How to Teach a Dog to Relax (Step-by-Step)

By 22nd September 2017Dog Training
how to teach a dog to relax

This is is a cue that isn’t very well known but in this article, we’re going to show you how to teach a dog to relax.

It’s perfect when you need her to be calm and relaxed, like traveling the car. It can also be used in conjunction with the go settle or lay down commands.

However, it’s not the cue to use situations of high anxiety or excitement, no dog can go from crazy to calm the moment you ask them to.

This exercise needs your dog to calm herself, and we do it by what’s called ‘catching’ the behaviour which essentially means catching her in the act.

Here’s how to do it:

How to Stop a Dog Pulling on the LeadOK, OK we admit it,

The training methods we write about here at Pet Checkers aren’t our own.

They are the positive re-enforcement methods of world-renowned dog trainer, Victoria Stilwell.

You can find out about her on her website at or if you like her training methods like we do, you can buy her book from

How to Teach a Dog to Relax, Step-by-Step

When you see your dog in a completely relaxed state, lying on her side you have ‘caught’ the behaviour, now it’s time to train her.

Stroke her gently with long strokes and give her the cue, ‘Relax’.
Repeat this whenever you see her lay down in a relaxed state.
After a few days, in a quiet, distraction-free environment, stroke her gently and softly ask her to ‘lie down’ on her bed. When she is laying down, ask her to ‘relax’.

She should lie on her side.

When she responds, gently praise her and stroke her.

Do this in the evening before you go to bed or during the day when you leave the house.

Because of the nature of ‘catching’ the behavior, the relax cue does take a little time to learn.

Once she’s got the hang of it, you’ll be able to get her to relax in more distracting environments. However, don’t waste the effectiveness of this command by asking her to relax in situations when she’s clearly not able to.

If you want your dog to completely relax while she’s at the vet’s or in similarly vulnerable situations, she needs to have 100% trust in you as her owner and handler.

Trust built through consistent training, understanding, and love.

Leave a Comment Below!

So, we’ve shown you how to teach your dog to relax and now it’s your turn.

Have a go and leave a comment below to let us know how you get, or to ask a question.

We love hearing from our readers and we’ll respond to every comment.

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