If you cannot eliminate the stress, try giving your dog an alternative acceptable displacement behavior, a nondestructive pinhole. Maybe chewing on a rawhide would calm your dog even more than chewing on your shoes. Try more exercise to see if that provides him with adequate stress relief. Finally, if your dog is having a serious stress issue that you cannot seem to alleviate, take him to your veterinarian and explain the situation. If your vet doesn't seem interested or able to help with the problem, ask for a referral to a veterinary behaviorist. Don't be afraid to try medication if that is what your doctor recommends. Sometimes it is the only way to mitigate serious stress. Make no mistake, stress in your dog takes its toll. Do whatever is necessary to make your dog's life as stress- free as possible. After all, how is he going to help assuage your stress if he's busy trying to cope with his own?
Dogs are dependent upon us for their very survival, and that dependency can make them emotionally vulnerable. It is up to us to show them that we will meet their physical needs. But dogs also need to be shown that they can and do please us. Failing to assure them of that would be every bit as devastating for our dogs as failing to feed them.
Excerpted from THROUGH A DOG'S EYES by Jennifer Arnold Copyright © 2010 by Jennifer Arnold. Excerpted by permission of Random House Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.