Helping a Dog Learn How to Calm Down by Petting Her

By: Sam Kanouse

Published Date: December 11, 2017

In this Omaha dog training session we worked with Zoe, an eight-year-old Husky mix, who needed help to calm down and come when she is called.

I sat down to chat with Zoe’s guardian about his main dog behavior concern. He mentioned that Zoe had recently started to shiver when arriving at doggy daycare and was starting to self isolate. Like many great dog guardians do, he brought Zoe to doggy daycare three times a week for half days. As she is getting older, she might not need that amount of stimulation so I encouraged him to decrease the amount of time at doggy daycare and replace that with walks in the neighborhood. Zoe will still benefit from daycare by being socialized but less than she needed to as a young dog.

Zoe also started to shiver sometimes late at night when she got over excited. Although it may seem natural to pet our dogs at this time to help them be calm dogs, every time we pet our dogs we are reinforcing their behavior. I taught Zoe’s guardian our Petting with a Purpose technique, which you can watch in the video below.

As you can see in the first video, Zoe’s Door Greeting, I only petted Zoe when she calmed down and sat. As soon as she got back up I stopped petting her. I continued this method while I was at the guardian’s home to reinforce this new behavior. Calm behavior and good manners such as sitting received petting while other behavior did not. Since Zoe is such a smart dog she caught on very quickly!

By the end of the session Zoe was visibly relaxing and learning that good calm energy got her lots of love and attention. I want to remind her guardian to continue to use our Petting with a Purpose technique to reward Zoe for her good behavior. We wrapped up this session with Zoe’s Roadmap to Success video, which you can watch below.

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This post was written by: Sam Kanouse

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