WELL, ACTUALLY YOU SIT ON YOUR DOG’S LEASH, not your dog. But that headline got me to open a blogpost, so I borrowed it. 😉
This is one of the best exercises ever for building the bond between you and your dog, teaching your dog the fine art of settling quickly (and to make good decisions not because you’re telling her what to do, but because she figures it out on her own), and that calm is achievable.
Bonus: This simple exercise teaches both you and your dog patience.
Find a place where you can sit and do something for half an hour: check your email, read a book, write a blogpost, have a meal, etc. Get that space ready (make it free of anything your dog might find interesting) and put your dog on leash. Sit down, get yourself comfortable and sit on the leash. Give your dog just enough leash length so she can sit or lay down. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
Your job for the next 30 minutes is to completely ignore your dog. That includes ignoring noise (whining, barking), jumping on you (which will be mostly unsuccessful because of the length of the leash), tugging, etc. Don’t look at, talk to, or touch her. She may not settle the first time you do this. No worries. She will get it. Do this at least once at day, twice if possible.
You can have other members of the family do this, as well. Let’s say your spouse is your dog’s favorite playmate. Have him or her do this 30-minute drill occasionally so your dog starts to understand that even playmates are higher up in the family hierarchy than them.
Give it a try. I think you’ll like the results!