Thought Bubbles

Reading Daphne Post #2 – Displacement Behavior!

I read over the previous posts before continuing my research, and noticed I was using the words “stress,” and “anxiety” interchangeably. I wasn’t sure if they meant the same thing, so, I looked them up, and according to Google Dictionary the two are actually very different! Stress is, “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” But, anxiety is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” After researching this, I realized that Daphne is showing anxiety instead of stress in certain instances.


From here I turned to Training for Both Ends of the Leash, by Kate Perry and Yvonne Conza, to look for causes of anxiety. Here’s what I found:

  • Lack of socialization when young
  • Changes in routine
  • General things like:
    • Loud noises
    • Mudrooms
    • Doorbells
    • Busy Places
    • Elevators
    • Loneliness


This was VERY unsatisfying because Daphne does not get anxious over any of these things (except for really loud noises, but that happens rarely)! So, then we researched A LOT MORE and finally made a breakthrough! Daphne is exhibiting…    Displacement Behaviors!

Displacement Behavior is out-of-context behavior, such as lip licking, yawning, and self grooming, that dogs engage in when they’re typically faced with conflicts that they don’t want to deal with directly. Dogs do this when they have a desire to do something, but end up suppressing it – and showing these behaviors. They are a sign of anxiety.

Displacement behaviors are commonly misunderstood because they are normal responses to some situations. Also, the behaviors are little things you might normally dismiss. It is important to manage the situation and slowly work on it to change the dog’s emotional response.


This new discovery is leaving me with lots of questions! How can I form an educated guess on the behavior Daphne is suppressing? How can we change her emotional response toward her triggers?

The next post will focus on these questions. Stay Tuned 😉

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  1. natalie dente October 31, 2017

    Hi Anna, I think it is great that you are continuing to research Daphne’s behavior. Only one thing popped out at me in your piece. Busy places. sometimes this can be your own home i.e, when repairmen come over or hoards of family descend en masse. These can lead to anxious behavior. I think Daphne is a doggie who doesn’t like her routine or environment changed. This is hard to accomplish.But giving her extra support at this time {taking her out for an extra long walk and giving her attention alone) may help.All creatures want to feel that they are special. Hope this can help love Grandma Natalie

  2. Debbie November 3, 2017

    Hi Anna,
    Thank you for explaining the difference between stress and anxiety. Many of us interchange these words too. Knowing the difference will help me understand how to better help those in my life (people and animals) that struggle with these conditions. I’m looking forward to learning more! Thanks for sharing your research.
    xo Aunt D

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