Settle your dog – how to make them calmer
I saw an interesting post the other day on ‘The Wonderful World of Border Collies’. Someone asked for some tips on ‘tiring out’ their BC puppy. She gave a long list of activities and toys that the puppy had; interactive toys, stuffed Kongs, walks it went on, etc etc. Some people (rather unhelpfully I thought) said “Oh he’ll calm down in a year or two”. The rest of us all said that he needed to settle:
“Teach your dog to calm down, please? Dogs need to learn that they cannot be on the go all the time.”
Thinking about it, I realised that I had already written about this very subject. In fact it was almost the first ‘training topic’ I wrote about: settle down.
Rushing all day long
Do you ever have days where you spend the whole day rushing around? Maybe you are at work and you have a whole string of meetings to go to, with phone calls and emails to cram in between them? Or you are at home and have a series of appointments to go to, with other errands or jobs that need doing as well? Do you ever feel as though you are ‘chasing your tail’? When the day is like that, you might get halfway through the day and feel exhausted, but then you get a ‘second wind’ and carry on anyway.
Dogs, particularly Border Collies, can be a bit like that. They will keep going, and going and going, till they drop. They are so keen to please you and so willing to work, that they are often described as not having an ‘off switch’.
However, they are not supposed to be like that! Have a look at the Border Collie Breed Information page. I think this sums up perfectly the pace of life that this breed are designed for. I also think it shows how life has changed for all pet dogs; it is hard work for them.
Take time to recover
It is important for us all, both dogs and people, to have time out. Time to recover, to recharge our batteries, to reflect on what has happened and think about what comes next. I often think about the poem, Leisure by W H Davies.
How to teach a settle
I believe that calmness teaches calmness. If you are calm and quiet, your dogs should be too. My dogs know that I spend most of my days sitting at my desk writing, so they know that not much will happen once we get back from our walk. They know I won’t play with them; if I am up and about I am cleaning, or going out without them. Their expectations are low, so they don’t make a fuss if I leave them, nor expect much to happen.
As a side note, I believe that children need to learn the skill of stillness too. These days we are so often bombarded with information and entertainment. Chillax! It’s good for you. Don’t forget to smell the roses!
Ask for help?
You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice. I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues. Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my service.
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