Little girl hugging Sheepadoodle puppy, photo source: sheepadoodle.org

11 Ways to Help Your Sheepdoodle Overcome Stress

11 Ways to Help Your Sheepdoodle Overcome Stress

Sheepdoodle Puppies

There are many popular dog mixes around today, and it's become increasingly common to mix different dog breeds with the Poodle breed. The Sheepdoodle puppy is a mix between the Old English Sheepdog and the Poodle breeds. Sometimes this breed is also referred to as Sheep-a-poo, Sheeppoo, sheepdogpoo, and Sheepadoodle. There's a lot to love in these great family dogs. They're great at reading human emotions and are happy to keep their owners entertained all day.

The Sheepdoodle can grow to be a medium to large size dog. They'll typically weigh between 60 to 80 pounds and will live a long-expected lifespan of 12 to 15 years. This breed can be mixed with the Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Toy Poodle, although typically, only the larger Poodle breeds make Sheepdoodle puppies. Toy Poodle puppies might be used to make Miniature Sheepdoodle dogs. This breed is super intelligent, thanks to their working dog heritage. They're great at training and usually get along well with other animals as long as they're properly socialized. A perfect family dog must be great with kids, and the Sheepadoodle is even amazing with little children. They can be as gentle and happy around children as they can their owners.

These affectionate dogs need an attentive owner to help them develop their best behaviors. With the right training, these dogs can be lovely and lively. But without enough attention or exercise, they might develop some bad habits. It's very easy for Sheepdoodle puppies to develop issues when they don't get enough exercise, attention, or mental stimulation. Many Poodle mix breeds struggle with stress and anxiety because of how clingy the dog breed is. 

Sheepadoodle puppy standing in grass
Photo Source: greenfieldpuppies.com

Anxiety and Stress in Dogs

Many dogs will experience stress and anxiety in their lives. The most common causes of these issues involve your dog's life circumstances and how they interact with the world. For example, many shelter dogs struggle with stress more than dogs that were raised in one home since birth. It occurs because more shelter animals have experienced being abused, neglected, abandoned, or homeless. Traumas like these stick with a dog, and they'll show symptoms of stress anytime they think something similar to their past trauma occurs. Many dogs who experience abuse in their early years become very fearful of toys or games they don't understand. If you try to play fetch with a pup that's experienced abuse, it might take them a few times to play because they may think they will be punished with the stick rather than play with their family.

It can be hard to watch your Sheepdoodle struggle with symptoms of stress as a pet owner. Some dogs will struggle with anxiety and stress simply because they're so loyal to their families, and being away from their families will cause them extreme anxiety. Also, if your dog hasn't been socialized and isn't used to meeting new people or animals, they might become even more stressed when they get to meet new people and animals. Poor socialization makes it easier for dogs to get stressed out by newer environments. Another common cause of this condition is when dogs hear loud noises like fireworks, sirens, or thunderstorms. Dogs have excellent hearing, so things that cause extremely loud noises can be frightful and frightening for many dogs.

The key to helping your dog overcome their stress and anxiety is to notice the symptoms they show. Each dog has their own way of communicating, but all dogs communicate through body language. As you spend more time with your dog, you'll be able to tell what they're feeling based on their posture, appearance, and other factors they use their body to communicate with. Understanding your dog's symptoms will help you discover the intensity of your pet's stress, which you can then use to decide the best method to help your pet de-stress.

Symptoms of Stress in Dogs

There are plenty of signs a dog will give their owners when they have stress. Smaller signs of stress usually include small bodily motions. A dog might tuck their tail behind their legs or hold its ears back. Some dogs with minor symptoms of stress will bark, pace, or become restless. Dogs that are stressed because they feel unsafe will not lie down and rarely sit. They might begin drooling excessively, or they might start whining. Some dogs will wag their tails, which can be confusing since many animals also do that when they're excited. Usually, animals with stress show more than one symptom at a time, so it can be easier to understand when their tail wagging is a happy or stressed sign.

