BEHAVIOR & TRAINING

How to Calm Down A Dog: Natural Solutions And Effective Tricks

Dog jumping
Wyatt Robinson
Written by Wyatt Robinson

Do you have a dog that barks excessively? Is it hyperactive or, on the contrary, it gets scared or panics? Before you think of using meds to calm it, you must know that there are natural solutions and other tricks to get over these situations. Unlike meds, these natural remedies and methods do not change the dog’s personality and they don’t have any side effects.

First of all, it’s very important to detect the factors that determine your canine friend to be anxious. Among these we can count excessive noise, thunders, car alarms and other factors such as guests, a new member in the family or loneliness. In such cases, it would be best to remove the elements that trigger different types of anxiety. Second of all, as soon as you know what causes these negative responses, you can decide how to calm down your dog by using natural solutions.

Why is your dog restless?

A dog can be restless because it is scared, stressed or hyperactive. Once you observe it and establish the exact situation, you can take action. If your dog is scared, it is indicated to remove the stressful factor immediately. In most cases, removing it will solve the problem. However, if it is something that is likely to reoccur, then you must train your dog to get used to it in a gradual way, not all of the sudden. Moreover, many pups have a lot of energy that must be consumed in a way or the other.

Restless dog

If your pup is hyperactive and it runs through the house constantly, begging for your attention and jumping all over you, then you most definitely want it to calm down somehow. Something that most dog owners are not aware of is that a hyperactive pup is bored or it lacks incentives. Thus, before trying to treat its hyperactivity, you must make sure to eliminate causes like lack of activities and stuff to play with. A bored puppy does not need medication of any kind. To ensure that your dog’s not bored, check out the tips in this article on how much exercise your dog needs.

How to calm down a stressed or scared dog?

The solutions for these problems can be divided in two categories. One does not involve the usage of natural remedies or other products meant to calm down a dog, while the other one includes all of the above. The first category is filled with advices meant to change a dog’s reactions and avoid stress or fear.

  • Avoid sudden movements and loud noises. If your dog is already anxious, you should avoid making sudden movements and loud noises until it feels safe again. Always allow it to adapt to new circumstances in order to get comfortable and secure. Animals become aggressive or frightened when they feel insecure because they do not understand what’s happening.
  • Try to distract your dog. When there’s noise outdoors, your dog might act bothered, so you should try to distract your dog’s attention by trying to play with it, sing, walk around through the house for as long as it needs to get tired. You can turn on the TV, the radio or do something to make the outside noise seem less annoying and threatening.
  • Create a comfortable and serene place for your dog. Your canine friend should have a comfortable area in the house or in the yard where it feels safe. If it is scared, it can retreat there. A corner in a room is enough for a dog’s needs and, in time, it can associate that place with safety. Turning the lights off also works.
  • Stay calm when your dog is not. You and all the other people from the house should stay calm when your doggy gets agitated. Moreover, you and everybody else should ignore an agitated dog because in this way you can show it that its behavior doesn’t bring anything good.
  • Don’t caress your dog when it’s agitated. If you see your dog running around, barking or feeling anxious, you shouldn’t caress it or take it in your arms. Your pet will think that what it did was good, since it gets so much attention and it will do it again when it wants to obtain the same result.
  • Desensitize your dog. While some specialists believe that it is better to keep your puppy away from the factors that trigger its anxiety, others say that the desensitization of your dog is a very effective method. This method involves the gradual exposure of your beloved pet to the factors that cause its anxiety.
    In time, it will get used with them and it won’t react negatively. For example, if your dog is afraid of certain noises, expose it to these noises for 2 minutes and try to keep it calm by talking to it and reward it with treats if it behaves well. Continue to apply this strategy for several weeks in a row until your pet can stand that noise for more than 10 minutes. This is highly effective in case of thunders, car alarms or fireworks.
  • Play classical music for your dog. According to a study made by specialists, dogs like classical music and it calms them down. It was noticed that the majority of the dogs from a shelter stopped barking and became sleepy while listening to classical music. You can give this method a try.

What can I give my dog to calm him down?

