogs have a great sense of humor. Even more dogs have a silly side, like Cali. Sharing a joke is just one more way to deepen and enjoy our relationships with them.

 

A Dog’s Purpose: Was the Dog Abused?

A reader asked me what I think of the controversy over the movie “A Dog’s Purpose” and allegations that a dog was abused during filming.

I had tickets to a preview showing that was a fundraiser for a local rescue organization. The preview was canceled and the rescue org took a loss once the film clip showing the alleged abuse was released, so I was following this controversy.

Here’s my take on it.

First, a caveat: We’ll never know the whole story. There have been good questions raised about the film clip like, how much it was edited and why the person(s) who had it waited more than a year to release it and why they filmed rather than intervening. I don’t know the answers to those questions, and they could point to an agenda on the part of … someone.

But. I watched the film clip several times. That dog is terrified. His tail is tucked and he is using every bit of his strength to try to get away. Out of the water. Away from the edge. At one point, he leans, hard, into the person who is pushing him toward the water. He is doing absolutely everything he can to say, “No. I don’t want to do this.” He’s scared.

Actor Dennis Quaid claims the dog was just tired and not afraid. The video does not bear that out. Besides, since when is Dennis Quaid a dog behaviorist?

American Humane says the dog was never in danger, he was not forced, and the film clip shows footage from two different times edited together. This could all be true. It does not change the dog’s body language, though. The dog felt that he was in danger, and he let the humans, who are supposed to keep him safe, know that. They responded badly.

Various responses say that there was a diver ready in case Hercules (the dog) needed help, the water was warm, etc. That all might be true too. So what?

The bottom line, for me, is that, even if the dog was not actually harmed; even if the humans nearby knew that he was in no danger because they were standing by to rescue him if need be, the dog was scared. Terrified. Even if ultimately the trainers did not force Hercules into the water, they clearly asked him to do something that he was very, very uncomfortable with. They persisted, even pushing him, holding him to keep him from escaping. To me, that is forcing him into a terrifying situation. Hercules had no way of knowing that a diver was ready to “save” him. He probably wasn’t worried about whether the water was too cold. He might have been tired. If so, to me, that just points a finger back at the producer and the American Humane people who were supposed to be Hercules’s advocates.

Hercules was being used to film a movie. A movie. To entertain, well, us. The audience for that movie is dog lovers: Me. You. Nearly all of my friends and family. I personally do not want to be “entertained” by something that was created by scaring a dog (or possibly several dogs) and working him to the point where he is so tired that he freaks out. Do you? I didn’t think so.

That is the point. You want to use animals in entertainment? Fine. Train them, humanely, patiently, and sufficiently that they can do what is asked without fear or force. Work them in short spurts, make sure that they are treated well on and off the set, and ensure that they are always safe and they always feel safe. Even without knowing all of the facts, I feel comfortable saying that I do not think that those conditions were met for Hercules.

 

Morris Study Visit: It’s Hard to Be a Hero

IMG_0155
No pee for you!

It was that time of year again: Cali’s annual Morris Animal Foundation Cancer Study visit. Since she is a very healthy young golden retriever, and since we’ve been very lucky this year, she hadn’t been to the vet since her last checkup a year ago.

The day got off to a rough start and went downhill from there. If I were tweeting it, I would hashtag it #PeeFail and #NailFail. Cali would tag it #NoBreakfast.

She knew what was coming when I got up early and followed her outside carrying a paper plate. Uh oh. Cali’s worried look said that she remembered: When Mom chases her around the yard with a paper plate, the next thing that happens is … no breakfast.

Cali hates the whole paper plate thing. She warily assumed the position. I put the plate in place. As soon as the plate came out, the pee stopped. I held tightly to the plate. Cali got up, giving me a disgusted look. Then, for good measure, she gave the plate a firm kick. “Take that, Mom. No pee for you.” The little I had managed to catch on the plate drained away. #PeeFail.

After #NoBreakfast, I bundled Cali into the car and off we went. She was less-than-eager to follow her friend the vet tech to the exam room, though she brightened immediately when  showered with attention and promises of cookies … after the blood sample was taken.

Well. She hadn’t been there for 10 minutes when an emergency came in. Cali’s exam would have to wait. I left her with the clinic staff and made arrangements to pick her up in a couple of hours.