Dogs can also show more intense signs of stress when they're worried. Some animals refuse to eat or drink water when they're stressed out, which can be worrisome if you have to leave your pet at home while you're at work. Sometimes dogs can tear up their owner's homes when they're left alone for too long. Trashing the house is one of the most common signs a dog is suffering from separation anxiety. Some dogs go so far as to try to escape their homes first. Some pets might try to run away from the thing that is scaring them or might try to hide behind their owners if it's an option. Sometimes a dog with stress will start shaking and try to stand as close to its owners as humanly possible. The most severe stress symptoms cause dogs to vomit, urinate, or defecate uncontrollably. Some animals even take it further and will eat their defecation, but this mostly happens with smaller dog breeds, so it's unlikely your Sheepdoodle dog will do this.

little girl playing with Sheepadoodle puppy in the grass
Photo Source: sheepadoodle.org

How Activity and Mental Affect Stress

Understanding your dog's needs is the best way to figure out how to care for them. Dogs with physical exercise needs must get this activity to stay healthy. Of course, this can impact their physical health, many breeds struggle with overeating and obesity, and the Poodle breed is one of them. But this also affects a dog's mental health. When a Sheepdoodle puppy doesn't get enough activity, its energy is bottled up inside them. If a dog doesn't have a healthy outlet to release its energy, it can burst out in unhealthy ways. These dogs might have panic attacks or moments of bad behavior. Also, animals that don't receive any mental stimulus will struggle with stress and anxiety more than animals that have regular mental activity. Things like training sessions are plenty of mental work for your pet to stay happy and healthy. 

Dogs can become bored, depressed, and destructive without meeting their needs. Regular activity won't rid your pet of anxiety stemming from other sources, but it will likely make their symptoms less intense. If your dog is stressed because they are already not getting the right amount of activity, giving them some will help alleviate all their symptoms. Overall, dog owners can try many different methods to help their pet reduce their symptoms. Owners need to be open to options and resourceful; they'll find many options to help their Sheepdoodle calm down. 

11 Ways to Help Your Sheepdoodle Overcome Stress

1. Fetch

Many of the best ways to help your pet overcome stress will be by playing games. Doing this help your dog focus on other things, although if they have a more severe case of stress, a game of fetch will not be enough to help them calm down. If your pet isn't freaking out but has minor stress-induced symptoms, distractions like fetch can be a great way to care for them. These dogs need to bond closer with their owners to help them de-stress. Games like fetch give your Sheepdoodle a nice distraction during worrisome events. Sometimes dogs can benefit from focusing on things they find entertaining. If your pet is stressed out because they're in a new environment, this is the best place to help them feel better with a game of fetch. If your pet is nervous with other animals, you may not want to let them play fetch around other pets so they feel more comfortable.

Sheepadoodle playing with green ball
Photo Source: fivebarks.com

2. Dog Park

If your pet is well trained and loves the company of other canines, a dog park is a great way to let them befriend many dog buddies. Dog parks work best when you know your dog loves being social. Animals that enjoy other dogs' company can thrive in playtime with other pups. All the activities dogs have at these parks also add to their mental health and can improve their overall attitudes. This method will work best if your pet is stressed out due to a lack of activity. If your dog isn't well socialized, a dog park can cause more stress for them. But dogs that experience choric stress may love dog parks since the safety and companionship of other owners and pets provide them with much-needed comfort.

3. Dog CBD

A new method for treating dogs with stress is providing dog CBD. This drug is excellent for pets because they can feel more relaxed during times when they can't be distracted. Many animals are stressed because of stressful environments, but the only way to help these dogs deal with their stress is to help them become comfortable in new environments. The best way to do this is to help your pet associate good feelings with these new places, people, or pets. It can be difficult to give your dog treats in the presence of other animals, and some dogs won't eat if they're stressed out in a new location. One of the easiest methods to help a dog lessen their stress symptoms is by bringing them to a new place after they've taken something that can help calm them down, like CBD. Also, if your pet is dealing with pain-related stress, CBD is super helpful thanks to its anti-inflammatory and pain management properties. Pet owners can give their dogs CBD before they leave them alone for a few hours or before their trip to the vet. CBD is super owner-friendly since they don't have to give their dog it during their stress and don't have to work for their dog's attention. Instead, owners can plan ahead and provide their pets with CBD thirty minutes before an expected stressful event. This method is also great for dogs with noise-related stress. There is very little owners can do to help dogs scared by thunderstorms, so giving them calming things like CBD is a perfect way to help them out. 

bottle of CBD oil sitting in bowl of dog food

4. Calming Supplements

Similar to CBD, there are tons of calming supplements owners can give their stressed-out Sheepdoodle. Calming supplements can come as chews, treats, or something you can add to your pet's food. You can purchase calming zen treats for many of the same reasons you use CBD. While canine CBD has many positive effects, not as much research is done to show the entirety of the effects it has on dogs. Because of this, many other supplements are made that have other natural calming materials for dogs. These are great to use in advance when you expect your dog to be stressed out in a specific environment. However, calming supplements have a limited effect and won't calm down intensely stressed-out dogs.  

