How to Calm Dog Down
Do you have a dog that just won’t settle down?
and its driving you crazy with its “bad” behaviors?
Barking too much, chewing the furniture, jumping up on you, fearful of loud noises…thunderstorms and fireworks causing it to shake in fear and cling to you like glue?
Sound Familiar to You?
Well, I thought I’d share some tips with you that you can try that may help stop these behaviors. Hopefully, your dog doesn’t do all of the ones I listed above, but maybe it does.
Or, maybe it has behaviors such as pacing back and forth, aggression, or separation anxiety. These are all signs of a dog that is NOT in a relaxed state.
So, What Can You Do to Help your dog?
Tips to Help Your Dog Relax
- You must remain calm
- Daily exercise
- Mental stimulation
- Counter Conditioning–gradually teaching a dog not to be afraid of things
- Massage for your dog
- Crate training
- D.A.P. (dog appeasing pheromone) collars
- Composure treats
- Rescue Pet Remedy
Why Remaining Calm Helps Your Dog Relax
First of all, one of the main things dogs pick up on is your attitude…
Yes, YOUR attitude!
and if you’re impatient, frustrated, and angry chances are you’re not going to accomplish having a very relaxed dog.
After all, dogs are masters of body language and picking up your true feelings not only in the tone of voice you’re using, but your body language too. So, please be aware of how your own mood is before attempting to teach your dog anything…it learns a lot from you whether you realize it or not.
Stay in a positive happy mood…you don’t need to yell or hit your dog! These things only make it worse…
I mean, how would you feel if someone is yelling orders or even worse, hitting you if you didn’t get it right the first time? It takes time to teach a dog, some longer than others.
So, be patient and relax!
Dogs learn much faster by using positive reinforcement…reward them with praise, gentle petting, toys, or treats they love every time they do something you want them to do.
But, what do you do when your dog is doing something bad?
Do Nothing and Ignore it until it stops…as long as it’s not hurting anyone or itself though. Then, depending on the situation, you need to do something of course.
But, for example, if your dog is jumping up on you, turn your back to it and don’t say a word…
by reacting to it and yelling and pushing it away you’re just asking for more! Your dog loves attention and it’ll get it one way or another from you whether it’s in the form of yelling or not, it doesn’t care! It just wants attention because it’s so happy to see you and wants to play.
So, if you push at your dog and yell…well, that’s a fun game for them, but not for you.
What you want to do is teach your dog that it is GOOD to be calm and relaxed. Whenever it’s behaving the way you want it to such as laying quietly by your feet, reward it with a favorite treat.
The video below from Kikopup, explains this quite well, if you’d like an example on how to do this…
How to Teach Your Dog to Be Calm Video…Capturing Calmness
Daily Exercise & Playtime
Exercise is a great way to burn off some of that excess energy for your dog. Plus, it’ll keep it healthier in the long run. Taking your dog for at least a daily walk is a great way for both of you to stay in better shape, burn some calories, and enjoy the outdoors.
It won’t hurt to take a break out of your day and go for at least a 20-minute walk with your dog…trust me, you’ll feel so much better when you get out there! However, walking isn’t the only way you can exercise your dog…playing fetch or frisbee are also great ways to get its exercise too.
Dogs love spending time with their people!
Even if you have a fenced in yard, your dog probably isn’t going to run around enough on its own to get the proper exercise it needs to wear off its excess energy. Especially if you have a breed of dog that is known to be more hyper or energetic.
Dogs do get bored!
And, a bored, but energetic dog is never a good thing!
It’ll find something to do if you’re not paying attention…chewing on the furniture or your shoes, digging holes in the yard, barking at everything, and sometimes just plain old bugging you!
C’mon! You know what I mean….your dog keeps pawing at you, scratching your leg or arm to bits, or maybe it’s just sitting there…
staring at you…boring holes into you with its eyes til you can’t stand it anymore!
Well, if that’s the case, by all means give it something to do!
A good way to keep them mentally stimulated is do a bit of training every day. Teaching them new things or working on training will help. Train them to sit, lay down, come when called, and stay are all ones that are important for all dogs to learn.
There are also many other things you can teach them once they get these basic ones accomplished. However, it’s always good to refresh their memory and go over the basics once in awhile.
Toys to Keep Your Dog Busy
You can also buy toys for your dog that will make it work at getting a reward. Toys such as the fillable Kongs or interactive puzzle toys are great ones to keep your dog busy for awhile. Plus, it’ll give them something to gnaw on, which should also help satisfy their natural urge to chew.
