How To Calm A Dog

Almost every dog owner needs to know how to calm their dog at one point or another.  Dogs just have so much more natural physical energy than we do as humans it is almost astounding.  And just like children, a dog that cannot get their energy out is going to start forcing it out, and manifesting some pretty bad and destructive behaviors at the same time.  Unfortunately, not all of us have a huge multi-acre yard and public land where we can let our dogs roam free to their hearts content.  And also very unfortunate is how often a dog loses his life by being too overly excitable.

Calm A DogSo what can we do to help calm down our crazy dogs with all their energy?  Well, it comes in two parts.  The most important thing is to simply make sure they are getting all the exercise they need.  Sometimes, this is sadly out of reach for their owner.  It is not advisable to go get a Border Collie if something will keep you from running and playing with them, they will become neurotic and destroy your home instead.  It’s no one’s fault, it just simply won’t work, like asking a whale to play the piano, it’s just not going to happen.

Just because you are not an Olympic Athlete (and probably can’t outrun your dog) does not mean you cannot get them exercise, though.  I personally love to take my Border Collie out with me on my dirtbike, so she can run as fast as she wants on some trails, and I don’t end up having a heart attack.  After I trained her to heel to the dirt bike, and follow my commands when I am riding it, she absolutely dies to go out and test her top speed.  So far, I have clocked her sprinting at 25mph and she isn’t even a year old!  We have turned this into a very enjoyable game that she and I both love, and allows her to get out that intense Border Collie energy (well known as one of the most active breeds) in an appropriate and healthy way.  Many dogs will also love to play some form of fetch, be it with a ball or a frisbee, which can be another great way to get energy out.  Some of the more active breeds are also particularly apt at competing in dog sports, which can be a very fun thing to get involved in!  There are plenty of other games you can teach your dog as well, all of them having different benefits and valuable skills that they will teach your dog, from Hide and Seek to tricks and agility.

Some dogs don’t do very well unsupervised for long periods of time (think husky).  For these types of dogs, you have a few options of containment, to keep them out of trouble.  Crates and pens are useful physical barriers that can keep your dog inside an area that is safe for them (and your house!).  These do not have to be the small plastic ones you get at Petco (which are better for travels, and usually very small as a living space)…get creative and design them a whole room, or area that they can have to be their own.  If you are crating your dog while you are away, make sure they are getting enough exercise and play time outside of the crate, as being cooped up all day is not very good for their mental health.  A tether or running line can also be a great option if you have the backyard space for it, as can a fence.  These will give your dog much more room to run around and play in, and they will undoubtedly find things to do on their own that are nondestructive (although you may need to teach them not to dig !).   Training is also a very important piece of this, and it is important to tell them and show them what you expect from them.  Positive reinforcement training is always more effective, because if you yell at them, they will not understand what went wrong.