Stressed Dog

8 Creative Ways to Relax Stressed Dogs

As we are spending more time at home, it has certainly been a major adjustment for our pets! 

Although some of the better-behaved animals have adjusted well, there are many that haven’t got used to us being around so often. Canabiotics found that 1 in 7 pet owners have had difficulty trying to relax their pet and 3 in 5 are getting distracted by their pets in the working day- now realising that it’s harder than ever to try and train them effectively. 

As we are spending more time at our desk, and giving them less attention when we are around, it can leave them confused and concerned, making them more desperate than ever for our attention! 

Canabiotics discovered that there are 5,860 google searches every month from Brits looking to calm and relax their pets. As a result, Suzanne Gould from Edinburgh Holistic Dogs has provided Canabiotics with tips for owners who are having difficulties in these awkward times. 

There is also a case study from dog owner Sam Barnard, who provides her experience and believes that these tips are certain to make a difference!

1. Making dinner time more interesting!

The ultimate sniffing game for dogs! It is an alternative way to feed your dog their meal instead of their usual bowl, a great way to tire them out and sniffing helps dogs relax too.

An activity box is a cardboard box lightly filled with scrunched up paper, smaller boxes, crumpled up cardboard, empty plastic bottles, old tea towels. Really, you can use whatever you have lying around that is safe for your dog.

Next scatter your dog’s meal in there. Present the box to your dog, you may have to encourage them, but they will no doubt be happy to search once they have sniffed out their first treat.

Alternatively, you could scatter your dog’s food in your garden or hallway, they will still sniff it all out to eat! 

Playing with dog

2. Playtime – it’s for adults too

Playtime is a vital part of your dog’s life and it’s easy to forget about in our day to day lives. So, grab your dog’s favourite toy, get on the floor and have a play. Be exciting, encouraging and have lots of fun. You can do this when you wait for the kettle to boil, the tv ad breaks are on too.

I love having a play wrestle with my Old English Sheepdogs Ally and Erick, they love nothing more than rolling around and getting stroked too. After a short burst of playing my two settle down for a snooze.

3. Parkour in the comfort of your own home

Create your own obstacle course in your home and/or garden! This is the perfect confidence builder for dogs, as well as providing them with physical exercise by moving their bodies on and around different obstacles. It also provides great mental stimulation which will be tiring, as well as relaxing.

You want to aim to get your dog to jump on, over, out of, inside and stand on lots of different things. You can create a jump with two dining room chairs and a broom handle, get your dog to crawl under a table and weave around furniture; there are lots of possibilities. 

Think of anything you can grab and get your dog moving. Use treats to lead your dog or place the treats around the course and encourage them to find them all. 

Woman massaging dog

4. Everyone appreciates a massage, right?

There’s nothing better than a good massage, is there? It is just as important for your dog as physical exercise to help them keep healthy. Plus, it’s a good excuse to have a sit down too. 

This will be super relaxing for your dog, it will help them release any tension, help with any anxiety and tire out even the high energy dogs.

5. How about a dual workout?

It’s important that your dog is still getting some good physical exercise, and we all know how tiring going up and down stairs is, so why not spend 10 minutes going up and down your stairs with your dog; either walking or running. It is a great cardio workout, gets your dog moving differently compared to flat walks and it will wear you out too!

Make sure you are both fit enough for the task, if this is something new you, start with a minute or two and build up duration over time. Also bear in mind puppies should not be using stairs so wait until your dog is at least one year old before starting this.

6. Chew time

Appropriate dog chews are excellent for not only occupying your dog, but a great full body workout. While your dog is holding a chew with their paws, they are actually using their full bodies to keep it in place, so it helps burn energy as well as calories. Their brains are also engaged as they concentrate on chewing and holding the chew. 

Some appropriate chews include Deer Antlers, Bull Horns, Nylabones and Root wood chew. These are all good for your dog’s teeth, and safe too.

7. Bach Rescue Remedy 

No doubt we have all used this, haven’t we? If you haven’t heard of it, Bach Rescue Remedy is a natural way to help with stress, calm nerves and aid with relaxation. It is perfectly safe for our dogs and all you need to do is include a few drops to your dog’s water.   

It helps restore your dogs natural emotional state so they can relax.

Relaxed puppy

8. Relaxed Owner means a Relaxed Dog

Our dogs are a great source of comfort in these strange times, I know I am thankful that I have my two dogs to keep me company. Our dogs pick up on our energy, so if you’re feeling stressed or anxious then it’s possible your dog is feeling the same. 

My top tip to help humans relax is using the box breathing method. Breath in for the count of four, hold the air in your lungs for a count of four, breath out for the count of four and then hold your lungs empty for the count of four. This is very soothing, and will benefit your dogs in the process.”

CASE STUDY: 

Sam Barnard is a dog owner and is on lockdown with all four of them. She spoke to Canabiotics and admits to finding it particularly difficult to relax them, as one has gone into season for the first time!

“I have four dogs; three males and one female. And of course, it’s just our luck that the female went into the season for the first time during lockdown! We knew that it would be difficult with three male dogs, but didn’t realise the real extent of it, especially with one of the dogs in particular. The boys would not calm down, the first few days we were confused, but then she begun bleeding and it made sense.”

“We are implementing a number of different relaxation techniques, but we have found that massaging the dogs and being with them is the best way to help them relax. Attempting to distract them and move their mind to a different situation is the best way we have been able to calm them down, but we can’t spend 24 hours a day doing this. However, after reading these tips I’m definitely going to give them a good go, Beach Rescue Remedy is at the top of my list!”

We hope that the information provided by Canabiotics and Edinburgh Holistic Dogs helps Brits discover new ways to relax their pets during this stressful time!

Photo by Jordan Davis on Unsplash

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