Green Zone: Where happy dogs live
- They are calm, content, happy.
- If the get a little stressed, they use calming signals to help
- use of lots of calming signals
- starting to use stress signs
- Dog will use the 4F's: Fight, Flight, Freeze, Frenzy
I learned that dogs may have 1 of 4 reactions when they get to the point of no return. The point of no return is when they are already living day-to-day life in very high stress (yellow zone) and something sets them off.
I took a step back and looked at the 4F's. I know this is for dogs, but their form of communication is something we humans could learn from. Just from a stress point of view, I would say I live in the yellow zone daily. I make it to the green zone on the weekends, sometimes, but it has to be almost perfect conditions. It obviously takes a lot for a dog to reach the red zone, but I think humans can reach it much faster. For example, I would say that anxiety attacks occur in the red zone. My two reactions vary from Freeze to Frenzy. I can get super upset and mad and want to kick, scream and yell (this usually occurs in private or if I'm in public, occurs in my head). Or, I can freeze up in a ball on the floor of where I am and cry, shake and hyperventilate until I'm all cried out. When I freeze, my stomach cramps up to the point where I feel I've done 100 situps afterwards. My chest gets tight and I have trouble taking deep breaths. I have very little cognitive function, I can't think straight and I can only force myself to sit down because it's safer.
I believe I live in the yellow zone most days. On top of using my own forms of calming signals, I show very physical signs of stress. Here's an example of what I may look like when I feel overwhelmed:
- hunched shoulders
- shoulders raised towards ears
- short breathing
- short temper
- avoid eye contact/social contact/talking (basically become a hermit)
- shaking hands
- balled fists with nails digging into palms
If you are to look at me at any given time of day, you'd see me showing 3 or more signs of the above list.