Teaching a Dog to Relax: Calming Your Canine
Most people’s dream is to have well-behaved, happy, and relaxed pooch that obeys commands and mind its training. That’s excellent and completely achievable, but teaching a dog to relax is just as important. Without proper relaxation training, even the best-trained dog could be an agitated mess of energy.
When a dog is unable to relax, it can lead to anxiety, fearfulness, and aggression. Unfortunately, these behaviors often lead to a lack of trust and a lack of security that can cause stress. That’s why teaching a dog to relax is essential in both training and keeping a healthy relationship between you and your pup.
In this article, we’ll look at some essential tips for teaching a dog to relax. Adopting these steps will help you create and sustain an emotionally calm and balanced environment for your pup.
The first step in teaching a dog to relax is to identify triggers that cause the pup to become stressed and anxious. Common triggers could include, visitors to the home, loud barking from a neighbor’s dog, or even the postman knocking on the door.
Once you’ve identified these triggers, try to identify the behaviors that occur once the trigger is present. Do they bark? Do they hide? Become anxious? All of these responses can help you better understand your pooch and how it responds to situations.
Create a Soothing Environment
The next step is to create a calming environment in your home to help your pup relax. You can do this by:
- Creating a Quiet Space: Provide a safe area with comfortable bedding and no loud items or noises. This allows your pup to feel secure and have a place to retreat to when feeling scared or anxious.
- Incorporate Calming Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy has been proven to reduce your pup’s stress levels. Consider using calming scents like lavender and chamomile to help your pup relax.
- Adding Calming Music: Invest in some calming music to play whenever your pup is feeling anxious. Music can help relax both the mind and body and has been proven to help sooth angry canines.
- Create a Routine: Having a consistent daily routine helps your pup know what to expect and can reduce stress. You can also tie your relaxation practice into this routine.
The key to teaching your pup to relax is to use some simple yet effective calming activities.
- Brushing: Grooming is a great way to help your puppy relax. Regular brushing will help get rid of knots, mats, and dander that can cause discomfort, as well as provide extra bonding time and physical affection with your pooch. Be sure to use a soft brush and comb that don’t pull at their fur.
- Massage: Massage is a great way to relax a pup. Massaging your pup will not only help them relax, but it also has physical benefits, such as improve circulation and give relief from joint and muscle pain. Massage also releases endorphins, which will help your pup remain happy and calm.
- Yoga: Believe it or not, yoga is a great way to relax a pup. Many pups love to stretch and practice yoga poses with their owners. Yoga can help to stretch out your pup’s muscles and reduce anxiety and stress.
- Chew Toys: Chewing is one of the ways that dogs relax. Providing your pup with plenty of chewable toys will help keep them calm, entertained, and not chewing on items they are not allowed to (like shoes).
Once your pup has an environment, activities, and toys to help them relax, it’s time to work on relaxation commands. This step is important, as it helps to establish control of the situation and reinforces what behaviors would be acceptable, even in a stressful situation.
There are several different commands you can use:
- Off: This command is used when asking your pup to turn around or move off a piece of furniture.
- Down: This command is used when asking your pup to lay down.
- Relax: This command is used to encourage your pup to remain calm and relax.
- Stay: This command is used to encourage pup to stay in one spot and not move.
These commands should be given in a firm but gentle voice, with positive reinforcement and rewards when the pup does as you command.
In conclusion, teaching a dog to relax is a vital part of any training program. It can help give your pup the tools to manage stressful or anxious situations, as well as help build a trusting relationship between you and your pup.
By following the steps above, you can create an emotionally calm and balanced environment for your pup that will be enjoyable for both of you.
Remember to always keep in mind your pup’s individual personality, as well as their own triggers to anxiety. With patience, practice, and dedication, you can help your pup to become a well-behaved, happy, and relaxed canine that both you and your pup can enjoy.