Changes in rhythm in dogs: what impact : Dogs have the ability to adapt – more or less easily and quickly – to a change in their routine. Anything can become a change without you even realizing it. Here are some examples:
A new addition to the family (child, adult, or even a hamster)Losing a loved one (dog, human)meeting new dogs or people more regularlymoving or changing pacelosing a favorite toy.
Changes can be difficult for the dog or sometimes help him in his daily life. So, what are the impacts of change on our dogs? Some will be more destabilized than others.
Are the education, the history of the dog or the age of the dog factors to be taken into account to explain these difficulties of adaptation? Is it possible to help your dog adapt more easily to changes?
One of the features common to all living beings is the ability to adapt to their environment. Indeed: the animal could not otherwise live where it is. Changes are also part of the life of any animal or plant. Some species have disappeared because the adaptation was too hard for them (e.g. Neanderthal man). Their resistance to change was insufficient.
As far as the dog is concerned, adaptation has been its strong point in order to evolve alongside humans. Dogs are extraordinary in this respect. However, some dogs will be more affected and disturbed. Indeed, the dog cannot be warned in advance of this change of rhythm that is imposed on him. He cannot be prepared for it.
difficulties of adaptation in the dog
We can therefore perceive the consequences on several levels:
Behavioral: the dog changes its behavior. He can be less active or on the contrary more reactive to what surrounds him. New behaviors may appear such as destruction or soiling in the house. He may start barking or howling.
Mentally: Your dog is under stress and he will show it in different ways.
Biologically: You may notice that your dog is eating less or is always hungry. He may have a skin allergy or intestinal problems.
Just like in humans, stress affects a dog’s health.
Some dogs may be more sensitive to change than others. What are the clues to explain this?
Conditioning and learning: during at least the first 2 months of life and the year that follows, a puppy must be stimulated in the right way (variety and intensity) in order to build a database that allows him to adapt well in his future life. So we can see dogs that will be more fragile from this point of view, if this period has not been optimized. I remind you that this is not the entire responsibility of a breeder, but also that of the new owner. The mental processes of his first year (reasoning, learning, memory, intelligence, etc) will help him more or less to adapt.
The dog’s age: with time, just like in humans, our cognitive abilities decrease. This will therefore play a big role in the dog’s ability to adapt. The younger the dog, the easier it will be to register and process new information and to adapt to it.
German shepherd puppy
Genetic abilities: The motor patterns are intrinsic and common to all individuals of a species, but they are not all expressed in all individuals and therefore do not give rise to identical behaviors in all dogs. The reason is: a behavior is a combination of motor patterns and this combination also depends on learning. Nevertheless, some breeds have particular genetic selections that will allow them (combined with learning) to be more adaptable. I advise you to read the book of Cynotopia: Choose your dog better
Obviously, if you have to choose a puppy from a kennel, don’t take the first kennel that comes along or the cheapest or even the most expensive. You must first think about what you can bring to this puppy and not what he will bring to you. If you take a retired dog from a kennel that lived in the country and you are in the city, it is likely that everyone will not like it. It will be very difficult for the dog to accept this big change. If you want to help your dog, it is best to implement the change gradually. You can also choose to be accompanied by a professional dog behaviorist. Some dogs will (unashamedly) need medical help.
lakeland terrier stimulated by walking
We advise you to establish new and pleasant games for the dog, in order to stimulate his mind and help him to calm down. This training is free and allows you to build new activities with your dog: 10 Activities to Stimulate Your Dog.
Finally, having a strong relationship with your dog will also make a big difference. A dog that is very fearful and understood by his master will be more likely to trust him.
But sometimes this relationship is so rotten and without understanding that a radical change in the dog’s life can considerably change the dog’s annoying behavior. Only a trained professional will be able to see this and tell you how to do it.
Photographer Nicolas Granena: Semper and Hélène Canidelite at play
Conclusion: change can be good or bad for your dog depending on his past experiences. But the good news is that you can help him to prepare himself. The understanding and the benevolence of the owner will always be the way to help the dog in difficulty.