After receiving the email about Bob, I realized that I haven’t discussed how to teach the dog to be calm yet.
But before I start, I want to make it clear that a calm dog is not a repressed dog. It seems that many dog owners have a misconception about this difference. A dog that can stay calm is a dog that can find its own balance. For some dogs, it’s natural; but for others, especially hyperactive dogs and easily agitated breeds such as Border Collies and most hunting dogs, sitting still can be a real challenge. This is a challenge for the dog owner to resolve.
What it means to teach the dog to be calm
To teach the dog to be calm is to guide him in discovering a new strength that he probably did not know he had: to be calm and relaxed. It’s important that a dog knows how to calm down because it’s the only way he can be managed in all different situations and stay balanced. When a dog is unable to keep calm, it is constantly looking for something to do. His mind is never at ease, and this is apparent in his physical actions too. A dog that can never be at rest is a condition that causes discomfort to both the dog and the dog owner, and this can affect the relationship.
There are many aspects to consider when teaching your dog to be calm. Does the dog get out of the house enough? Does it have opportunities to release energy? In the case of Bob, the Border Collie, the answer was yes: he was regularly taken out for walks many times a day.
Another aspect to consider is the position of the dog bed. Is the bed placed in an appropriate location? Does it give him an opportunity to relax? If the bed is placed in front of the entrance door, this may give him reason to be excitable and agitated. It is also important to give the dog an undisturbed rest. We cannot be ourselves to interrupt those few moments of calm!
Last but not least, it’s also critical to assess family dynamics. Remember, your dog learns by mirroring what they see in your lifestyle and in the home. If we, the dog owner, can’t sit still for 5 minutes straight, we can’t expect our dog to do the same. This is one of the cases wherein educating the dog will also come in handy for ourselves!
3 steps to teach your dog how to be calm
Let’s begin from the assumption that the dog has enough opportunity to walk and release his energy, that the bed is in the right location, that the family dynamics are calm, and that the dog doesn’t have other problems that may affect his ability to stay calm. Here are three steps to teach your dog to be calm:
1 – Being together without interaction. Your dog should learn that interaction is not always necessary. This exercise can be done by giving the dog something to munch on, such as a snack of beef jerky, while we sit on a couch or desk reading or watching TV. The most important aspect of this exercise is to stay quiet and ignore the dog. Ideally, practice this exercise after you’ve taken him out for a walk.
2 – Leave your dog alone gradually, if your dog is fine with the first step.
3 – Exercise the calm outside your home, when you see progress in your dog inside the house. Just use the same techniques of step 1.
For questions or comments, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to let me know details about your specific case!