Understanding arousal in dogs

The Role of Arousal in Dog Behaviour and Training

Written by Naomi White

Do you ever find some days your dog just seems a bit more wired? Maybe he seems stressed, unsettled, easily excited, or maybe he suddenly starts barking at something he wouldn’t normally care about? When doing any form of training or behaviour work with a dog it’s important to consider arousal…

Arousal essentially refers to a dog’s level of responsiveness. It could be his responsiveness to events instigated by you (e.g. cueing the dog to sit), or events he encounters within the environment (e.g. other dogs). When exposed to an exciting or stressful stimulus, the brain floods with excitatory chemicals, including adrenaline and cortisol, which impact consciousness, attention and information processing.