Week 5 - Relaxation

We are in week 5 of or Bark Better Live Better Challenge and I hope you have been doing ok so far!

Now, in the last few weeks we have been taking about the importance of exercise as well as mental stimulation, but let’s not forget the power of relaxation!

Yes, this week we are change gears to explore this topic as it is just as important as play-time or brain games for our four-legged friends.

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Dog Relaxing / Sleeping

Why Is Relaxation Important For Dogs

It often overlooked that dogs, like humans, can experience stress. Just think of loud noises, unfamiliar environments, changes in routine etc. Regular relaxation helps reduce stress levels, promotes better sleep and improves overall well-being for your best friend.

Puppies especially need to be taught that there is a time for play and a time for relaxation. If not, with their boundless energy, they will keep on going until they crash and burn! Teaching puppies to relax on cue helps prevent overexcitement, hyperactivity and destructive behaviours.

Be Aware Of Your Daily Habits

Humans are creatures of habit, and our dogs quickly catch on to our daily routines. Your furry friend will start associating certain objects with specific activities.

For example, when you grab the harness and leash, they know it's time for a walk. When you pick up a particular toy, they understand it's playtime.And when you take food out of the fridge, they recognise it's dinner time, and so on.

Once we're aware of these associations, we can also use them to signal to our dogs when it's time to relax.

Helpful Signals

But how can we achieve this? Just add a little routine before relaxation time.

It could be as simple as cleaning up all the toys since they usually mean play and energy.

Taking away things linked with activity gives a clear sign for relaxation. On the flip side, setting up cozy spots like a crate, dog bed, or blanket signals it's time to chill.

Here are some actions to set the relaxation mood:

  • Take off their collar
  • Remove the harness
  • Tuck away the leash, collar, and harness
  • Tidy up the toys
  • Put away the food bowls
  • Open up the crate door
  • Put a dog bed nearby
  • Lay down some blankets
  • Using a calming shirt

Offering A Safe Place

Having a cozy spot, whether it's a puppy playpen, crate, or dog bed, is essential for your dog's sense of security and comfort. This space allows them to relax, unwind, and take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It's like having their private hideaway, perfect for escaping noise or just chilling out. Additionally, having their own space helps them feel at home, sets boundaries, and encourages good behaviour.

You can make their space even cosier by adding something with your scent on it, like a piece of your clothing. This extra touch of familiarity can really help them feel at ease. And don't forget to toss in some soft bedding or blankets for extra comfort and warmth.

Lastly, consider draping a blanket over the crate to create their own little den. It makes them feel all snug and secure, which is just what they need for some quality downtime.

Frenchie in Donut Bed

Relaxation During Fireworks & Thunderstorms

In certain situations, like fireworks or thunderstorms, our furry companions may feel a bit anxious. It's our job to help them chill out and feel secure.

As mentioned earlier, providing a safe and quiet space for your dog to retreat to is crucial. This could be their favourite bed or crate, placed away from windows and doors where noises are loudest. Alternatively, a quiet closet or secluded room with soft blankets can create a cozy retreat for them. Avoid areas where they might get trapped or injured, like under furniture.

Playing some calming tunes or white noise can help muffle the loud sounds and create a more relaxed environment. 

Additionally, consider trying a calming shirt, also known as an anxiety wrap or pressure shirt. These snug-fitting garments apply gentle, constant pressure to your dog's torso, similar to swaddling an infant. The pressure has a soothing effect on their nervous system, reducing anxiety levels.

Lastly, use positive reinforcement to help your dog associate stressful situations with positive experiences. Speak in a soothing tone, offer treats, toys, or cuddles during fireworks or thunderstorms to distract and reassure them. If they prefer to retreat to their own space, respect their choice and allow them to find comfort where they feel safest.


Relaxation is essential for reducing stress, promoting better sleep, and maintaining overall well-being.

By adding simple pre-relaxation routines and cozy spots like crates or dog beds, we can create a comfy haven for our four-legged friends to kick back and chill.

Let's keep encouraging relaxation as we support our dogs in living their happiest and healthiest lives!

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