Have a dog that can’t settle down in the house? Maybe barks at the slightest sound? How about a biting piranha for a puppy? No matter what the age of your dog, sleep is a major contributing factor to frustrating behavior.
Puppies less than six months of age need 18 to 20 hours of sleep a day, while dogs less than a year old will benefit from 14 to 16 hours a day. For older dogs, a good 12 hours of sleep will keep them on track for making better choices.
Sleep is just that, deep uninterrupted relaxation. Dogs who sleep a few minutes here and there, in between following you around the house, are not getting the recuperation they need throughout the day and may start displaying signs of underlying issues with low levels of daily stimulation. As with sleeping babies, we want them to sleep through the vacuum, the TV and hopefully even a barking dog, when the doorbell rings. This means they are getting high-quality recovery time from the busy world around them. Your dog will benefit from the same!
Negative behaviors are rooted in your dog’s inability to positively respond to stress or stimulation in the environment. A dog that can remain more relaxed when people walk through a room or hear another dog barking outside, or even when the delivery driver leaves a package on your porch, is better able to handle more challenging experiences. For example, they are more capable of walking nicely on a leash and not being destructive when you are away from home.
The best way to begin teaching relaxation is with containment indoors, in an environment you can control.
BACK TYING – connect a leash to your dog’s collar, or harness if it is really worked up about a situation, and attach them to an immovable object such as a couch leg or main railing post. Give it a bed, blanket, chew toys, etc. and let it work through its frustrations with no feedback from you. Don’t leave your dog unattended during back tying.
PEN OR KENNEL – these containment options are also beneficial for your dog to learn to relax while you are going about your business around the house. You can cover the pen or kennel and give them chew toys to enjoy, as well. Feeding your dog in these spaces will also increase their interest in spending time here.
Meet your dog in training where its current ability begins. If it can only be contained for a few minutes in the beginning, start there and wait for some level of calmer behavior before releasing them. For more direct help in guiding your dog to become more relaxed and building better behavior, Full House Dog Training is ready to help! We will build your confidence in working with your dog through proven deep-level relaxation techniques that impact the core of developing good behavior.