How to Teach Your Dog to Relax.
It is possible to teach anxious dogs to be calmer. Massage is a great way to educate your dog to relax (there are books and DVDs on dog massage). Start using the word “relaaaaax” as soon as you observe your dog taking deep breaths and having relaxed muscles throughout the massage (speak low and slow). You may gradually begin saying “relax” earlier and earlier in the process. Your dog will eventually learn to relax when he hears the term since he knows a lovely massage is on the way.
Working with your dog for three to five minutes in the morning and three to five minutes at night on basic signals like “sit,” “down,” “stay,” and “look” is another approach to teach him to relax. You’ll first give him a treat every time he follows the command. Switch to reinforce just the most relaxed forms of each cue after he understands the notion.
For example, if you ask him to sit and he does so in a pleasant, calm manner, you will reward him with that sit. Soft muscles all over his body, slow tail wags, sighs, blinking eyes, deep breaths, and so on are all things you should be searching for.
How can your dog learn to relax if you can’t teach him at home? Having some time set out to concentrate on relaxation might assist him in being calm throughout the day. As a result, he may be less hyperaware of your departure signals and absences in general. You may gently integrate distractions (such as you approaching the door and returning to your dog) into your relaxation exercises after your dog has learned to relax on command.
Your Departures Should Be Practiced
Many people believe that by repeatedly leaving their dogs for extended lengths of time, they may train them to be comfortable with their absences. Several veterinary behaviorists, on the other hand, no longer advocate it. These sorts of departures are often performed incorrectly and hastily beyond the dog’s comfort level, making some canines worse rather than better.
If you decide to attempt working with departures, make a video of the dog while you practice. You’re going too far, too quickly if you see any indicators of worry. While you’re practicing your departures, for example, your dog should gladly interact with his toy. You’ve gone too far, too quickly if he glances up and abandons his toy.
For all practice departures, it’s a good idea to utilize a video camera or a baby monitor so you know what’s going on while you’re away.
Here are some tips on how to prepare for departures.
First, you must complete the following steps. Get a simple food puzzle toy, which allows the dog to suck out something sticky or lose highly desired goodies. Fill the toy with foods that your dog likes, such as all-natural peanut butter or liver nibbles.
Place the food toy on the ground with your dog and let him to eat it. Once he’s done, pick it up. For at least seven days, do this at least once a day, at whatever time of day. This toy will only be offered for practice departures until your dog can contentedly be alone; do not use it if you are going to work or will be gone for an extended period of time.
You may begin practicing departures if your dog is excitedly anticipating this reward and can settle down with it for many minutes (at least ten minutes, but up to thirty would be best).
Step 2: Take your dog’s food toy and place it in front of him as you go toward the door. Get as close to the door as possible without touching it.
Return now and take a seat. Repeat up to five times while your dog continues to ignore you and eats his goodie. You can put the toy down if you finish these repetitions within a few minutes. Pick up the toy as you return from the door if you are only practicing this one at a time.
The idea is for the dog to link the special toy with you leaving but returning quickly. (Removing your dog’s food may not be viable in this exercise if your dog defends his food.)
You can actually touch the doorknob and wiggle it on your next session, repeating the same technique as before, when you can approach the door without your dog showing signs of distress at least ten to twelve times over several days (for example, you practice three to five times a day for ten days and he shows no distress at least ten to twelve times).
Step 3: Increase the amount of time you spend outside by a tiny amount, such as turning the doorknob all the way. You may gradually raise the intensity after ten to twelve repetitions over many days when your dog can focus on his food puzzle toy.
Carry on in this manner at every step of the way out the door. Increase the intensity in gradual increments over a period of days to weeks, then repeat the process.
The door is open, but no one is leaving.
Opening the door, walking out for one second, then coming back in Opening the door, walking out for two to four seconds, then coming in Opening the door, walking out, closing the door, and coming in Opening the door, walking out, closing the door, and coming in Opening the door, walking out, closing the door, and staying outside for a few seconds, then a minute, then a few minutes, then several minutes, and finally up to sixty minutes
You may leave the area totally in your vehicle or, if you live in an apartment, walk downstairs, but return immediately before your dog becomes concerned.
Many dogs that can be left alone for an hour or two may be left alone for the whole day, while others cannot.