Skip to Content

How to Calm Down a Dog: Proven Tips to Ease Anxiety and Build Confidence (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

how to calm down a dogDealing with an anxious dog can be very tough, but there are efficient ways of calming it down and improving its confidence. The truth is when you genuinely know your furry friend—knowing the triggers and body language means you know how to deal with the situation effectively.

You will learn many practical strategies for easing your dog’s stress, from creating a safe environment to using desensitization techniques. Application of these techniques regularly will make your canine companion feel much more relaxed and secure in situations of all kinds.

Hence, the quality of life is going to be much improved for both you and your pet.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating a safe space for your furry friend is like giving them their own cozy fortress of solitude. Whether it’s a quiet corner or a portable bed, this haven can work wonders for an anxious pup.
  • Exercise isn’t just for shedding those extra pounds from too many treats – it’s a natural anxiety-buster for dogs too! A good game of fetch or a brisk walk can turn your wound-up pooch into a mellowed-out mutt.
  • Gradual exposure to triggers paired with positive experiences is the secret sauce for helping your dog overcome anxiety. It’s like teaching them to tango with their fears – slow, steady, and with plenty of tasty rewards along the way.
  • Sometimes, you’ve got to call in the big guns. If your attempts to calm your canine companion aren’t cutting it, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. After all, even Lassie probably needed a therapist now and then!

How to Calm Down a Dog?

To calm down a dog, start by creating a safe, quiet space where they can retreat. Use positive reinforcement to reward calm behavior and gradually expose your pup to anxiety triggers in a controlled manner.

Establish a consistent routine and provide mental stimulation through puzzle toys or games. Teaching a "settle" command can help your dog relax on cue.

Regular exercise and physical contact, like gentle petting or massage, can also soothe an anxious pooch.

For severe cases, consider desensitization techniques or professional help. Remember, patience is key – building confidence takes time.

With the right approach, you’ll be well on your way to helping your furry friend find their inner zen.

Understanding Dog Anxiety

Understanding Dog Anxiety
Dog anxiety can be understood by first identifying the cause of the unease in your pup. Some dog breeds are more prone to anxious behavior than others, either because of previous experiences or environmental changes.

Socialization methods also have much potential for help, but again, one has to consult and rule out an underlying health component with vet recommendations.

Home remedies become helpful in the form of calm spaces and comfort objects that involve creative commons.

Overcoming dog fears—be it dog separation anxiety or specific phobias—requires much patience and relentless effort to show some sign of improvement.

Recognizing Early Signs of Anxiety

Recognizing Early Signs of Anxiety
Recognizing the early signs of anxiety in your dog can be just the thing to do for timely intervention. Keep a lookout for signals that might hint at your dog’s distressed state. Notice:

Excessive barking or whining in reaction to triggers.

– Restlessness, unusual pacings about the house.

  • Inability to calm down in familiar environments.
  • Unexpected accidents indoors despite being housetrained.

Building Confidence in Your Dog

Building your dog’s confidence takes regular routines, positive reinforcement, and gradual exposure. Dog sports and structured play help to build trust.

Socialization needs to be achieved using controlled exposure to people and other animals. Training methods targeting calm behavior will associate calm with good.

Other early dog training is a way to give your puppy confidence in his younger years. After all, confidence building isn’t an overnight process; instead, it’s about steady progress, patience, and celebrating small victories along the way in your dog’s journey.

Teaching Your Dog to Settle

Teaching Your Dog to Settle
Teaching your dog to settle involves consistent command training and a reward system. Use a calming phrase like "settle down" paired with treats when they follow your cue.

Incorporate the time-out technique for overexcited behavior. Crate training can help with dog settling, creating a dog safe place to relax.

Practice noise aversion by gradually exposing them to different sounds during play sessions. For dog alone times, introduce calming games to enhance dog desensitization and make them feel secure.

Creating a Safe, Calm Environment

Creating a Safe, Calm Environment
Create a safe and calm environment for the dog by creating a designated safe space that makes him feel secure. Gradually condition this place to associate it with good times so that really, it will become a comfort zone.

Establishing a Safe Space

First and foremost, you need to give your anxious dog a safe space. Create a quiet corner using his favorite bed, toys, and treatment. Systematically associate this zone with positive situations. Now, if you have a portable bed, that would mean lugging your security blanket everywhere you go. Use this space for time-outs and counterconditioning exercises.

Positive Associations

When you’re creating a safe place, employ positive associations. Use reward-based training to make the area inviting. Through positive reinforcement like treats and dog toys, your pet will begin treating this space as a refuge. Integrate calming tools like a sound machine. Controlled exposure helps solidify these positive experiences, encouraging confidence.

