A stressed dog is helplessly exposed to an uncomfortable situation and expresses it. Calming down such a nervous and perhaps anxious dog is not always easy.
Every dog is different and therefore every dog has something different to offer. The better you know your dog and the deeper your connection is, the better you will be able to help him.
This article will help you understand an overexcited dog and give you ideas on how to calm him and you down.
In a nutshell: how to calm your dog down
The reasons for excitement are very diverse.
It is important to understand that prolonged excitement always means stress for your four-legged friend.
Therefore, whether he is afraid of thunderstorms or haunted by bad memories, it weighs on him.
Dog lovers should know how to deal with situations in which their four-legged friend suddenly feels stress.
Therefore, find out in the dog training bible which immediate measures help a stressed dog and what you can do to make it calmer.
How do I calm my dog down? – The 3 best tips
Dogs become tense because they are afraid, threatened, or don’t understand something. Unable to express their feelings with words, they show tension and restlessness in their body language.
Here are three tips you should try:
Tip 1: Keep calm and create calm
For your dog, you are the center of his universe. If you reassure him that he’s safe and protected with you, relinquishing that responsibility can give him a sigh of relief.
On the other hand, if you get nervous yourself, the restlessness will transfer to him. He then understands: “If my protector finds this bad, it must be very terrible”.
Therefore, in any case, it is fundamental that you radiate that everything is okay.
Sit with him or let him come to you. Stroke him or give him a light massage so he can feel the physical contact if he wants to. Speak softly and in a calm, relaxed tone. Don’t be rushed or worried.
Offer your closeness to the dog, but don’t force it. Pay attention to whether your dog wants this closeness and how he reacts. If he just takes your cuddles stiffly, you’re making the situation more uncomfortable for him.
Tip 2: Eliminate stressors
Once you understand what is upsetting or worrying your dog, sometimes simply eliminating the triggers can help.
In acute situations, take your dog out of the situation immediately, if possible. Literally change rooms or streets, tell other people or dog owners to move away, or block out stress triggers.
But your dog also needs a way out for permanent stress factors.
For example, if your dog is startled by noises, create a space in your home where it’s really quiet. He will retreat to these if it gets too much for him.
Tip 3: Overcome fear in training
If your dog becomes restless in situations that are unavoidable or that require a great deal of effort to avoid, regular and consistent training will help.
Your dog learns non-violently to make peace with the situation that is uncomfortable for him and to jump over his shadow.
To do this, you need to understand what exactly upsets your dog. Then get creative and meet that fear in very small doses:
For example, if your dog shows insecurity around your partner, ask for a worn shirt. Get your dog used to the smell in this way until he can relax with the person himself.
Reasons for concern & solutions
There are dogs that would still sleep next to a cannon. Others are afraid of their own shadow.
A dog’s fear or restlessness is usually fed by its history. A frightening experience or the feeling of insecurity or pain quickly sets in.
Interpret body language
A stressed dog will slouch and tilt their ears back or droop slightly. His facial expressions are changeable, some dogs, like humans, twitch their eyes in all directions to keep an eye on everything.
They usually get loud too: they whine, squeak, bark or howl. They retreat and pinch the rod.
Many dogs also wag their tails when they are stressed. This is often misunderstood by owners as a pure sign of joy, but is generally a sign of an increased adrenaline level.
Very typical situations in which a dog is difficult to calm down are thunderstorms and fireworks or the memory of traumatic events.
During thunderstorms or fireworks
There is lightning and thunder and your dog doesn’t know why or what exactly is happening. His instinct sees thunderstorms as a threat and tells him to seek cover. Similar to fireworks.
There are several solutions to this problem that you can try.
If your dog feels very safe around you and it calms him down, consider sleeping in your bedroom or moving in with him on the couch in the living room.
A kind of protective bunker helps some dogs. These are, for example, rooms with only small or even no windows, into which he can withdraw independently, but which he can also leave again himself. He can also feel protected by a roof under the sofa, a desk or a blanket.
Often the problem is just the sound of thunder echoing in larger rooms. On the other hand, music helps. The constant noise makes thunder appear only as part of a background noise, even when it’s louder than the actual music.
After a traumatic experience
In some things dog and owner are very similar. Once you’ve slipped on slippery ice and sprained your hand, you’ll be very careful in future ice weather.
A dog’s brain cannot understand such connections. For him, so to speak, everything is equally to blame if something unpleasant happens to him.
For example, if he is attacked by another dog on a walk, he remembers that he felt pain in that place or that other dogs hurt him. Of course, since he does not want to repeat this, he tries to avoid such situations.
You can only solve this behavioral problem through careful training, in which you strengthen your four-legged friend’s self-confidence again and help him to overcome his fear step by step.
Calming points in the dog
Paw reflexology for dogs also comes from acupressure, a sister of acupuncture from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It does not belong to evidence-based medicine and does not constitute a medical treatment.
The slightly stronger touch can distract the dog from the cause of its restlessness. It also helps dogs who find stroking unpleasant when they are agitated.
Stroking the ears or the back can also calm him down: You know this yourself from a back massage, when pain or tension seems to be relieved with gentle pressure.
In any case, such a massage creates a bond between you and your dog. It also gives you something to focus on, which can be helpful for your own rest.
Home remedies for stressed dogs
For almost every dog, a distraction with a favorite treat works as a natural calming agent.
However, care must be taken here that the dog also sees it as a distraction and not as a reward for the behavior resulting from the stress. You don’t want to turn a restless barking dog into a demanding barking one.
Hormonal influences are unusual, but helpful for some dogs: Love may not be for sale, but pheromones are. These are scent attractants that have a hormonal effect on the dog. On collars or in atomizers, the dog ingests them through the air.
The most common are pheromones, which dog mothers normally secrete and are intended for their puppies.
For very severe anxiety, your vet can also prescribe a tranquilizer. They have a very targeted effect and are therefore particularly helpful in situations where anxiety is unavoidable, e.g. on long journeys.
Under no circumstances should you give your dog his own medication. Always discuss medications with your vet!
Herbal tranquilizers for your dog
As with humans, lavender, hops, and valerian can have a calming effect on dogs. Sewn into a pillow or toy, it is immediately at hand. An advantage is that the dog can also take the pillow to a retreat.
Recently, CBD oil (cannabidiol oil) has also been on the road to success in Germany. It does not contain any psychoactive substances and is well tolerated by dogs as a purely herbal tranquilizer.
But buy it from a specialist shop or from your veterinarian to ensure sufficient quality.
The main use is for pain management and the treatment of epilepsy in dogs, but it also has a sedative effect. Before a first dose, you should talk to your veterinarian to see if an insert is suitable for your dog.
Homeopathic remedies or Bach flowers are often recommended and sold to calm pets, often at high prices. There is no study that proves an effect of homeopathy beyond the placebo effect. So take these recommendations with caution and discuss them with your veterinarian.
With a restless dog, its owner also suffers. Some excitement cannot be avoided, but many situations are manageable and do not have to stress the dog.
The dog training bible explains how to ensure a relaxed dog life. There you will find valuable tips and instructions for a healthy and happy dog-human relationship.