Our goal for dogs that complete our training programs is for them to achieve great physical obedience combined with a great mental state. It’s a common belief that a calm dog must have been abused or is afraid, while a dog who is always jumping around is happy. Obviously, either stereotype can be true for certain situations, but a calm dog can actually be a happy dog and the dog who is always jumping around can be highly stressed. By teaching dogs how to relax when you need them to, they can be included more in our lives, and be less stressed by knowing what to do and when.
How Can We Work On Our Dog’s Mental State?
1. Duration work such as Place is very simple but works wonders for the state of mind of your dog. Depending on what issues your dogs are having will depend on how much time they practice Place, but if practiced consistently most dogs will choose to put themselves on Place.
2. Be self-aware. If you want your dog to be calm, interact with them in a calm fashion especially if they struggle with excitement issues already.
3. Move slowly. Although it may sound counterproductive to walk slowly if you are trying to exercise your dog, it can be effective to teach them how to be calmer in general. A slow structured walk is more challenging for a lot of dogs and will give them a great mental workout. Leashing your dog up and heading out the door is also an area to pay attention to.
4. Practice makes almost perfect. While there are no perfect dogs, consistently practicing will teach your dog what the default expectations. Soon enough you will find that your dog needs less direction and just starts to offer certain desired behaviors on their own.