5 Tricks to Relax a Nervous Dog

Finally calm your pet's nerves once and for all with these relaxation tips
5 Tricks to Relax a Nervous Dog

Last update: 30 January, 2018

A nervous dog can drive you crazy. They don’t know their own strength and they can end up scratching or biting you, even if you’re just playing with them.  Even though you try everything you can to calm him down, to speak softly, to cuddle and pet him, nothing seems to work.

To help you get your dog to calm down, here are some tips that you can use to relax a nervous dog.

5 tricks to relax a nervous dog

A nervous or stressed dog can have problems with behavior and sleep. They can also become destructive and have exaggerated reactions to too much external stimuli.  For example, the sound of a toilet flushing or a ball can cause the dog to panic.

Although these may not seem like serious problems, issues like these can make it much more difficult to live with an animal and can cause the animal to have a worse quality of life.   It is ideal to educate the dog from the time he’s a puppy, preferably before he is six months old, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to train an adult dog.

Let’s get started calming down your nervous dog.

The causes of nervousness

The first thing is to determine why the animal is nervous. There are three reasons why a dog can become nervous. These reasons are: genes, environment or education.

If the reason is genes, it could just mean that the animal is genetically hyperactive, so no matter how hard you try, training won’t get you anywhere.  In this particular case, a vet should see the animal and you may need to consider medication.

We have no way of knowing the cause of an dog’s nervousness, meaning the first stop should always be to take the animal to a veterinarian.  If your dog is nervous, go to the vet first to rule out any genetic issues.

On the other hand, if your animal spends a lot of time alone, she can become very nervous when she is around people.  This is referred to as an environmental cause.

In terms of education, it is possible that you perhaps are unconsciously feeding their nervousness.  For example, if your dog goes crazy when you get home and you participate in that behavior, you are feeding into their nervous state.  Animals come to learn that exhibiting that nervous, excited behavior is the only way to get the attention they crave from you.


A stressed dog needs to get out some energy and release adrenaline. There is no better solution than exercise.

If a calm dog needs a good daily dose of exercise, a stressed dog requires a lot more.  If he’s tired out, the dog will sleep more and stay relaxed for longer, meaning that he likely be calmer when he wakes up.

Games for nervousness

It might seem made up, but there are games that can help with your dog’s nervousness, especially if you play them indoors.  Before you play indoor games, take your dog out for some exercise.  Running, jumping, and chasing after a ball are all things you can do outside before bringing him inside for some calming games.

At home you should play relaxed games, maybe sitting with your dog and rolling a ball to her over short distances.  This can help you spend time with your dog without feeding her nervousness.

Dog trainer

This is one of the best methods to calm a nervous dog. No matter the level of nervousness of your pet, a dog trainer can help. This is an especially good option when you have tried everything you can without any results.

If the dog is already more than a year old and still has a high level of nervousness, after you have already tried everything, the best idea is to go to a professional dog trainer.

A united family

With a nervous dog, it is important the whole family has the same routines with the dog.  If everyone is treating him differently, this can drive the dog crazy, making him more nervous.  Obviously, this is not the path to improvement that we’re looking for.

Because of this, it is necessary to have routines set up in regard to walks, games, petting and affection.  Everyone in the family needs to know when and in what way to carry out these routines in order to be successful in making your dog less nervous.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.