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Who’s up for the calmness challenge?

Niki French is a qualified Pro Dog Trainer and is studying for an Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour. She runs Pup Talk and Twickenham Dog Services and talks to us about the importance of teaching our dogs to be calm.

Where do you feel calmest? Perhaps when you’re reading a book or falling asleep. Not when you’re running around or playing games – I bet that’s when you’re most excited!


What’s the difference between a dog that is jumping up at people and a dog that is settled in their bed when friends come to visit? Or a dog who is trying steal food off the kitchen worktop instead of being settled down while food is being cooked?


The answer is calmness. A dog that is calm is able to make better decisions. Like deciding not to jump up at your friends when they come over.


But a lot of dogs don’t know how to be calm.


We can be excitable around our dogs because they’re fun to play with. And we can also show them how to be calm more often by rewarding good behaviour.


You know how if you’re good, your parents might get you a treat? The same idea works for dogs; if we give reward our dogs with a treat when they are being calm, they will learn this is good behaviour and will behave that way more often.


Who’s up for the calmness challenge?


Can you spot times when they’re lying down nice and quietly? Can you notice when they are walking calmly on their lead beside you? Or see when they are sitting down when you were moving around at home?


When you see this good, calm behaviour, ask an adult if you can give them a reward. Simply, pop a piece of food down in front of their nose (you don’t need to touch or speak to them).


Note: As with all advice from The Zara DogDog Club, we strongly recommend that children are supervised when training or playing with dogs.

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