As a specialized human trained in the art of understanding and treating over-excitable dogs, I have found that one of the most effective tools for calming and soothing these furry friends is to encourage self-soothing behaviors.
Over-excitable dogs often exhibit various forms of anxiety, ranging from general nervousness and hyperactivity to more severe forms, such as separation anxiety or fear-based aggression. These behaviors can be both challenging for the dog owner and stressful for the dog itself.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help these dogs feel more relaxed, and promoting self-soothing behaviors can be an essential strategy in achieving this goal.
What is Self-Soothing?
Self-soothing is the process by which a dog learns to calm itself down through various self-regulatory behaviors. Self-regulatory behaviors are any actions that a dog takes to cope with stress or anxiety, such as licking, chewing, or engaging in repetitive behaviors like pacing.
Self-soothing essentially means teaching a dog how to self-regulate, so it is more capable of managing its emotions and reactions to stressful situations without external assistance.
Why is Self-Soothing Important for Over-Excitable Dogs?
Over-excitable dogs tend to have a heightened response to stress and anxiety, meaning they require more effective tools to help them regulate their emotions.
By encouraging self-soothing behaviors, we can teach these dogs to recognize their stressors and develop coping strategies that help them feel calmer and more relaxed.
This can also lead to improved health and well-being for the dog, as excessive excitement or anxiety can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.
How to Encourage Self-Soothing Behaviors in Over-Excitable Dogs:
1. Identify the Triggers
The first step in promoting self-soothing behaviors in an over-excitable dog is to identify the triggers for their anxiety. These triggers can be environmental factors such as loud noises or new people, or they can be internal factors such as fear or separation anxiety.
Once you have identified the triggers for your dog’s anxiety, you can begin to develop coping strategies that will help your dog calm down and regulate its emotions.
2. Give Your Dog Space
One of the most effective ways to promote self-soothing in your dog is to give it space and time to calm down on its own. This can mean creating a quiet, comfortable space for your dog to retreat to when it feels overwhelmed or anxious.
You can also provide your dog with toys or objects that it can chew or lick to relieve anxiety. This can include chew toys or interactive treat dispensers that keep your dog’s mind engaged and distracted from external stressors.
3. Encourage Calm Behavior
Another way to promote self-soothing in your dog is to encourage calm behavior. This can include rewarding your dog for lying down or taking deep breaths, rather than acting out in excitement or anxiety.
You can also teach your dog relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or gentle massage, that can help it feel more calm and centered.
4. Seek Professional Help
If your dog’s anxiety is severe or persistent, it may be necessary to seek professional assistance from a veterinarian or dog trainer. These experts can help you identify the underlying causes of your dog’s anxiety and develop a comprehensive plan to address it.
Ultimately, promoting self-soothing behaviors is an essential tool in helping over-excitable dogs feel calmer and more relaxed. By identifying triggers for anxiety, providing your dog with space and time to calm down, encouraging calm behavior, and seeking professional help when necessary, you can help your furry friend live a happier, healthier life.