How to teach a dog to calm down | The idea
Who wouldn’t want their dog to relax and chill-out till you are ready to go for a walk or play? Or to stop going bonkers when you tell it to? A calm and relaxed dog actually helps to calm me down. Each time I am working with owners and their dogs it is such a change in energy when the dog lies down and relaxes. The activity, the tension, the business, the excitement, the nervousness or whatever energy the dog carrying settles down, literally. If you are a bit attuned to what is going on around you, it is a profound change. And this state of ease can become a more frequent experience if self-control is learned.
How to teach a dog to calm down | Your state matters
It should not be a surprise that the scattered, exhausted, excited, restless energy we often bring home after a day at work is not beneficial to your dog, or yourself for that matter. Usually people add their energy to the dogs excitement and all the other things that are going for the dog like “Has anything changed?”, “Are you ok?”, Where do I fit in?”, “How can I get attention?” etc. Thus we create a more excited, chaotic energy that tends to stir up the dog and us. And we usually are not even through the door.
Many of us like to be excited, busy, doing ten things at a time, rushing around etc. There is nothing wrong with that. But given that most people rush around all day long, why don’t we slow down when we finally could? The simple answer is because we are habitually busy. We constantly foster a busy state of mind, we constantly distract ourselves with something. Hence it is extremely difficult for us to stop, to slow down, to settle down, to relax. That is why we mostly need to make a conscious effort to slow down. Now here is how you can make a little change towards more tranquility, everyday.
How to teach a dog to calm down | Arriving at home
Ignore your dog when you come home – make a conscious choice to actually arrive at home first. Just walk in the door and do what you would do if your dog would not be there. Put your bags away, chance your clothes, make a cup of tea and most importantly arrive at home yourself. Take a few deep breaths, look at the horizon, settle down. Just give yourself a few minutes for yourself!
Your dog will go through the motions of trying to get your attention. Let it be. Do not talk to or look at your dog – this is your time. By minding your own business you are communicating “give me my space”, “I deal with you when I am ready”, “not now”. In case your dog is to rambunctious or demanding just get hold of its collar and bring it outside or into another room. And don’t forget to breathe and relax. Over time, it will settle down and relax more quickly once it gets used to you wanting some space. Down the road your dog can remind you to calm down when you are stressed because with its own relaxed state of being.
How to teach a dog to calm down | Other times
You can apply the same principle whenever your dogs plays up. You want to disengage and mind your own business. Ignore your dogs behavior, focus on yourself and do what you do. Worst case, put your dog away if it does not get the message. Keep it simple, relax, breathe and repeat. You might be surprised what happens. It’s the little things that make all the difference if you keep it up!
You are not only looking after yourself when doing this, you are also teaching your dog self-control and apply a few leadership principles as well. And here is another idea. Maybe instead of switching on the TV and getting bombarded with ads, dramas, explosions and the like, put on some nice relaxing music. Similarly when you find yourself speeding up or going a hundred miles an hour, stop. Well first you have to notice what you are doing. Then stop for few moments, gather yourself, breathe and maybe ease the situation with some music. There is also some preventative music available to help calm things down – for your dog and yourself. Through the dogs ears is a music series geared to do exactly that and more. Check it out!
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