Dogs are very connected to our own states of mind, which in turn can have a dramatic impact on their own behaviours. This can become a vicious circle as if our tolerance is less and inner strength is weak the dog’s behaviour can get worse.
Dogs like routine and consistency but if we ourselves feel low, suffer depression, have anxiety or perhaps swing from high to low our dog can become increasingly unstable with their behaviours. House-soiling, barking, hyper excitability, depressive states, destructiveness, anxious and fearful and even aggressive behaviours can all result from the influences we are portraying of our own turbulent state of mind.
We are aware from research that our dogs know when we are happy and recognise smiley faces or when we are upset, angry or crying and our dogs will mirror this with eagerly playing and wagging happily when we are happy or comforting quietly with a head on our lap or bringing us a treasured toy.
When our low days hit hard through mental health issues or a circumstance change as in bereavement, arguments with a partner or family member or a diagnosed illness our dog can get caught in the middle of it and its needs are not met consistently or become erratic, your dogs behaviours will also change.
Sometimes these dogs get relinquished to rescue centres as owners are unable to cope with any further stress in their lives or the end conclusion is changes in living circumstances. So you may have found yourself with a re-homed a dog that needs a calm settled environment or find yourself in a situation where you can’t cope with life so be mindful to how your dog is feeling too.
Try to at least maintain a structure to their day of regular exercise and feeding. If you are unable to manage walks yourself take help from a local dog walker. Throw a few balls for your dog in the day, fill a Kong with tasty treats, try to get out and sit with your dog in a different environment if only for a short time. Have some quiet evening time massaging your dogs ears, back, shoulders and legs.
There are some days you may feel stronger than others embrace these with your dog and strengthen your bond for the not so good days that come along.
Dogs help our mental issues immensely by being there for us, we can turn our negative thoughts into positive by looking after someone that needs us to survive, so give mind to your best friend through the good times and the bad.