Want a calmer and happier dog? Trainer reveals the secret, and it’s pretty straightforward

Man and dog looking out over tranquil lake
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the Instagram post cited below.

If you dream of a calm and composed canine companion who's happy and well behaved, you may be surprised to learn that the quickest and easiest way to get there is through your training sessions.

While we often spend a lot of time reading up on how to deal with a badly behaved dog or how to calm down a hyper dog, it turns out that the solution may be simpler than we think. 

According to expert trainer Mattison Skoog, if we want our dogs to be calm, our training sessions need to reflect the vibe and energy we're wanting from our pup.

She shares more about this in an Instagram post which you can view below, or read on for a summary of three things you can do to put the tranquility into your training.

1. Provide an energy outlet first: "Before training, ensure your pup has a chance to release excess energy," Skoog advises. "A quick play session or walk helps them settle into a focused mindset."

2. Begin with a tranquil environment: "Opt for a quiet spot with minimal distractions. Then, when you’ve built up reinforcement of calm behaviors in a calm environment, you can move to more distraction setups."

3. Adjust payment: "Know your dog," says Skoog. "For some pups, high value food is going to produce very excited emotions and therefore behaviors. Try training with a lower value treat or kibble, or use something that encourages licking (which will help with relaxation)." Check out our guide to the best dog treats for inspiration. 

Skoog says that a great sign your training is on track is if your sessions feel a bit mundane. 

"It means your dog is settling into a calm rhythm," she explains. "So, embrace the tranquility and watch as your pup transforms into a serene and attentive learner."

For help with specific behavioral issues that may be getting in the way of your dog feeling relaxed, check out these guide to how to calm a reactive dog and anxiety in dogs, and consult with your vet or a professional trainer.

And if you're looking to stock up on training supplies, these Black Friday pet deals have got you covered. 

Blue Buffalo Health Bars 
Was $8.74, now $4.98 at Walmart

Blue Buffalo Health Bars
Was $8.74, now $4.98 at Walmart
Reward your pup for a job well done with these wholesome and tasty treats that come packed full of nutritious oats and apple. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.