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A 10-Step Guide for Calming Your Dog
Wednesday July 5th 2017
If your dog is prone to anxiety or over-excitement, it’s important to know how to calm them down and prevent them from becoming stressed. We’ve put together this ten-step guide to calming down your dog, to teach dog-owners about the various methods which can be used to settle their dogs should they become distressed.
1. Physical Exercise
Making sure your dog gets enough daily exercise is a key factor in ensuring they stay calm and composed throughout the day. If your dog is acting frantic and over-excited, it could just be because they’ve not received enough exercise and they’ve got too much excess energy with no way of exerting it.
2. Mental Exercise
Mental stimulation is almost as important as physical exercise when it comes to ensuring that your dog isn’t bouncing off the walls. One of the best ways to mentally stimulate your dog can be through feeding. Try using food dispensing toys such as Kong’s so that your dog has to work for their dinner. Training your dog to learn tricks and new skills is another great way to provide them with mental stimulation which will help tire them out and keep them calm.
3. Body Wrap
Body wrapping is a technique which can be used to soothe your dog in stressful situations where they may become distressed. The process involves securely wrapping your dog around their chest, tummy, and shoulders, and is aimed towards giving them a sense of security and increasing their confidence. It’s important that you never leave your dog unattended once they’re wrapped.
4. Dryer Sheets
If your dog tends to become stressed when there’s a storm going on outside, it could be because of the built-up static electricity in their fur causing them discomfort. Try rubbing their fur with an anti-static dryer sheet to eliminate the static and help calm them down.
Playing the right kind of music can help to alter your dog’s mood and calm them in stressful situations. Try to find the type of music which suits your dog, classical music is often considered the best for this, and play it to your dog when they’re distressed to soothe and relax them.
Dogs have a heightened sense of smell, and because of this, soothing smells in aromatherapy can be particularly effective in calming them down. If you’re interested in trying this method, discuss the benefits and best methods to use for your dog with your vet.
7. Counter Conditioning
Positive rewards are a great way of training your pet, and can even be used to train them into calming themselves down. By creating a positive association with the things that cause your dog to become agitated, you will eventually be able to use these rewards to calm them down.
As you may already know, most dogs don’t have the largest of attention spans, so one easy way to calm them down can be to simply distract them from whatever it is that’s causing their distress. Using their favourite toy, or perhaps some food, divert their attention away from the source of excitement until they are calm and have forgotten all about it.
9. Calm yourself
It’s been found that dogs are extremely sensitive to our feelings and emotions, and sometimes if we’re feeling particularly stressed or tense, our dog will pick up on this and it can heighten their tension too. Try to be aware of your body language, if your dog seems stressed could this just be a reflection of your mood? If so, try to relax yourself, and your dog is likely to feel relieved with you.
10. Create a Calming Area
If your dog has a safe spot where they tend to hide out if they’re feeling stressed, try turning that spot into a designated area for them. Make sure the area is easily accessible and filled with all of their favourite comforts such as their best toys or blanket. Once they have this safe spot, they will take themselves there to calm themselves down if they’re ever feeling overwhelmed.