Will you PLEASE Calm Down?!- Teaching your Dog to Relax
Dogs who jump on you or visitors, or constantly bug you for attention, or won’t settle at the vet office or at a dog-friendly establishment are just not fun to be around. You can teach your dog how to relax independently while you chat with friends or work at home or whatever it is you need to do. Instead of constantly yelling at your dog, or keeping them in a kennel, you can co-exist peacefully, in any situation.
Teaching a dog to relax starts with the capturing technique. Simply reward your dog any time they are exhibiting calm relaxed behavior. Instead of giving your dog their entire breakfast in the morning, put it in a treat pouch and carry it around with you. Whenever your dog is chillaxing, calmly walk over to them and give them a few kibbles and some pets.
Here’s a great video on teaching any dog to relax.
Once your dog knows how to calmly settle, even with distracting food and in mildly distracting situations, you can teach “go to your place” to give the dog a cue that it is time to chill out. Maybe there’s a visitor coming over, or you want to cook a meal without dancing around puppies. Whatever the reason, being able to tell your dog to go to their place and relax until you say otherwise is a fantastic behavior that any dog can learn. Seriously, what dog doesn’t want to lay down on their bed and get rewarded for it?
Here’s how to teach “go to your place.”
The key is to start with a dog who knows how to relax. Then you can ask your dog to chill out on a mat, on their bed, at a vet clinic, at a dog-friendly establishment, while you’re working, and so on. It’s one simple behavior that prevents uncontrolled greetings, begging at the table, constantly bugging you for attention, flipping out at the vet office, and so on. You don’t have to teach your dog multiple different things, just how to settle down on a bed or mat or even in a crate.
To teach this essential skill, you will need the place- a dog bed, mat, or crate- a treat pouch, and treats.