Thundershirt Dog Jacket for Anxiety

The answer to this question can be found in the second category of remedies, as it follows:

  • Aromatherapy. Believe it or not, aromatherapy is as useful for dogs and it is for humans. It can considerably reduce the stress levels of a dog. You can use chamomile, palm, jasmine and lavender scented oils. Add 3 to 5 drops of aromatherapy oil in a glass of water and make sure your puppy inhales the vapors. While breathing the relaxing vapors, your pet should not be distracted. The effect will occur in a few minutes.
  • Valerian root supplements. Valerian root is a natural sedative and it can be used to calm down dogs that suffer from anxiety. There are special tablets for dogs with Valerian root that can be found on the market, which can be administered whenever needed. Also, you can pour 2 to 3 drops of Valerian root oil on your pup’s neck. The smell will relax it.
  • Other healthy supplements. Supplements based on tryptophan, L-theanine, vitamin B1 or colostrum nutrients have a calming effect on dogs too. These supplements can be given to dogs just before a storm, to reduce their stress and anxiety levels.
  • Collar with pheromones. There is a special collar on the market that produces artificial pheromones that are similar to those produced by the mammary glands after birth. They have the amazing effect of calming dogs down. In addition, you can also find a device that you can plug in the socket that slowly releases pheromones. However, this is only effective indoors.
  • Thunder Shirt. An American company produced a shirt that calms down dogs when they are scared and stressed. The dogs that participated in a study showed decreased levels of anxiety when wearing it. This product is based on pressure therapy that has a direct effect on a dog’s nervous system.

Another way you can help your dog to relax is to apply the methods listed in this article about massaging your dog.

How to calm down a hyperactive dog?

A cause that generates hyperactivity in dogs is taking short walks. You might not offer your dog enough time to play outdoors.

You might offer a lot of attention to your canine friend, but it also needs to run freely or play different games that stimulate it.

Roll stroll with your dog

The combination between exercise and the usage of toys is ideal. Moreover, playing with your puppy indoors is also a must. If it is agitated during the evening, play catch with it while you watch TV. In this way, your pet will consume its energy, but you will not consume yours.

Opting for a toy that is filled with food is a good option too. This is because a dog can play for hours with it, trying to get the food out and running out of energy. Remember not to yell at your puppy. It doesn’t understand why and its condition is not its fault anyway. You can find out more about these kinds of toys by checking out our article on interactive dog toys.

Puppies playing

In conclusion, anxiety in dogs can appear due to different factors and it’s of many kinds. It can be kept under control with the usage of plants, oils and supplements, but it is also manageable without them. You can look at them as adjuvants and only use them after you try to calm down your dog with your patience and the tricks listed above.

Most of all, it takes dedication and time from your side in order to cope with its problems and to help your canine friend deal with its problems as well. Taking your dog to the vet is also a really good option in case you try everything and nothing seems to have the desired effects. Try to be reasonable when it comes to time.

About the author
Wyatt Robinson
Wyatt Robinson

Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.

  • Jemma Mayer

    Taking care of an energetic dog came naturally for me as a kid. I’d just run around and have fun with our dog. I guess at this point I mostly forgot all about that, but thanks to this article I pretty much remembered those moments. Of course I’d prefer to walk the dog than give give him/her herbal remedies. I don’t think herbal remedies fully solve the root cause for a dog’s panic.

    • Wyatt Robinson

      To each his/her own, Jemma. While I would have to agree that walking the dog is a safer and no-fuss method, not all pet parents have the stamina to walk their dogs and achieve the much needed results.

  • Lucy Daniels

    I must say that aromatherapy works wonders for a hyperactive dog! If you have a Scentsy burner where you put some aromatic oil on top, that’s great. Try to get some essential oil of lavender which is very effective in calming the nerves. This works for people, too.
    Drop 2-3 drops of essential oil of lavender on the fragrance oil burner and watch your dog slowly calm down. It’s safe for children and elderly persons, too.

    • Wyatt Robinson

      It calms the dog and it calms the pet parent. This is really amazing method that can calm almost every case of agitated or hyperactive dog. For pet parents who are quite struggling, this should be the first thing to try.

  • Melinda Green

    We once had a very hyperactive dog who would just jump in excitement at meeting new dogs. The trick was to tire them out before having the two pups meet so that the energy levels won’t be too uncontrollable. Worked like a charm!

    • Wyatt Robinson

      Pet parents are actually lucky that some methods intended to calm humans, works for dogs as well and works wonderfully. Just remember though, when utilizing aromatherapy, make sure that the room or space is well-ventilated and the oils used are natural essences.

    • Wyatt Robinson

      Pet parents are really lucky to have access to calm really hyperactive or agitated dogs. On the case of aromatherapy, remember to use it in a well-ventilated area and make sure that you are using only pure and high-quality essential oils.

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