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From chaos to calm: How Vashj learned to relax around kids and outside


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In this blog post, we will dive deep into how I helped Vashj and you will even get some tips and exercises you can try with your dog too. 

Vashj’s owner came to me because the kids in the family made her very stressed, and she just wanted to chase them all the time. She was also stressed by noises outside the flat and didn’t like it if the family sat down outside for a picnic or similar. Then she barked constantly, especially at passers-by. 

This is what Vashjs mum said: 

“She is going from zero to one hundred, she rushes up and barks, her body stiff and tense. She then becomes difficult to get in touch with, and it takes a good while for her to unwind again.”

– Frida

So we started with a stress detox for Vashj. The most important thing for her was to learn to relax in a room where she wouldn’t see the kids all the time. This would give her a break from all the visual stress that was impacting her every day. 

Vashj’s owner started working on the chill out zone using a crate, and I’ve got the first steps for this exercise for you to grab at the bottom of this post. 

The chill out zone soon changed her stress levels, and she learned to relax more and more at home until the kids didn’t bother her any more. 

Step 2 was to take it outside. Vashj’s parents were avid climbers and loved taking Vashj to climb every weekend. Their goal was for Vashj to rest at the bottom of the cliff while they climbed, something that turned Vashj into a barking mess before. 

They transitioned the work we did with the chill out zone at home, to a blanket outside. Slowly Vashj chose to relax more and more until one day they found her sleeping at the bottom of the cliff, as seen in the picture below. 

Once she nailed these small family outings and could relax outside as well as inside, it was time for the trail of fire. An extended family camping holiday with 5 families and lots of kids. 

By now Vashj was an expert, but she still needed a little help sometimes, by eating a tasty Kong when the movement was too much. Her mum also gave her regular breaks in their cottage and this helped Vashj to keep her cool for the whole weekend.

We also worked on her optimism, disengagement, and flexibility, but the chill out zone was the big shift that helped her stay calm in these situations that would have sent her spiralling otherwise. 

The chill out zone is one of the most important to practice if you have a dog that is stressed by kids or visitors. This will give them a place to relax and help your dog keep their cool for longer periods. If your dog is nervous, it also helps them feel safe.

If you want to know how to train a chill out zone, it all starts with the bed or crate. I will show the first steps in my 5-day mini-course that you can get for FREE here.

Now you have your next steps for creating an amazing chill out zone, but if your dog is excited around kids/visitors, you also need to train their flexibility. Check out this easy flexibility game to try today!

However, if your dog is nervous around visitors/kids, you need to boost their optimism instead. Here is a great optimism game to try. 

Best of luck and just get in touch if you have any questions!

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My mission in life is to empower dog mums with the right tools and knowledge so the can take their dogs from stressed and barking to calm and confident. With my unique method I will help you understand your dog better so you never have to feel frustrated or confused ever again.

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