A Mellow Dog is a Good Dog


Do you have techniques and a relaxation program for your dogs? 

And you don’t need a beach but it helps to burn energy. Our pack just does better when they’re tired (that’s both a mental and physical “tired”).

Whether you burn energy with your dogs on a pack walk or have “at home” exercises – I remembered a relaxation technique I recently learned from our trainer that specializes in behavior that I wanted to share with everyone. I do this with Walter each morning and it’s great when I need him to really focus.

(Walter goes to a trainer and we walk through reactive leash management about once a month  which is where we learned this).

Super easy – FIVE steps: *I cannot take credit for this – the exercise was recommended by Synergy Behavior Solutions in Portland. Lure your dog into a relaxed down. I learned that this actually means he/she should be rolled onto one hip. I typically lure Walter into this position.

  • Work with them at whatever distraction level (see below in next bullet) they’re ready for — Mark and reward. We use a clicker.
  • Distraction level: While in a down – reward every 1-3 seconds for ten treats then move onto every 2-5 seconds, 4-8 seconds, release
  • If your dog gets up before released then calmly lure back into a relaxed down and try for an easier step.
  • Then say “free” in a calm voice and walk away! We do this for 30 seconds every day – max.

And take them for a hike! We went to the river and had a blast on a dry, rare morning. 




There are 12 Comments

  1. Joey says:

    Very interesting!

  2. We’re going to teach our Border Collie this technique.

  3. Jean Dion says:

    I’ve never heard of that technique! I really like the idea, though. I can see how keeping a dog in a sustained form of down would allow them to gather thoughts and really relax. I might have to try it with Sinead. (Although, to be honest, she relaxes pretty darn quickly these days. I’m lucky.)

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

    • You’re so lucky — Walter needs some calming methods throughout the day 🙂 Exercise is the biggest thing but this does help him focus and relax rather than terrorizing the other dogs 🙂

  4. I do not have one – this is great thanks. Jaxson needs some mellowing out between the hours of 7pm and 9pm. I will try this,

  5. This is a good tip that I need to work on with my boys. A walk on the beach would relax me! ☺

  6. Jan K says:

    This reminds me of the Relaxation Protocol, but way scaled back. Luke did well with the RP at first, but the longer it got the worst he got, and then he wanted nothing to do with it. This might be exactly what he needs – something short and simple!

    • You know – my dogs have super short attention spans so this one works well for Walter. I’m talking 2-3 minutes and then he typically goes over to the couch and takes his a.m. nap!