beautiful ginger dog asleep on a sofa

Every dog is different, and each has their own unique personality. Some are naturally livelier than others and some are calmer.

But if you notice your dog is always full of energy and perhaps has trouble settling down, there are lots of things you can do to help.

Teaching your dog how to relax is not only going to benefit your dog but it will also help you. It’ll give you more opportunities to bond together, and an opportunity to switch off and unwind with your furry companion.

After all, dogs are extremely good for our wellbeing, so having a chance to build on your closeness with your dog will be really rewarding.

Getting the basics right

It’s true that happiness and relaxation come hand in hand. So, making sure you are meeting your dog’s basic needs will really help in allowing them to relax.

So, what are your dog’s basic needs?

In fact, when it comes down to it, a dog’s basic needs are not too dissimilar from our own!

They include:

  • A healthy diet
  • Clean drinking water
  • Regular exercise
  • A calm, safe home
  • Love and companionship
  • Mental stimulation
  • Regular health check-ups
  • Structure and consistent training

And if your dog has any special needs, they may need additional support on top of these as well.

Helping your dog to relax

Dogs are extremely intelligent and very aware of their surroundings. So, caring for one is about looking after both their physical and mental needs.

They communicate with us, they understand our commands and they know when something is up. They pick up on raised voices and sudden movements. And just like us, they crave love, companionship and attention.

Dogs are also individuals. What one dog likes might not be right for another.

Here are some of the ways you can help put your dog at ease.

1) Find out what they like and don’t like

Different dogs like different things. Petting them correctly is a big part in making sure your dog feels relaxed. And even though a dog’s head is soft and silky to stroke, it is often not a good place to touch them. That’s because in doggie language, reaching over a dog’s head can be a threatening gesture. So, it might be that your dog is tensed up while you pat them on the head.

Instead, kneel down and bring your hand slowly to your dog’s nose. Let him sniff you and then if they come forward, wag their tail or seem happy, then stroke them in a place where they can still see what you’re doing. That way they’re much more likely to relax and will understand the situation to be friendly.

2) Spend time together

Just like us, dogs need companionship. So, spending time together will be a big part of your lives. Not only this, but you’ll want to spend time together relaxing, so you and your dog can feel calm together.

It’s also worth noting that if the house is too busy, noisy or lively, it will be very difficult for them to feel calm.

Set aside some time every day when you and your furry companion can sit and cuddle up together. Watching TV together while sitting on the sofa is perfect for winding down.

Dislike finding loose hair and paw marks on your sofa cushions? Get a dog bed with a built-in sofa protector for peace of mind.

black labrador on a sofa protector pet bed on the sofa

3) Give them a comfortable, safe space to sleep

Humans need a comfortable, safe place to sleep – and so do our dogs. So, it’s important they have somewhere warm they can retreat to.

Dog beds come in a variety of sizes and materials. Observe your dog’s habits and see where they like to lie down the most. That way you can get a feel for where in the house they feel most safe, relaxed and warm – without being too hot. Once you have this information, you can try out some different dog beds and see which one they take to the most.

Dogs who are particularly nervous will also need somewhere to hide. Hiding is what we do when we feel threatened and it’s the same for dogs. If they feel scared but have nowhere to run to, this can be quite stressful for dogs.

beautiful boxer dog asleep on a tweed style bed

4) Gentle stroking goes a long way

Stroking goes a long way when helping your dog feel relaxed. When your dog is lying down, stroke them in the same direction as their fur. Use both hands if you can and stroke them with long, flowing movements.

Different dogs like different things and some areas might be more ticklish for some dogs. Stroke the area that your dog shows you.

If they’re lying on their side, stroke their side. If they’re lying on their back, then you can stroke their tummy. Never push them onto their back if they’re lying on their side. This is forcing your dog into a submissive pose which your dog can read as aggressive.

5) Doggie massage

Most dogs will enjoy a light massage and it will really help them relax as well as feel more comfortable as you ease any tight muscles.

It’s also a good opportunity to check your dog for any lumps or sore spots as soon as they appear, so you can get them checked out by the vet.

You can use your massaging sessions together as an excuse to groom your dog too, taking care of their claws, paws, teeth and fur.

It’s important to keep any massaging light and leave deep tissue massage to a professional. Watch out for signs of clenching, tightening up, flinching, biting at your hand or growling, as these are all signs that your dog is unhappy or uncomfortable.

And there you have our top five tips for helping your dog relaxed and stay happy!

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