Oct 21 2014 : Mirror (Bangalore)
It’s the festive season. Everyone deserves a fun time. So do our dogs, which are perhaps far less eager than us when it comes to fire crackers. But there are a few things we can pamper them with, after the noise subsides.
There are several ways to calm dogs down.
The most fun way for a dog is to be mentally stimulated. So take him on some new walk routes. Keep the walks uber slow. Let the dog sniff as much as his cute little snout can smell. This has a tremendously calming effect. Do not talk to him at such a time. Do not give commands. Just let him smell till he is done and ready to leave. Cut your walk routes shorter to allow loads of sniffing.
Visit interesting places with your dog. It could be a sand pile, a site under construction or a parking lot. Sometimes, if you know you will be driving through a quiet neighbourhood, you can take your dog with you, give him a small walk there and finish up your work and bring him back.
If you have access to any place with a lawn, bring along some of your dog’s favourite treats and scatter them in the lawn. Let him sniff it out. Five to nine minutes of this activity, and your dog will be exhausted.
Another classical way is massage. There are a few different ways to massage your dog. At all times, you have to keep a close eye on him to know that he is indeed enjoying it. If he is not, you have to stop immediately and try at another time and try something else.
How do you know your dog is enjoying what you are doing? He will tell you. If he is relaxed, he may let out a sigh of relief and plop on one side. But if what you are doing is stressing him out, he might start yawning, licking his lips and turning his head away from you. His breath might get quicker too.
So, here are a few massage techniques that I find work very well on dogs. When your dog is sitting, but not sleeping, start with the point right under the neck and with long slow strokes, stroke all the way to the tail. Repeat these several times till he relaxes fully or falls asleep.
Another method is what I call the “Mommy monkey“ method. Here, you make small circular movements with your fingers very close to the skin and gradually move to other parts. My younger dog Tigger prefers this type of massage.
For the more muscular dogs, you could massage them by slightly applying pressure on their muscles. It has to be a very light touch and if the dog shows discomfort at being touched in any place, stop immediately. Nishi, my older dog, loves this type of massage and falls into deep stupor, snoring and all! These massages are not just for calming. These repetitive tactile movements make the body release hormones that make both the person and dog happy and helps them bond. Of course, I speak out of experience: When I convert it into a full spa experience with soothing music and some incense, I too relax, talk about my day and we unwind so well. It’s a great bonding exercise for us.