How To Help Your Dog Relax
Just as you need to take a deep breath every once in a while, your dog also requires time to decompress and relax. Similarly, your dog may also suffer from anxiety and need help relaxing. You can play a huge role in helping him find calmness and enjoyment each day.
The key to helping your dog is to pay attention and learn your pup’s reactions to what’s happening day in and day out. High energy, naughty behavior, and excessive barking can all be signs that your dog needs to take a chill pill. But, before you turn to the vet and start him on medication that can cause a laundry list of side effects, make sure you have tried these six recommendations.
Helping Your Dog Relax
Doesn’t it feel great to have your shoulders rubbed after a long, hard day? Your pup could use a good rub down, but there are specific ways to massage him to help calm him down. Modern Dog Magazine published an article about techniques you can use at home, “Massage therapists use a stroke similar to petting to relax the nervous system. Lightly rest the flat palm of your hand on top of your dog’s head or neck. Make long, sweeping passes along the length of the spine and down the tail. Repeat this several times slowly. You can gradually increase your pressure if your dog likes it. Do not press straight down on the lower part of the back. To finish, allow one hand to rest at the base of your pet’s head and the other hand to rest over the area of the pelvis (the high point over your dog’s hips).”
Reading Out Loud
Stop at the library or order a book you’ve been wanting to read and carve 45-60 minutes out of each evening to read before going to bed. Instead of reading silently, read out loud while your dog lays at your side. Keeping a hand on him as he hears your voice reading will help regulate his heartbeat and provide a feeling of safety.
Studies show that playing classical or calming music lessens anxiety and promotes calmness. This is true for your pup, too! Keep music on in the background whenever your dog is home alone or at times he seems to have heightened anxiety.
Ensure that your dog has an energy release every day. You don’t have to run a marathon with him, but he does need to let go and burn any pent up energy. If you cannot meet this need, hire a pet sitter or dog walker to come in and get the job done.
Security Blanket or Anxiety Wrap
Think about babies and loveys; they form an attachment to one blanket and sleep with it for all of childhood. Provide a comfortable blanket that your dog can snuggle up with and love on. There are also incredible anxiety wraps on the market that you can put on your pup, similar to a weighted blanket humans use.
Crate or Place Training
Giving your dog a safe place of his own is a must. If you are against a crate, work on ‘place training’ instead. A ‘place’ is a mat or spot your dog retreats to when he needs or wants - or when you give the command. It’s important for him to have a spot of his own.