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Top Tips for a Calmer Dog: How to Have a Calmer, Happier Dog

Written by: Helena Lawrence



Time to read 3 min

Is your dog more jittery than jolly? More panic-stricken than playful? Don’t worry, you're not alone! Many pups experience anxiety, and it's our job as their human companions to help them find their zen. Finding the path to a calmer dog can improve both your lives, making your home a happier, more peaceful place.

Our dogs are more than just pets; they're part of the family. But, just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety, which can show in various ways, from persistent barking to destructive behaviour and even health issues. Understanding the signs of anxiety in your dog and knowing how to address them can transform the life of your anxious pooch, ensuring they lead a happy, calm and healthy life. Read on for our top tips for a calmer dog and find out how you can have a less anxious, happier dogs.

Recognising Signs of Anxiety in Dogs

Firstly, being able to identify when your dog is feeling anxious is vital. The symptoms of anxiety can be diverse and sometimes subtle. These might include:

  • Excessive barking or whining

  • Pacing and restlessness

  • Panting and yawning

  • Destructive behaviours

  • Sudden aggressiveness

  • Shaking or trembling

  • Excessive licking or grooming

  • Avoiding interaction or hiding

Remember, these behaviours can also indicate other health issues, so it's important to consult a vet to rule out any medical problems.

8 Top Tips for a Calmer Dog

Here are some absolutely pawsome tips to help your dog ditch the distress and live a tail-wagging, happy life. Trust us, these tips are tried, tested, and totally dog-approved!

1. Create a Safe Space

One of the most effective ways to comfort an anxious dog is by providing a safe, secure environment. Dogs often seek refuge when they're stressed, so creating a designated safe space, like a cosy dog bed in a quiet corner away from high-traffic areas, can make all the difference. This go-to spot should be readily accessible to your pet at all times.

2. Consistent Routines

Anxiety can often stem from uncertainty. Maintaining a consistent schedule for feeding, walks, and playtime can provide a sense of security for your dog. Knowing what to expect from their day can significantly reduce stress levels.

3. Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Regular exercise is key for your dog’s physical and mental well-being. It’s an effective stress reliever, releasing pent-up energy that could otherwise fuel anxious behaviours. Additionally, mental stimulation through puzzle toys, training sessions, or even simple games like hide-and-seek can keep their mind sharp and occupied, diverting attention away from stressors.

4. Training for Confidence

Training isn't just about obedience – it's also about building confidence. Learning new commands and tricks can help your dog feel more secure. Positive reinforcement and tasty treats for a job well done will also strengthen your bond. Because a confident dog is a calm dog!

5. Tune into the Power of Music

Did you know that certain types of music can have a soothing effect on dogs? Classical music, in particular, has been shown to calm down anxious pups. Next time your dog is feeling uneasy, try playing some Bach or Mozart. You might just find you have a classical music fan on four legs!

6. Gentle Desensitisation

For dogs that are anxious about specific things (like thunderstorms or strangers), gentle desensitisation techniques can be beneficial. This involves gradually and carefully exposing them to their fear in a controlled manner, paired with positive reinforcement. Over time, this can help reduce the fear response. Professional guidance from a dog behaviourist is recommended for this sensitive approach.

7. Consider Calming Supplements

There are natural remedies and supplements available that can help soothe canine anxiety. Options like our Peaceful Pooch meal topper or Peace, calming chews, or even a comforting pheromone diffuser can make a world of difference. Always consult with your vet before introducing any new supplements into your dog’s diet.

8. Professional Advice

Sometimes, a professional’s help may be necessary, especially for severe cases of anxiety. Dog behaviourists or veterinary behaviourists can offer tailored advice and treatment plans, which might include behaviour modification techniques or, in some situations, medication.

The Power of Patience and Love

Above all, the most powerful tool at your disposal is your empathy and patience. Anxiety can't be cured overnight, and there may be setbacks along the way. Offering your consistent support, understanding, and love will help build your dog's confidence and reduce their anxiety over time.

Caring for a dog with anxiety requires dedication, but the rewards — seeing your dog becoming more confident and relaxed — are priceless. Remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. It's about finding the right combination of techniques, routines, and treatments that suit your dog’s individual needs.

Being informed about the causes and manifestations of anxiety in dogs, as well as knowing the most effective ways to help them, reflects deep care and love for our canine companions. By applying these tips, you'll not only improve the quality of life for your anxious dog but also deepen the bond you share with them.