Dogs can relate to our emotions pretty quickly. They usually feel anxious or scare when we do. I find it very important to take small moments in which I connect to my dogs and relax together. Training and exercise are very important, and so is teaching our dogs how to relax.
1. Find a special space
When we talk about a special space it doesn’t have to be a place it can also be a special practice that makes you and your dog feel at home .One of the most amazing super powers you and your dog can have is having the ability to change from fight mode to flight mode to relaxing mode together!Start at home , let’s have as little distractions as possible . Start massaging your dog from its hips to the head slowly . Moving his body in circular motion works like magic too .When you see it starts relaxing give him a treat and repeat . Do it for longer time . If he gets too excited about the treats and looses focus just keep massaging until he is completely calm .Practice this at home a few times and then when you are out for walks . Reward relaxing behaviors like sit or down when you want to settle in .I will also encourage you to have a special place around your neighborhood where you only go to relax . In that way when you are feeling a little stress you can go to your local lake, or set up a picnic blanket and lay down. Your dog will soon associate this special place with being relaxed.
2.Sit restrainSit restrain helps your dog give up control by using pressure release.Lure or Place your dog on a sit position. Get behind him and apply gently pressure with one hand on top of his head , especifically on his oxitpital bone. This is an acupressure point and stress relief . Your other hand will go under his chin. The first few sessions we are just going to work on letting go when he relaxes and let him get comfortable with the exercise . Encourage your dog to put a little weight into your hand that is placed on the bottom of his chin and as soon as he does start rubbing his chestStart lifting one of his paws and then the other. If the dog doesn’t resist you let go . If its too much for the dog you back up a little .When your dog starts to relax when you do this , do it in other places . Ask people toCome over and let him say hi when he is doing well and letting go . You can do the same thing with down .Gradually build up to doing it in different surroundings. Going from the less distracting to the most chaotic ones. In that way , your dog learns to relax and you both can enjoy your time together.If you get to the point were your dog goes from “I don’t care” to “stimulation reload” the next tip is just for you.
3. Behavioral DownThe purpose of behavioral down is to teach the dog to relax ON ITS OWN.You will start by grabbing a six foot leash and clipping it to your dogs flat collar. You are going to step on it with enough distance to leave a little slack in between . We are not going to add any downward pressure, no verbal corrections or praise either.Your dog will eventually lay down and you will wait a few minutes to release and praise . Practice for more time. When he fights being still don’t reward with attention or stress him more by being angry . Wait him out , he will eventually give up control and that’s a very important part of the process . We need to teach our dogs to look at us to know how to react to the environment.Also, If you practice this constantly in quiet settings . Then you can get to teaching him how to relax in places where he used to get stress or scared , even traumatized! When your dog knows what’s coming he can relax and gives up control.Now , very important point . Don’t overstep. Go at your pups pace and just move forward when your dog feels comfortable . Every step conquered should be a party! Celebrate your success and enjoy 🙂Don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list to get more awesome tips like this and to submit your comments. We will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have