Gradual Conditioning

In gradual conditioning, help your dog manage triggers by modifying their environment and using cognitive therapies. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Controlled exposure: Gradually introduce and pair triggers with positive experiences.
  2. Mental stimulation: Engage your dog in exercises and activities.
  3. Alternative treatments: Consider behavioral medication or holistic options for severe phobias and anxiety.

Keeping Your Dog Busy When Alone

Keeping Your Dog Busy When Alone
When you need to leave your dog alone, it’s important to gradually train them to be comfortable with alone time. Providing enrichment toys and activities can help keep their mind engaged and reduce anxiety while you’re away.

Gradual Alone Time Training

Gradually training them to be alone will help to make your dog feel safe while you’re out of their sight.

As time passes, leave the dogs and give them more time to visit. Positively reward them for being calm during those times.

They should have a place where they can go, and it’s regarded as acceptance, which is calming.

Undertake activities before you go that will align them into relaxation, such as some light exercise or touching.

Music treatment also soothes their anxiety.

For worse cases, consult with your vet about the possibility of prescription medications for dog fear and anxiety.

Enrichment Toys and Activities

Enrichment toys can be lifesavers for dogs alone at home. Puzzle toys challenge their minds, keeping dog anxiety at bay. A favorite, these toys can be filled with treats, offering mental stimulation.

Aromatherapy, using calming scents like lavender, works wonders in a dog’s safe space. Additionally, play soothing music to reduce dog stress. Anxiety-reducing treats can also help.

Choose activities matching your dog’s temperament and personality, ensuring they stay engaged and content, even when you’re not around.

Engaging in Calming Games

Engaging in Calming Games
Engaging in calming games can be a great way to manage your dog’s anxiety. Incorporate interactive toys and agility training to keep your dog’s mind occupied.

Scent work and gentle play sessions can offer mental stimulation, steering your dog away from anxiety triggers.

Avoid dog punishment and flooding; instead, focus on positive interactions and activities.

If needed, consider essential oils or dog supplements to enhance relaxation. Always monitor your dog’s response, ensuring these techniques provide a soothing effect.

Desensitization and Counterconditioning Techniques

Desensitization and Counterconditioning Techniques
To calm an anxious dog, you should identify their anxiety triggers and gradually expose them to these triggers. Pair this exposure with positive experiences to help them build a more relaxed response.

Identifying Anxiety Triggers

To successfully soothe your dog, you must be able to know what causes him anxiety in the first place. It will be influenced by genetics and anxiety, breed differences, environment, life events, and even underlying medical conditions.

Observe specific situations or objects that seem to stress your dog out. By noticing these triggers, you can assist in developing a more tailored plan for building their confidence.

Gradual Exposure to Triggers

Once you’ve identified triggers causing dog anxiety, use desensitization techniques to help your dog gradually adjust. Counterconditioning can be key. Follow these steps:

  • Introduce triggers slowly and at a low intensity.
  • Increase exposure bit by bit.
  • Use positive reinforcement like treats.
  • Be patient, progress at your dog’s pace.

Pairing Triggers With Positive Experiences

Pair anxiety triggers with positive experiences by rewarding desired behaviors with high-value treats and creating positive associations and safe spaces for your dog.

Train relaxation behaviors to complement alternative therapies like Rescue Remedy.

Pair anxiety with positive experiences by rewarding desired behaviors with high-value treats and creating positive associations and safe spaces for your dog.

Conduct training on relaxation behaviors to complement alternative therapies such as Rescue Remedy.

Address canine cognitive decline and pacing by consulting a veterinarian to ensure the environment is calm and reassuring.

Proven Methods to Calm an Anxious Dog

Proven Methods to Calm an Anxious Dog
When your dog shows signs of anxiety, effective methods like exercise, physical contact, and massage can make a significant difference. Additionally, music therapy and structured time-outs can provide a calming effect and help manage their stress levels.


Exercise is essential in helping to reduce anxiety in dogs. Regular exercise aids in the release of pent-up energy as well as stress due to anxiety. Here’s how:

  1. Daily walks
  2. Play fetch
  3. Agility training
  4. Interactive toys

Mix up the intensity and duration for best results.

Physical Contact

Anxiety in dogs can vastly be improved with physical contact, such as touch therapy. Gentle petting or any other expressions of affection can create feelings of security. Just having your lap dog near for some bonding moments, however, goes a long way in helping them to keep their nerves calm.


Massage can ease your dog’s anxiety. Use gentle strokes and apply pressure to key points for a calming touch. Combine massage with aromatherapy or reflexology techniques for added relaxation.

