Easy Lesson on How to Calm a Dog Down

By: David Codr

Published Date: June 18, 2024

how to calm a dog down

Blitzen is a one-year-old Siberian Husky who lives in Omaha. His guardians set up a dog obedience training session with me for some lessons on how to calm a dog down.

Blitzen gets extremely excited when guests come over and he can’t control himself. He jumps on people and furniture, sometimes even counter surfing. He doesn’t listen, marks in the house, and shows other unwanted behaviors. Once a pup like Blitzen is this overexcited, it becomes extremely difficult to calm a dog down.

As you can see in the video above, Blitzen was a little too friendly during our initial meeting. He was not concerned about other people’s personal space and was eager to jump up and sniff the stranger entering his home.

I was happy to see that his ears were back, but we still want to help him with the level of energy he brought to the front door. If you have a dog greet you like this, let them get their sniffs in before you move further into their home.

How to Train a Husky to be Calm

While Blitzen was pretty excited when I arrived for the session, it wasn’t the worst arrival behavior I have ever seen. I intervened and corrected his behavior a few times when he tried to jump up. Once he appeared to calm down, his guardians guided me into the living room to address his dog behavior issues.

However, I hadn’t even had a chance to take my coat off before Blitzen started going crazy again. Throughout my career as a dog behaviorist, I’ve encountered my fair share of eccentric canine behavior. However, the spectacle I’ve captured on film today might just surpass all others in its sheer wildness.

For your viewing pleasure and amusement, I give you one of the best (or worst, lol) examples of any dog needing my services in … well ever, lol.

I used a chain leash (since I knew he would chew on it) and Martingale collar to control Blitzen. This collar is best for Huskies because of their thick neck and smaller skull. I attached the leash to the collar and used it to give him a time out.

How to Calm a Dog Down

Blitzen calmed down after a few minutes. I was then able to talk to his owners about the help they needed with his behavior and some general tips for how to calm a dog down.

During our conversation, I discovered that Blitzen didn’t have many established rules. When a dog lacks clear boundaries or when those boundaries are inconsistently enforced, it can lead the dog to believe they hold the same authority as their guardians.

When you combine this with a puppy, you have a recipe that is going to result in a pooch that does not listen.

I suggested a number of rules and limits that the guardians can incorporate that will help Blitzen start to see them as authority figures.

Note: This writing may seem strange because you are about to watch videos of other dogs. At the end of our session, Blitzen’s guardian asked me to do the longer version of my write up. I only filmed two videos during their session, so I’m using videos from other sessions to cover the points we discussed.

Training a Dog to Listen

First up is a great way to add a little bit of structure to petting and rewarding the dog to help it see the human as being an authority figure. I like to call this Petting with a Purpose.

By getting into a habit of petting the dog this way, Blitzen’s guardians will be doing a mini dog obedience training session each time they pet him.

Teaching a Dog Self-Control and Boundaries

There are many other activities and exercises that you can do that will also help your dog develop self control. One of these is a simple focus exercise. If you have an exctied dog who has difficulty listening to you, training them to focus is a great way to develop some impulse control for your dog. Check out the video below on a force free way to teach a dog to focus.

The focus exercise is a great way to distract or redirect a dog. If you can catch your dog before it gets too excited and have it focus a few times, you can often head off problems before they happen. It can also be a good wat to calm a dog down, but sometimes you need to give the dog an opportunity to get their energy out first.

The focus exercise works great but only after the dog has it down so it takes a little practice. Best when practiced in short 1-2 minutes sessions when there are no distractions around at first. Once you practice it enough, it is a great way to distract and calm a dog down.

Exercise Tips to Calm a Dog Down

Now clearly Blitzen is a higher energy dog, at least at times. I suggested that the guardians look into upping his exercise, preferably earlier in the day. Many people with high energy dogs, find them getting into trouble when they dont get enough exercise or mental stimulation.

Games like fetch, tug of war, chase or chase me, etc can do wonders to help a dog calm down. Especially when they are spread throughout the day or before activities where you want them to be calm.

I recommended multiple shorter walks where Blitzen was allowed to and encouraged to sniff. Sniffing burns a lot of energy and is fun for dogs. It also helps calm a dog down as they can’t be going 100 MPH while sniffing. So when possible, always let your dog stop to smell the roses (and other interesting things).

I also recommended the guardians research dog enrichment and scent training and games. While dogs are great athletes, mental stimulaiton is a great way to help a dog calm down. Feeding out of a snuffle mat, scent work,

Another option for high energy dogs is to consider doggy day care, especially before having friends over for a party or game of cards. Either way walks, playdates, mental stimulation games or daycare can help calm a dog down and wear them out. The expression a tired dog is a well behaved one is old, but very true. Especially for puppies and high energy breeds like Huskies.


  • Exercise Blitzen early in the day with a walk or game of fetch.
  • Practice leashing him up multiple times a day without going for a walk every time.
  • Stop as soon as Blitzen starts to get excited and wait for him to calm down before trying again.
  • Make sure Blitzen waits at door so the human exits first.
  • No more feeding Blitzen people food, especially from the table.
  • Get Blitzen some exercise or mental stimulaiton every few hours or before activities
  • Do not pet Blitzen when he is excited when humans get home.
  • Pet Blitzen with a purpose as much as possible.
  • Use bold gestures when communicating though body language and movement.
  • Add structure to meal time.
  • Practice the focus exercise.
  • Have each family member teach Blitzen a new trick each week until each person has taught him four tricks or commands.
  • Schedule a training session with one of our trainers to work on loose leash training.
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This post was written by: David Codr