Calming Dog Zen Chews

5. Socialization Training

One of the most common causes of stress is poor socialization, so it makes sense that socialization training is the best way to help your pet overcome stress. Providing your pet with this type of training can help them accept that just because something is unfamiliar doesn't mean it is dangerous. Your dog can slowly become more accustomed to new faces and places, and be sure you take your time letting your pet experience new things. It's always better to be patient and train your pet slowly, especially if they show more intense signs of stress.

6. Crate Training

Many animals love their crates and enjoy using them as protection during more stressful events. It means that dogs can utilize their crates to help them feel more comfortable, and it can benefit them most when their owners are away, or some noises are causing your dog stress. However, if your pet isn't trained, their crate may cause more stress rather than relieving it. Make sure you slowly train your dog to enjoy its crate by providing treats and positive feedback when they use it. Eventually, a crate can help your pet relax a lot more.

7. Obedience Training

This method works best if your pet is stressed out because of poor mental stimulation. Many pet owners don't realize that mental stimulation can affect the way your dog behaves in a big manner. When dogs aren't mentally stimulated, they can become full of stress and depression. Obedience training is an excellent way to help your dog de-stress since it provides mental stimulation, distractions, treats, and bonding time with you. Dogs are much happier when spending time with their owner, and they love getting fed treats. Make sure your obedience training is full of nothing but positive reinforcement and love, and your pet will feel stress lifted off of them in no time.

8. Enrichment Activities

Similar to obedience training, enrichment activities can help your pet de-stress in a great way. Enrichment activities are something owners do with their dogs, and they always involve both mental and physical stimulation to your pet. Many enrichment activities are designed into fun little games owners can play with their pets. These activities help distract your pup from the cause of their stress and allow them to release their energy healthily. Dogs that partake in enrichment activities will create a closer bond with their owners and will not experience stress related to poor exercise or mental work habits.

9. Puzzle Toys

Even though puzzle toys aren't done with dogs and owners, this exercise is a great way for dogs to get distracted. The difficulty with puzzle toys is that your dog needs to be taught how to play with them, so you don't want your dog to be super stressed out the first time you introduce them to puzzle toys. Instead, teach your dog how to use puzzle toys when they aren't stressed out and give them that same toy when they start experiencing signs of stress. This method is especially great because your pet can do it when you're away from home, during a thunderstorm, or in a separate room if strangers are over. You can make the treats inside the puzzle toys calming, making it extra stress-reducing.

little girl hugging her Sheepadoodle puppy

10. Safe Spaces

A newer method of helping dogs reduce their stress is creating a safe space for your pet. Dog safe spaces are small rooms or areas in a house solely dedicated to helping a dog de-stress. These areas are full of calming supplies like a comfortable dog bed, cage, or blankets. Some owners will include calming zen treats, dog food, and a water bowl in their pet's safe space. Some owners like to give their dogs aromatherapy or even music therapy, where they play classical music to help their pets calm down. These spaces only work when your dog is stressed out in their homes, but they have been very effective for many people, and they can be a great way to provide your dog with a comforting space when you're away from home. 

11 Counterconditioning

Owners can partake in many training practices with their pets to help them feel calmer. Counterconditioning treatment is a lengthy process where owners can hire a professional trainer or dog behaviorist to help them re-wire their dog's actions. This treatment will help a dog replace a stressed-out reaction with a calm or happy one. This method should be saved for the most intense anxiety symptoms and usually works best with dogs with anxiety due to past traumas. It can be expensive to pay someone to help your dog in this way, but owners cannot do this alone. While counterconditioning is beneficial, it isn't for everyone, but this can be a great investment for owners of shelter animals that are suffering from severe stress.

Conclusion

There are many methods to help your Sheepdoodle overcome stress, and you will tailor the best method to fit your dog. Remember that some of these methods will not be powerful enough to help dogs with severe stress, but also remember that owners can and should utilize more than one method. Suppose you partake in enrichment activities, obedience training, and socialization and have a safe space for your pet. In that case, your dog is likely to be one of the calmest Sheepdoodle puppies there are. You can help relieve your pet's stress by acknowledging its symptoms and making a solid plan based on its intensity. After that step, the process is to practice patients and the calming method, and you'll have positive results in no time.