Your dog may need calming down for many different reasons. He could be overexcited, fearful or anxious. How you go about calming your dog down depends on your own personal preferences. Hopefully these tips on how to calm down a dog will work for your pet.
There are many tried and tested ways that you can calm down your dog and most of them really do work well. Of course our initial reaction is to cuddle our dog to try and calm him down, but there are better ways in which we can handle the situation.
The methods included in this article will teach your dog that there really isn’t a need to be sacred, anxious or stressed. Of course he may be just overly excited about something – maybe he can see you getting his lead, which means you are going for a walk. To calm down your dog you need to understand whether he is anxious, scared or over excited. Once you know that, you will know how to handle the situation better.
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10 Tips On How to Calm Down a Dog
1. Understand your dog’s body language
The first thing you need to understand is your dog’s body language. Is he scared, stressed or overexcited? We can often misread our dog’s body language, but it’s the key as to how we can help them calm down. All dogs react to different stimuli in different ways.
One dog may become scared and run away to hide, while another scared dog could become aggressive. Both dogs are scared, but their reactions are totally different. Some common signs of a scared dog include:
- His body being hunched
- He may look away from you or have dilated eyes
- His ears could be down or even going backwards
- He may start to whine
- He may start to shake and shiver
- His paws may become sweaty
- He may lose control of his bladder
2. Find the root cause of your dog’s behavior
Sometimes the root cause is obvious. You dog may hear fireworks or thunder; any loud noise has the potential to trigger a reaction in your dog and make him became stressed or fearful. If he is over excited, well there are many reasons for this, too. He may be so overwhelmed to see you if you’ve been out for the day, or he may know you're taking him for a walk.
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Try and understand things from your dog’s point of view, put yourself in his situation. How would you react? This will give you a better understanding about how he could be feeling.
3. Minimize the cause
Once you have found the cause of your dogs stress or over excitement, try and do all you can to reduce it. If thunder or fireworks are the cause, as soon as you hear them, turn on the television and close all the windows and doors. Closing the curtains or blinds will help as well.
Of course this method really all depends on the cause of your dog’s distress, but whatever the reason is, try and minimize it as best you can. If your dog gets over excited because he sees his lead coming out of the drawer, then don’t bring out the leash until the very last minute.
4. Try and distract your dog
If you've been wondering how to calm down a dog, distracting him is a great idea! The more he is concentrating on something else, the less concerned he'll be about what’s bothering him. Does your dog have a favorite toy that he loves playing with? If so try and distract him with that.
If you hear thunder or fireworks, turn up the television, bring out his toy and play with him until the noise has gone. Your dog may still be able to hear it, as dogs have excellent hearing, but at least it shouldn’t be bothering him as much. The key is to turn what was a stressful situation into a happy one.
When your dog hears fireworks he is obviously going to be stressed or scared, but by bringing out a toy you are turning the stressful situation into a happy one. Your dog will soon start to understand that a stressful situation could lead to a fun filled activity.
5. Pet your dog
All dogs love affection and they absolutely thrive on it. Not all dogs like being pet in the same ways though. some dogs like long strokes while others prefer pats. Many dogs like to be scratched, and they all have their favorite scratching spots.
One great tip on how to calm down a dog is to try and pet him like this:
- Put your palm onto your dog’s head and then slowly work your way down his back
- Move from his head all the way down to his hips
- Apply slight pressure
- Repeat until you begin to notice the calming effects
6. Try a dog anxiety vest
Learning how to calm down a dog isn't difficult, but if your dog is giving you a particularly hard time there are products available to help. Anxiety vests, like the Thundershirt, have been proven to help calm dogs.
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These are close fitting garments that wraps around your dog’s body and apply slight pressure. They have to be close fitting in order to relax the nerves, which will ultimately calm your dog down.
7. Put on some classical music
If your dog is stressed or anxious put on some classical music, it really will help to soothe your pet. Many dog owners do this as a calming down method and it’s used in animal shelters too.
8. Try pheromone diffusers
Pheromone diffusers work really well at calming down dogs. Pheromones are chemical messengers that work to calm down a stressed out animal. How does it work? It's a natural remedy that goes back to when puppies are still in the womb. When a mother gives birth to her pups, she releases pheromones that will help to calm them down.
The pheromones make the puppies feel safe and secure. The synthetic versions that are bought in stores and veterinary practices are known as DAP, or Dog Appeasing Pheromones. They are widely available with no prescription required for purchase.
9. Talk to your vet
If you've been trying to figure out how to calm down a dog, your vet will have the best advice. Sometimes your dog may be stressed or anxious and you just cannot get to the bottom of it, if this is the case it would be a great idea to chat with your vet.
Your dog’s distress could be caused by an underlying health condition. Your vet will be able to help you get to the bottom of the cause and then go on to treat it.
10. Exercise your dog more
Dogs love walking, and if they don’t get walked enough it can lead to behavioral issues. Exercise will greatly help a stressed out dog by releasing all of the stress that may have been building up inside him.
Exercise makes us happy, and it’s the same for our dogs too. Try walking your dog more, or if you like running then that’s a great option too. just make sure your dog is in good physical health. Your vet will tell you if your dog is up for the exercising challenge.
There are many ways of learning how to calm down a dog, and they all work really well. The key is to understand the root cause before you start thinking about how to cure it.
When we know the cause of our dog’s anxiety, stress or over excitement we can then get to work on reducing or even preventing it. Dogs are our best friends and we will always do our best for them, and that includes finding out ways in which we can make them as happy as they can possibly be.