Lets face it, even as a dog trainer sometimes we harp on exercise for our dogs. Sometimes that is what we really want to believe will help calm our dog down. We preach exercise, exercise and more exercise. It is common for dog owners to hear these recommendations through doggy daycare, or on google. Most dog owners then exercise their dog and yeah it takes the edge off , but the dog still cannot relax and calm down. There is a crucial part of creating calmness that owners are missing.
One of the key ways to help calm your dogs mind is to create clear “black and white” rules for your home. Yes laying down and chewing on a toy is good. No chewing on the couch is bad. Dogs truly need this guidance and help to help slow their mind down. As we talk about in other articles, dogs hate maybe. Maybe sometimes you can jump on people, or the couch. Helping your dog by giving boundaries will help them relax and feel secure.
Durational commands are also great for slowing your dog’s brain down. By duration commands I am talking about commands such as place, stay, leave it. These commands as our dogs to hold a spot or leave something for a duration unknown to them. Asking our dogs to perform these duration commands helps get them to think more and not be impulsive. We want to help our dogs think about the world and take the world in. If your dog hears the doorbell and runs to the door in a high arousal state, they are not thinking. In place they can think about the door and the person coming into their home and calm down a bit before allowing the dog to greet the person.