  • Releases muscle tension
  • Lowers stress hormone levels
  • Increases bonding

Music Therapy

Music therapy helps soothe your anxious dog, creating a calm and relaxed environment. Soft, classical tunes or calming sounds can greatly reduce stress levels. Here’s a quick reference:

Mood Music Type Duration
Relaxation Classical 30 minutes
Stress Nature sounds 45 minutes
Sleep Soft lullabies 1 hour
Anxiety Gentle piano 20 minutes


Time-outs can help calm an anxious dog by briefly removing them from a stressful situation. Here are some steps:

  1. Choose a quiet location.
  2. Keep time-outs short and consistent.
  3. Use as a last resort.

Seeking Professional Help When Necessary

While these methods will help your anxious dog, there are certainly times when professional intervention is warranted. If you have tried a few techniques and your dog continues to suffer from anxiety, it’s time to speak with your vet or certified animal behaviorist.

They can analyze precisely what your dog needs based on history and nature and recommend what will work best in each case. This could be programs related to behavior modification or other advanced training techniques, even medication, if the cases call for them. Some vets offer holistic therapies such as acupuncture and herbal remedies.

Remember that asking for help doesn’t mean failure; it’s a willful act toward the well-being of your dog. Help from a professional can make all the difference in helping your furry friend find calm.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you calm down a hyper dog?

Like a whirlwind, a hyper dog can be overwhelming. You’ll need to channel that energy constructively. Provide plenty of exercise, engage in mentally stimulating activities, and use calming techniques like massage. Establish a consistent routine to promote relaxation.

What relaxes dogs?

You can relax your dog through exercise, physical contact, and calming activities. Provide a safe space, use soothing music, and try anxiety-reducing aids like ThunderShirts. Consistent routines and positive reinforcement training also help dogs feel secure and calm.

What is the command to calm a dog?

Like a soothing symphony, "settle" can work wonders. You’ll want to teach your furry friend this command. Start in a calm environment, use a gentle voice, and reward relaxed behavior. Practice consistently for best results.

How do you calm a highly stressed dog?

To calm a highly stressed dog, create a quiet space, use gentle touches, and speak softly. Try calming aids like ThunderShirts or pheromone diffusers. Offer engaging toys, practice relaxation exercises, and maintain a calm demeanor yourself.

How to calm down a dog?

Coincidentally, you’ve stumbled upon a common concern. To calm your dog, try exercise, physical contact, and calming aids. Create a safe space, use positive reinforcement, and gradually expose them to triggers. Don’t forget, patience is key!

What is the best way to calm a person down during a Post-traumatic stress disorder episode?

During a PTSD episode, remain calm and speak softly. Gently remind them they’re safe. Offer grounding techniques like deep breathing or naming objects. Don’t touch without permission. Encourage them to focus on the present moment.

How do you calm a dog when petting?

Groovy, dog whisperer! When petting to calm your pup, use slow, gentle strokes. Speak softly and maintain a relaxed posture. Focus on areas they enjoy, like behind the ears or chest. You’ll create a zen atmosphere in no time.

How do you calm a dog during a stressful event?

During stressful events, create a safe space for your dog. Provide familiar toys, use calming music, and maintain a calm demeanor yourself. Offer gentle reassurance and consider using anxiety-reducing products like ThunderShirts or pheromone diffusers for added support.

Can certain dog breeds be more prone to anxiety?

Studies have indicated that 72% of dogs show anxiety. You’ll also note that there are some breeds that suffer more from anxiety as compared to others; these include Chihuahuas and German Shepherds. Genetics, early experiences, and socialization are very critical. The key to keeping your dog off from anxiety lies in understanding his particular needs.

How does a dogs age affect its anxiety levels?

As your dog ages, you’ll find different kinds of anxiety. Puppies have fear periods. On the other end sit elderly dogs with dementias. In the middle are situation anxiety issues. Tailor your approaches to life stages.

Are there specific foods that can help reduce anxiety?

You can incorporate anxiety-reducing foods into your dog’s diet. Try adding tryptophan-rich options like turkey or salmon, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, and complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes. These may help boost serotonin levels and promote calmness.

Can anxiety in dogs be contagious to other pets?

Yes, anxiety can be contagious among pets. Dogs are highly attuned to their environment and can pick up on stress from other animals. You’ll need to address the anxiety source and work on calming all affected pets simultaneously.

Does spaying or neutering impact a dogs anxiety levels?

Ironically, you’d think snipping their bits would calm them down, but it’s not that simple. Spaying or neutering can impact anxiety, but it’s not guaranteed. Each dog’s unique, so consult your vet for personalized advice on managing anxiety.


Like taming a wild wind, learning how to calm down a dog requires patience and understanding. By implementing the strategies outlined in this article, you’ll equip yourself with powerful tools to ease your furry friend’s anxiety and boost their confidence.

Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. With time and effort, you’ll transform your anxious pup into a calm, contented companion.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.