The highly sensitive dog

making life easier for these wonderful dogs

Dr Christine King

Publisher: Anima Books, 2022

Printing & Distribution: Lulu Press

ISBN: 978-1-4716-7765-6

eBook; 7,400 words

RRP (USD): $3.23

RRP (AUD): $4.49

About this ebook:

This short e-book is written by a veterinarian who lived with a highly sensitive dog of her own (that marvellous mutt on the front cover). It's for people who are struggling to understand their own highly sensitive dogs, such as dogs who are very reactive to loud noises (thunderstorms, fireworks, gunshots, etc.) or who are fearful in novel situations (with strangers, unfamiliar places, etc.).

It begins by exploring the parallels between these dogs and the highly sensitive person (HSP), a normal personality trait described by psychologist Dr Elaine Aron.

It goes on to discuss a Finnish study that documented a likely genetic basis for these two 'anxiety disorders' in dogs, which supports the Dr King's thesis that HSD ('highly sensitive dog') is the canine equivalent of HSP.

Dr King then describes, with examples from her own experience (personal and professional), six practical strategies that can make life easier for these wonderful dogs and the people who love them.

About the author

Christine King is a holistic equine veterinarian who currently lives in southern Victoria (Australia). Her interests include the medical sciences (veterinary and human), complementary and alternative medicine, music, organic gardening, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, communication, spirituality, and the bonds we share with our animals. The highly sensitive dog is her eighth book.


Is there a canine equivalent to the highly sensitive person (HSP)?

This term, highly sensitive person, was first coined by psychologist Dr Elaine Aron and is now called high sensory-processing sensitivity (SPS) in research circles.

When I read that 15–20% of the human population is considered to be highly sensitive, a roughly equal proportion to have very low sensitivity, and the majority to lie somewhere in between, I immediately thought that this breakdown probably holds true for animals as well.

So, is there such a thing as the highly sensitive dog (HSD)?

If so, what might that look like? What behavioural traits might these dogs share or exhibit more than other dogs that we could recognise as HSD characteristics?

Is there any objective evidence for the existence of the 'HSD' or for any specific behaviours we might consider characteristic of such dogs?

Yes, there is.

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