It’s 8pm, you have finally finished work, walking your dog and cooking dinner, which means you are now ready to unwind with some wine and Netflix. But, your dog has other plans. She’s doing zoomies around you while you’re on the brink of a tired breakdown. You’re thinking, “She can't still have energy! We just walked for 45 minutes and played together afterwards.” And you’re right.
Lots of dogs will exhibit signs of being energetic, restless, or wild when in actuality, they are over stimulated and over exhausted. Your dog may act out of control, start nipping, begin jumping or even humping, and become destructive, after tons of physically and mentally exhausting activities. This isn’t because you haven’t done a great job of tiring your dog out. This is because your dog hasn't been taught the art of doing nothing. Doing nothing is one of the most beneficial tools you can provide your dog with.
Many dogs have to be taught to wind down and relax. It is extremely important to designate a safe space for your dog by either teaching her the “place” command or by crate training her. These two options allow the dog to understand that it is okay to unwind and do nothing, and that she has a safe space to let her guard down and submit to relaxation and sleep. A lot of dogs don’t have the ability to do this on their own, especially as puppies, which can result in nipping, whining, energetic, and restless behavior. That is where you come in. It is your job to train your pup because the art of doing nothing is a behavior that has to be learned. So, teaching your dog to master this is just as important as any other command!
If your dog is especially hyper after a walk or a long play session and is whining in their "place" or crate, you can introduce treats to praise your dog's ability to do nothing. Every few minutes, give your dog a treat for remaining calm and staying in a relaxed position. Slowly begin increasing the length of time between treats so your dog doesn't fixate on getting the next snack but instead, actually starts to begin winding down and relaxing. Once they are calm enough, stop providing the treats and stick close by. Nine times out of ten, your dog will fall into a blissful, deep, exhaustion induced sleep!
Kick back, relax and practice the art of doing nothing with your pup while cozying up in your comfiest loungewear! You and your dog will learn to love those moments of bonding together in serenity and peace.