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Tips for Living Well with Your Dog: Lifestyle and Behavior

Try these tips to calm and relax your pet

First of a six-part series

ach day as you get out of bed, you can be assured that someone out there is going to make you want to scream. But before you let out that bellow, think about your dog's well-being. Our super sensitive companions are unable to differentiate whether those shouts are directed at them or someone else, so they just assume our irritation is directed at them.

I learned this the hard way one time when I was at home having an animated telephone discussion with a disagreeable colleague at the office. My much warranted verbal tirade may have made me feel better, but it left my dog - a sweet, docile English Setter - hiding and quivering in the back room of our home.

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From that day forward, I realized just how important it is to create a tranquil setting around the house for our pets if we want them to relax and properly behave.

Try these ideas to create that supportive environment:

  • Turn down the volume on the television and lower the music on the stereo. A dog's ears are equipped to hear even the softest sounds - like a rabbit or a squirrel trying to quietly sneak away. You, too, would have trouble sleeping with a blaring TV or radio in the background, and so does your dog.
  • Try to do those loud household chores - like vacuuming - when Rover is out in the yard, lounging on the deck or out for a walk with another family member. All my dogs have found the noises from vacuums and blenders agitating, and one would even pace nervously around the house.
  • Establish a routine because dogs are creatures of habit. They like to walk, eat and play at the same time every day. The structure is like a security blanket, making them feel all is well in their world. One of my dogs would always run to her bed after eating breakfast and await a treat, and then she insisted upon going out on the deck - rain, snow or shine. Break that routine and she would assume something was wrong and get nervous.
  • Most dogs loved to be brushed and cuddled, so try combing that hair and massaging your companion just before bedtime to create a relaxing atmosphere. All my dogs have quickly learned that this is a signal for lights out and sleep time.
Perhaps my favorite technique for creating a tranquil environment is tuning the stereo to classical music. Every time I leave the house, whether to go to work or on a quick shopping trip, I have classical music softly playing on the stereo. My dogs know this a signal for nap time, and it provides a sedate background sound to help them snooze. I frequently put on classical music even on non-work days when I am home to help create a calm environment.

Dogs take their cues from us, so give some of these techniques a try and you might find a little more tranquility in your lives. You also are likely to find that your dog is more responsive to your commands if relaxed and content.

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Signed Set
*The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

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