The Ultimate Relaxation Protocol for Dogs: How CBD Can Help

September 7, 2023

Written By: Earth Buddy Team

Black labrador with white spot on chest looking anxious on a leash. Read this article to form a relaxation protocol for your dog and read all the cues.

Following a relaxation protocol for dogs can help your pooch feel more at ease. Our furry friends can become overwhelmed, similar to how we do. Understanding their needs and learning how to effectively manage their stress is crucial to their overall wellbeing. The Relaxation Protocol For Dogs, also known as the “Overall Relaxation Protocol” after its developer, Dr. Karen Overall, is an effective way to help our dogs manage normal stress.

What Is Behavior Modification Training?

Behavior modification training for dogs is a specialized approach that seeks to change undesirable behaviors by using various techniques to replace them with more acceptable, desirable behaviors. Unlike standard obedience training, which teaches a dog new skills such as sitting, staying, or coming when called, behavior modification addresses the underlying emotional states and reactions that drive certain behaviors.

This type of training is especially beneficial for dogs that have been exposed to situations they shouldn’t have been or who easily become overwhelmed. By identifying the triggers for these behaviors and employing positive reinforcement, desensitization, and counter-conditioning methods, trainers and owners can reshape a dog’s response to specific stimuli, helping them to react in more balanced and socially acceptable ways.

The Science Behind The Relaxation Protocol

The Relaxation Protocol for Dogs is based on scientific principles of canine behavior, specifically operant conditioning and systematic desensitization. Operant conditioning is a learning process in which consequences change behavior. In the context of the Relaxation Protocol, dogs learn to associate calm and relaxed behavior with positive outcomes, like treats or praise. It works on the principles of positive reinforcement dog training for more desirable behaviors.

Systematic desensitization involves exposing the dog to a stressor in a gradual, controlled manner. In doing so, the dog learns that the stressor is not something to be feared. By combining these principles, the Relaxation Protocol helps dogs learn to stay calm and relaxed, even in situations that might previously have made them uncomfortable.

3 different sized dogs on a purple leash training behavior in public. Using CBD before behavior modification training can keep dogs less anxious and focused.

How to Implement The Relaxation Protocol For Dogs

Implementing the Relaxation Protocol for Dogs involves a series of steps that progressively challenge your dog to remain calm and composed. You start by asking your dog to sit or lie down in a comfortable, familiar location. Reward them immediately with praise or a treat for following your commands.

The following steps increase in complexity, incorporating different elements like duration, distraction, and distance. You might ask your dog to remain calm for longer periods while you’re moving around or even while you’re out of sight.

The key is to gradually increase the challenge, always rewarding your dog for staying calm. Keep an eye on all the cues understanding your dog’s body language. Their body language will provide all the cues you need to determine how they’re feeling.

End on a Positive Note

It’s important to ensure that each session ends on a positive note. If your dog becomes upset with a situation, especially during potentially more stressful ones, return to a previous, simpler step where they were successful. By completing a step successfully, even if they didn’t get the last one right, they will remain confident in what you’re asking of them.

Remember, patience and consistency, like other behavior modification programs, are crucial to the success of the Relaxation Protocol. Some dogs will be more successful than others, moving faster through the process, whereas other dogs may take longer to learn what’s expected of them.

Australian Shepard sitting patiently while showing good behavior for an Earth Buddy CBD dog treat.

The 15-Day Program: Step by Step

Unlike many other behavior modification programs, this protocol involves a 15-day regimen of training exercises that gradually escalate in complexity. Each day, the dog is asked to perform a series of tasks, like sitting or lying down, while the trainer gradually introduces more challenging distractions. This can involve altering the distance between the handler and the dog, introducing various noises, or changing the location of the exercise.

Benefits of The Relaxation Protocol

Due to its effectiveness, the Relaxation Protocol for Dogs has received praise from many dog owners and dog trainers. Some of the benefits of this regimen include:

Here are some benefits of implementing the Relaxation Protocol:

  • Improved calmness and composure: The primary goal of relaxation protocols is to teach dogs to remain relaxed even in the presence of distractions (potentially more stressful ones) or triggers.
  • Foundation for advanced training: The patience and self-control developed by dogs through the protocol can form a foundation for more advanced training exercises.
  • Enhanced dog-handler bond: Working together daily on these exercises can deepen the bond between the dog and the handler, fostering trust and understanding.
  • Coping with external stresses: Dogs that are easily startled can benefit from the consistent practice of relaxation techniques, leading to normal emotional balance.
  • Better management of reactivity: For dogs that show reactive behavior, like barking or lunging in response to specific stimuli, the protocol can be a useful tool to mitigate such reactions.
  • Desensitization: Over time, the repeated exposure to different stimuli while being rewarded for calm behavior can help desensitize dogs to potentially triggering events or situations, including potentially more stressful ones than they were once fearful of.

Rottweiler laying down with a small, black and white dog climbing over him. Regardless of size your dog should be well-behaved with other dogs.

  • Flexibility: The protocol can be adapted and tailored to suit the individual needs of each dog, making it versatile for dogs of various ages, breeds, and temperaments.
  • Improved socialization: A calmer demeanor can make it easier for dogs to interact with other pets, people, and environments, leading to better socialization experiences.
  • Prevention of a dog’s behavior problems: By teaching dogs to remain calm and relaxed in various situations, the chances of them developing certain behavioral issues can be reduced.
  • Safe training technique: The Relaxation Protocol uses positive reinforcement, making it a humane and safe way to train and condition a dog.
  • Greater confidence for owners/handlers: Knowing that their dog can remain calm in different situations gives dog owners and handlers greater confidence in managing their pet.
  • Inclusion of real-life situations: Unlike some other behavior modification programs, this protocol integrates common real-life distractions, ensuring that the training is practical and applicable.

For dog owners and trainers looking for a structured way to help their dogs remain calm and focused, Dr. Karen Overall’s Relaxation Protocol offers a systematic approach with numerous benefits. However, as with any training protocol, consistency, patience, and understanding of individual dog needs are essential for success.

2 Siberian huskies laying down in the backyard with a bottle and jar of Earth Buddy powdered extract mushrooms for dogs and CBN for dogs.

Adding CBD To Dog Relaxation Protocols

Earth Buddy’s full spectrum CBD oil for dogs could be a beneficial addition to the relaxation protocols for dogs. Training sessions can sometimes be a source of overstimulation for dogs, especially if they are still learning or if the training involves new or challenging tasks. CBD for dogs works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, a complex cell-signaling system in the body that plays a role in regulating a range of functions and processes, including mood and stress response.

By giving your dog full spectrum CBD oil before a training session, it may help them relax, focus, and learn more effectively. It can help promote a sense of relaxation, ensuring your dog is fully engaged with the training.

White dog laying down next to new Earth Buddy CBD treats for anxiety. Read this article on how to use CBD for dogs in conjunction with behavior modification training.

CBD chews for dogs can also be especially helpful for dogs that have had negative experiences in the past and associate training with fear. It can help them form positive associations with training, making the sessions more enjoyable and productive. And, not only can it be helpful with this protocol, but it’s also helpful with other behavior modification programs.




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