No, I’m not talking about some treatment for your counter tops…
Counter conditioning your dog basically means using positive reinforcement to teach your dog that something its fearful of such as loud noises…
things like thunderstorms or fireworks…
actually won’t hurt them at all and nothing bad will happen to them…and not only that, but they’ll have only good things happening to them during these times.
What Can You Use as Positive Reinforcement When Counter Conditioning Your Dog?
- Massage – use gently, circular motion
- Treats or Toys – give treats they really love such as cooked pieces of chicken or beef or even a fillable toy
- Proper Crate Training
Giving your dog a gentle massage, talking soothingly, playing soft music, running a fan or other source of white noise are all ways to keep your dog calm during these times.
Treats & Toys
Giving your dog a treat filled toy may also help keep its mind off the noise. Fill it with something it REALLY loves though…not something that it doesn’t care all that much about. Small bits of cooked chicken or beef, or peanut butter mixed with kibble usually work well for most dogs. However, all dogs are different, so use what works for your dog the best.
You might also benefit by exercising your dog before any expected event that may cause your dog’s anxiety levels to go through the roof. Going for a nice, calm walk 30 minutes or so prior will often tire it out a bit so it won’t be as reactive to the situation. Of course, that only works if you know when things may begin getting noisy.
Proper Crate Training
Crate training is another way that helps some dogs to ride out the storm so to speak. Some dogs feel safer in a confined space and if you’ve properly crate trained your dog already then having it go in its crate may help keep it calm til the noise has passed. Playing soft music or running a fan will help block the noise too. All dogs are different, so some methods may work on some dogs and some may not.
Products to Help Your Dog Be Calm**
- D.A.P. – Adaptil collars –**which is a natural way to calm your dog by using pheromones
- Composure Treats (review post)
- Rescue Pet Remedy**
What Causes a Dog to Start Doing Bad Behaviors?
Well, there’s usually a reason a dog starts having bad behavior. No, they don’t mean to do things just to drive us crazy….
Yeah, go ahead and admit it…your dog drives you crazy sometimes right?
It’s got you scratching your head in frustration, wondering where you went wrong…
I get it…don’t feel bad, we all have those moments when we don’t know why they’re doing what they do. But, in order to solve the problem you need to watch your dog…see what sets off the behavior you don’t want it doing.
Is it just bored? Or, does it have an anxiety issue causing it to misbehave? Does your dog do this behavior only when its left home alone or does it do it anyway, whether someone is home or not?
Although your dog can’t talk, it’s trying to tell you something. Listen to your dog by watching it’s actions and body language. Take note of how it appears to feel…does it look anxious, relaxed, angry, etc?
For example, all four of our dogs do the same thing when they need to go out…they’ll appear restless, not angry or fearful, and go towards the door and then come back to look at me usually…since I’m the one that always takes them outside. When I see this, I know they gotta go!
If I happen to not notice, one of our dogs, Jade, will actually go and jingle the bell we have hanging off our door, which is funny since I never actually tried to teach her that! But, good idea…it gets my attention when its slipping!
Another example with our dogs, is if they’re running for the door in an excited state and barking, I know someone is out there…either in our yard or driveway. Or, yet another one, is if they go towards the kitchen, come back and stare, then go back in the kitchen…they keep doing this until I follow along and then they stop at the water dish and stare at it.
Well, sometimes it’s still pretty full, but not too fresh….so, our spoiled dogs want fresh water! They’ll look at the dish, look at me, look at the sink, look at the dish, then me and on it goes, lol! All with a happy, but hopeful and pleading look in their eye….Okay, already, I’ll get you fresh water!
Now, that I just don’t quite get…they go outside and drink out of a mud puddle or sometimes the bigger two will drink out of the toilet if they get the chance…blech! But, when it comes to the water bowl it’s gotta be fresh, cold, and clean!
Figuring out what triggers your dog’s behavior is the key to so many behavior issues!
What do you notice your dog doing? What kind of things have you found helpful for calming your dog? I’d love to hear from you…
Please leave any comments, suggestions, or questions in the comment box below…or, fill out my contact page and I’ll get back to you asap.
Oh, one more thing…Can I ask you to do me a favor?
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Thanks so much for reading! May you and your furry friend have an awesome day!
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