The vet techs had better luck than I did in getting a urine sample, and the hair and blood samples were not at all challenging. They even remembered to give her a little snack. But the nails … this was a real problem. I don’t trim Cali’s nails very often. She hates it, as many dogs do. She also hardly ever needs it. She runs around  and goes for multiple daily walks on concrete sidewalks that act as natural emery boards. I thought that maybe her dewclaws would be long enough to provide decent clippings, but even they were pretty short. Epic #NailFail.

Cali and the Morris Animal Foundation were not having a good day.

Finally, after a long, hungry morning at the vet, Cali was delighted to come home and play ball. After a late breakfast, of course. And a good, long pee.

Why do we go through this every year? Cancer is a top killer of dogs, particularly golden retrievers. The study is following 3,000 golden retrievers throughout their lives, collecting the annual samples as well as large amounts of data. The annual questionnaire that I fill out documents everything that Cali eats and everyplace she spends more than a week. It tracks exposure to anything from secondhand smoke to cleaning products to pesticides. Each participant provides a three-generation pedigree as well. The study is examining genetics, environment and lifestyle to search for causes and triggers of cancer.

This was Cali’s fourth checkup. I hope she has many, many more to come. And … maybe I just won’t trim her nails at all until the next one.

Melatonin Might Soothe Your Anxious Pup

As she ages, and perhaps as her hearing and eyesight fade, Jana has become more anxious and reactive. She gets startled easily and barks when cars come up behind us on walks; we avoid busy streets. She barks at anything wheeled that moves toward us — bikes, scooters, hated skateboards and loathed minivans (and joggers, even though they lack wheels) — but that’s always been true to some extent.

What’s harder to figure out is her evening anxiety. She often (well, it used to be often) would start barking in the evenings. Anxious, high-pitched woofs. The barking sometimes went on for several minutes. Woof. Long pause. Woof woof. Long pause. Etc. Not much fun for me. Or for Cali. Definitely not for the neighbors.

I’ve had some success with the Comfort Zone DAP plug-in. Sometimes a wrap would calm her. But some evenings, nothing worked. When I asked Jana’s personal physician for ideas, stipulating that I wasn’t yet ready for hard-core anti-anxiety meds, she suggested melatonin. A good friend had also suggested melatonin that same week!

With this weird coincidence striking me as a good omen, I decided to try it. It’s not addictive, it doesn’t cause liver damage or other health problems, and it’s not expensive. And, it does seem to help. I started with a single 3 mg. tablet in the evenings, and, with Jana’s doctor’s agreement, recently upped that to 3 mg. morning and evening.

It’s not a miracle cure; Jana’s not a new dog. She still gets anxious sometimes. She still hates skateboards. But the melatonin does seem to take the edge off. She relaxes some evenings. Yesterday, she actually rested her head on my knee and let me stroke her for about 20 minutes. Yes, it really was Jana. No, I did not mix her up with Cali. True to her “no-touch cuddling” credo, she did get up an move after I petted her too many times.

Seriously, though, it is nice to see her relax; maybe a larger dose can relieve more of her anxiety. Maybe she’ll turn into a cuddler like Cali! (OK, let’s not get too carried away…)

Melatonin might have other uses for anxious dogs. The Whole Dog Journal, which tops my short list of highly trusted dog magazines, recommends melatonin for dogs who are afraid of thunderstorms (the linked story might be available only to WDJ subscribers). Some websites (none that I know well enough to put on my trusted list) say melatonin can reduce the number of seizures in epileptic dogs or help with separation anxiety. Fortunately, I don’t have either of those problems, so I can’t comment.

Whatever issue you think melatonin might help your dog resolve, check with your vet first on whether to try it and how much to give.

Also, and this is essential: Check the label. A helpful reader of the xylitol post noted that her brand of chewable melatonin tablets had xylitol! That dog poison seems to turn up everywhere, so reading the label on anything you plan to share with your dog is essential.

Please Back Off

Not all dogs are as fortunate as Molly. Molly’s parents wrote to The Thinking Dog, asking for help getting people to understand that Molly needs her personal space. In this post, I am speaking for all dogs who are not as lucky as Molly.

