IMPROVE your animal’s outlook by grasping how it sees the worldNevermind that people have enough trouble keeping optimistic but now we have to attend to the mood swings of our pets too?
This is a rather intriguing article written by animal behavioural scientist Rebecca Ledger (special to the Vancouver Sun). It is condensed from the original (which was much longer) but this will give you a general idea & you can find the complete article link below.
How can you tell if your pet sees the world through rose-tinted glasses?
Owners of pessimistic cats and dogs will be familiar with the behavioural problems that plague these cynical pets. These animals are more likely to perceive strangers as threatening even if their intentions are good. They are more likely to feel insecure when left alone, as opposed to relishing the peace and quiet and taking the opportunity to nap. And, any new situation or object may be viewed skeptically, rather than engaging their curiosity and inciting joy. While a ‘normal’ dog is likely to anticipate a good outcome during these situations, pessimists expect the worst.
As such, pessimistic dogs are more likely to become stressed and fight, flight or freeze when faced with an unpredictable situation. They may bark, whine or howl when left at home alone, scratch doors and windows in an attempt to find their owners, growl and snap at strangers, lunge and bark at other dogs, and bolt and hide when they feel startled, overwhelmed and unable to cope.
Pessimism isn’t a diagnostic term that is used to label behavioural disorders in our pets, however it does provide a helpful way to think about their emotional issues. Pessimism is related to anxiety, the emotional state that is experienced at times of worry, uncertainty and apprehension. While most dogs will view a stranger as a friend they haven’t met yet, the pessimist is more likely to think stranger equals danger.
To varying degrees, pessimists can be turned into optimists by tapping into the underlying neurological factors that underlie these traits.
It is crucial to teach animals, through repeated, positive experiences, that situations they perceive as potentially treacherous are instead reliably safe. This is the basis of modern veterinary behavioural medicine.
Appreciating how individuals perceive the world differently encourages us to be sympathetic to the decisions that our animals make in challenging situations.
While we may not agree with our pet’s assessment of a situation, it at least allows us to understand why our pets sometimes behave the way they do.
More on her blog: http://blogs.vancouversun.com/author/rebecca197/