Quando il cane è sovraeccitato

Capita, per alcuni addirittura è la normalità, che il cane salti addosso, abbai come un forsennato, si lanci contro le bici, si getti contro gli altri cani, in altre parole, che sia carico a molla.

E’ impazzito? No. La creatura è eccitata, sovraeccitata, e l’eccitazione non è una buona cosa per i cani.

Si può pensare all’eccitazione come quello stato mentale per cui una nuvola di energia interferisce con la capacità di ragionare e porta ad avere comportamenti poco apprezzabili – dove il poco apprezzabile va dal benevolmente molesto a pesante.

Una analogia aiuta a capire come funziona l’eccitazione per i cani. Si può pensare all’eccitazione come un secchio – ogni evento, piccolo o grande, positivo o negativo, è un bicchiere di acqua che si aggiunge al secchio e contribuisce a riempirlo. Quando ci sono problemi vuol dire che il secchio si è riempito, il cane ha raggiunto e superato il suo limite, è eccitato/sovraeccitato.

Lo stato di eccitazione/sovraeccitazione quindi è cumulativo – è il risultato della somma di una serie di eventi, grandi o piccoli, positivi o negativi, che il cane vive – e il grosso problema è che una volta raggiunto ci possono volere anche giorni prima che il cane torni in una condizione di serenità.

Visto che ogni cane è un individuo a sè, quanto ci vuole per riempire il secchio varia da soggetto a soggetto – ad alcuni basta pochissimo, altri ci mettono di più- ma il sistema di base è lo stesso per tutti.

Lo stato di eccitazione può essere dovuto ad esempio alla stanchezza eccessiva (ne abbiamo parlato qui), alla incapacità di gestire le proprie emozioni, all’anticipazione, all’allerta o alla paura e può avere un bersaglio, ad esempio altri cani, le persone, le macchine, le moto, oppure non averne.

Oltre ai comportamenti con cui si manifesta, uno dei problemi dell’eccitazione è che può dare dipendenza (un po’ come mangiare zuccheri, bere, giocare d’azzardo o farsi le canne) per cui il cane, provata l’ebbrezza, tende a ricercarla.

Facciamo un esempio.

Il cane può avere reazioni incontrollate a qualcosa che lo preoccupa – ad esempio un altro cane, una bici che passa, le moto. Con il passare del tempo, particolarmente se le situazioni sono prevedibili, può accadere che la preoccupazione passi ma il comportamento rimanga e il motivo è la sensazione di piacere che quel comportamento genera. A questo si aggiunge anche l’eccitazione dell’anticipazione.

Per Obanino ad esempio il trigger sono le Harley. Quando sente il rumore, anche da lontano, si ferma e si mette in posizione e aspetta. Quando gli passano si lancia e abbaia come un posseduto; per altri può essere un altro cane che abbaia al di là di un cancello e contro cui scagliarsi. Ognuno ha il suo.

Da notare che l’eccitazione influisce sul modo in cui il cane processa gli eventi e sulle emozioni e gli stati d’animo che ne risultano per cui uno stesso evento (ad esempio l’abbaio di un cane o il passare della moto) può generare reazioni diverse a seconda dello stato mentale del cane nel momento in cui lo vive.

Raggiunto lo stato di eccitazione, qualsiasi cosa può far scattare l’animale – letteralmente, basta una mosca – e riportarli ad uno stato rilassato, e quindi più gestibile, non è facile.

Il motivo per cui l’eccitazione e la sovraeccitazione sono un problema è che sono stati in cui il cane di fatto smette di pensare e, proprio come succede con gli umani, gestire un essere che non ragiona è complesso.

La chiave quindi è nella prevenzione. Anche in questo caso vale la antichissima regola che prevenire è meglio che curare.

Sapendo che la eccitazione e sovraeccitazione sono date dalla somma di eventi che, come vedevamo all’inizio, possono essere sia ‘positivi’ (ad esempio sessioni di gioco) sia negativi (ad esempio esposizione a fattori di stress, altri cani, il traffico, la folla, etc.), la prima cosa da fare è organizzare la vita del cane in modo che di base non sia esposto a trigger di eccitabilità.

E’ stato scoperto infatti che tanti comportamenti dei cani sono dovuti al loro vivere in uno stato di eccitazione perenne, dovuta ad uno stile di vita dominato dallo stress e, come per gli umani, anche per i cani lo stress ha conseguenza negative sul fisico, sulla mente e sul comportamento.

E’ bene ricordare qui che quello che stressa i cani non è lo stesso che stressa gli umani e che gli umani pensino che i cani non siano stressati non vuol dire che non lo siano.

Secondo alcuni studi recenti molto interessanti, un tassello fondamentale nella prevenzione dell’eccitazione/sovraeccitazione nei cani è l’attività fisica che, a differenza di quello che si pensa comunemente, non deve essere mai eccessiva, fatta da sola e fine a sè stessa (ad esempio il gioco ossessivo con la palla) perchè per il cane non ha valore, contribuisce poco al suo benessere psico-fisico e ne aumenta l’eccitazione e i livelli di reattività.

Ai cani fanno bene attività che impegnano sia il fisico sia la mente ed ecco perchè è importante che la preparazione all’uscita sia gestita correttamente, che le uscite siano buone e che le attività siano interrotte al momento giusto.

Cosa si può fare con un cane eccitato/sovraeccitato?

Come sempre, è suggeribile rivolgersi ad un educatore cinofilo professionista, serio e preparato. Il motivo è uno: ogni cane è un individuo a sè, ogni binomio cane-proprietario è unico, così come le cause dei problemi e il modo per affrontarle e in un contesto del genere, il contributo di un esperto è incalcolabile.

Condividi

Lauretana

La mamma umana di Oban, autrice di Senti chi Abbaia. Ama la montagna, leggere e scrivere, ha un debole per la mozzarella. Pensa che i cani siano creature straordinarie e la vita con loro un'esperienza meravigliosa. Come il suo peloso, è riservata e abbastanza timida. Tra i suoi amici più cari, due quadrupedi, Baffina, che abita vicino a casa, e Robin, che è andato in cielo e resterà per sempre nel suo cuore.

117 thoughts on “Quando il cane è sovraeccitato

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