Personal space is a cultural issue. Americans tend to like more of a bubble around them than people in some other countries. I’m not sure whether dogs in different countries or cultures have different needs for personal space, but I am positive that all of the dogs I know need people to respect that bubble. Especially people they don’t know well.

Dog bite stories in the media often say that “it came out of nowhere” or that the dog gave no warning signs. This is rarely true. Spending a few minutes looking at Facebook postings of photos and video of dogs with babies and children is a great way to gather photos of dogs showing dozens of warning signs or pleas for space. Watching those news videos of the “bites that came out of nowhere” also offers a catalog of behaviors that are clear warnings.

It’s not only children who do things that cause annoyance or stress to dogs: A particularly chilling video I’ve used in canine communication classes is one where a news anchor is severely bitten after putting her face right in the face of a stressed, overwhelmed dog — a dog who has spent the previous couple minutes (or more; it’s a short video) asking her to back off in every way a dog can.

The problem isn’t that the dogs are not giving fair warning, asking for help, or both; the problem is that most people aren’t listening or simply don’t understand the signs. Here’s a list of the most common stress signs:

  • Licking lips or nose
  • Turning the head away
  • Whale eye — wide eyes with the whites very clearly visible
  • Yawning
  • Ears back
  • Tail tucked
  • Scratching — self or the ground
  • Sniffing
  • Shaking or shaking off (as if shaking off water)
  • Bowing
  • Stress smile
  • Red eyes
  • Sweaty paws
  • Panting
  • Hypervigilance
  • Freezing

What do we do that is stressful or threatening to our dogs? Most dogs do not like being hugged or patted on the head. Frontal approach with direct eye contact is scary for many dogs. Many dislike rough petting or play hitting or people bending down, putting their faces right up close to the dog’s face and kissing or blowing at them or baby-talking them. In short, if you would be annoyed if someone did it to you, don’t do it to a dog, especially a dog you don’t really know. This doesn’t mean you can’t cuddle your dog; it means you should look for cues that he is enjoying — or uncomfortable with — what you are doing, and respond accordingly.

Some of the signs listed above do double duty: They are also what is commonly called “calming signals.” These are body language cues that dogs use to calm themselves or others. Dogs will direct calming signals to other dogs and to humans. A well-socialized dog responds appropriately — backing off, giving the dog some space, or responding with calming signals of his own. Unfortunately,  the signals are often subtle and, when noticed, misunderstood by many humans.

Cali stress
Stressed Cali

For example, the smile. A smiling dog might be a happy dog; depends on the smile. These photos show a happy Cali and a stressed Cali. She’s “smiling” in both. But in the relaxed, happy photo, Cali’s eyes are soft, her smile is loose and relaxed; in the stress photo, her eyes are hard and tense, and her mouth is tighter. For many additional (better) photos of stress, take a look at these blog posts by Eileenanddogs: “Dog Facial Expressions: Stress” and “Is That ‘Smiling’ Dog Happy?

 

Happy Cali
Happy Cali

Other common calming signals that could be early signs of discomfort or stress are the licking the lips or nose, yawning, and turning the head away. When you notice these subtle signs, it’s a good idea to remove your dog from a situation that is becoming unbearable for him. Some dogs lick submissively — no, the dog is not “kissing” you because he’s enjoying the close attention — or shake or try to leave or hide behind their owners.

If the dog can’t escape the situation and the “aggressor” doesn’t back off, the dog is likely to escalate. Bared teeth, soft growls, or air snaps might be the first steps when a dog feels that he has no choice but to defend himself. And if the owners have taught the dog never to growl, as so many believe they should … the dog might just bite “without (obvious) warning.”

We’re our dogs protectors. It is our job to learn their stressors, heed their calls for help, and remove them from stressful or overwhelming situations.

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about dogs’ stress signals? Here are some articles and blog posts that offer good info and advice:

Your Dog Hates Hugs, by Melissa Dahl

It’s Only Funny Until Your Dog Runs Out of Spoons, E. Foley, Your Dog’s Friend blog

You’re Too Close! Dogs and Body Pressure, eileenanddogs blog

The Gift of Growl, Pat Miller

Preventing Dog Bites, Patricia McConnell

A Canine Stress Dictionary, and Signs That Your Dog Has Stress, and so much more on the Whole Dog Journal website