How Do You Calm Down a Dog?

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The behavior of a hyperactive dog can be modified through positive reinforcement training techniques that teach impulse control. If the dog's behavior is prompted by fear of thunderstorms or other inclement weather, a safe indoor space for the dog, positive diversions from the storm and gradual exposure to thunderstorm sounds can help restore tranquility.

The "sit" command helps focus a dog with limited impulse control. Command the dog to sit at regular intervals during the day until he responds quickly and automatically. Praise the dog when he sits without being asked. When the dog becomes overly excited during storms, the owner can simply ask him to sit. This effectively ends the erratic behavior, as he cannot sit and jump at the same time.

When dealing with a dog with a fear of thunderstorms, the owner must remain calm and avoid showering the dog with comfort, as this reinforces undesirable behaviors. It is better to speak in an upbeat voice and divert the dog's attention to something more enjoyable, like a game or a favorite toy. Give the dog his own special place during a storm where he can feel safe. A dog bed or a crate in which he feels comfortable are good options. An album of storm sounds played at low volume in a relaxed environment also helps desensitize the dog to thunder.