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How to Raise a Calm Dog (7 Secrets to A Chill Pup)

Dogs are often branded as wild, hyperactive, or just plain old derpy dingdongs. It’s a ruff reputation to shake.

However, have you ever laid eyes on that poised, graceful, meditating master of a pup? You know, the kind of dog that looks like it’s about to impart ancient wisdom or at least the secret to catching its tail? And thought, “…HOW!?”

Raising such a serene pup is a blend of art, science, patience, and a dash of canine enchantment. 

It’s like being a dog-whisperer, only without having to whisper all the time. It’s about setting the right groove, giving top-notch training, harmonizing with your furry friend, and realizing that each dog is an individual, brimming with personality and quirks.

But hold your hounds! Raising a calm pup isn’t a feat that requires you to be a doggy Zen master. Sure, it’s not exactly a walk in the park (unless it’s an actual walk in the park—those help.), but let’s not label it as difficult.

So, today, I’m on a mission to turn your hyper-energetic pooch into the Dalai Lama of dogs. Are you ready to unleash the wisdom?

First up, you need to understand seven key factors that will help you decipher the doggie code for a peaceful pup.

  1. Breed
  2. Socialization
  3. Training
  4. Stimulation
  5. Environment
  6. Health
  7. You. Yes, YOU! The human behind the hound.


If you’re the laid-back kind, or if your life’s mission is to raise a Buddha-esque dog, then you need a breed that embodies tranquility.

Author Zach Lovatt showing three different breed of dogs.

Consider the Saint Bernard, a dog who’s basically a furry couch, or a Bulldog, known to be lazier than a Sunday morning. Maybe a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a Greyhound, or a Boerboel if you want something that sounds more exotic.

The “less than ideal” list? Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, Jack Russel Terrier, or Belgian Malinois.

Be meticulous with your research before you bring a pup home. Don’t wing it. It’s serious business for both you and the pup. Remember, the number one reason pups end up doing time in shelters is that people never cracked the book on what it takes to handle a high-energy pooch. And that’s just ruff on everyone involved.

However, fear not, my canine comrades, no matter what breed you have, you CAN still raise a calm pooch. It’s like baking a cake—some recipes are just more complex. So, if you’re going for a high-energy pup, be prepared to sweat and strain.

Ready, soldier? Let’s dig in, paws and all! 

Did you know that your emotions are like Wi-Fi signals to your pup? That’s right, how you feel – I mean just FEEL – in a situation has the most magical influence on your dog’s behavior. You might as well be wearing a sign that says, “I’m nervous!” or “Feeling chill today!” because your pupper is picking up on those vibes.

You’re not even saying a word or doing the Macarena, so how’s that even possible? Is your dog psychic? Has he been attending night school for telepathy?

Well, stick around till the end, and I’ll reveal this fascinating canine mystery to you.


The first syllabus for a Ph.D. in Calmology is early and consistent socialization.

Two women playing with a cat and two dogs, and a little girl sat on the couch playing with a gadget.

You have buddies who won’t attend a birthday party unless they can bring their pup? That’s the kind of socializing we’re talking about here.

Let’s make sense of this. A lot of hyperactivity or unpredictable behavior in dogs comes from overstimulation, stress, anxiety, or fear. It’s like visiting New York for the first time alone. You’d feel like a country chicken lost in Times Square, right? Well, your pup feels the same way in new environments. What we don’t know scares us, and the same goes for our puppuccinos.

So, take your Pupponaut everywhere with you from the time they’re just a little fluffball. Expose them to the world, its sounds, people, animals, cars, and of course, all those tantalizing smells. 

Early socialization builds confidence, turning a timid puppy into a sophisticated adult dog who looks at the neighbor’s lawnmower and thinks, “That thing? Pfft! Been there, sniffed that.”

Here’s the playbook:

  • Take your pup for walks in new neighborhoods and parks, introducing them to new sights, sounds, and sniffs. Safety first, though!
  • Hit up pet-friendly stores and businesses to help them acclimate to the wild, human-filled world.
  • Invite friends and family over for some good old-fashioned pup-and-greet sessions. Your dog will learn how to mingle like a pro!
  • Find puppy classes or playgroups in your area. It’s like preschool but furrier.
  • Be patient, positive, and never force your pup into a scary situation. That’s like making you hold a spider. Not cool! Let them take the lead when it comes to mingling. But do reward them for brave deeds.
  • Always have them on a leash for control and safety. They might be brave, but the world’s still got its dangers!
  • Watch for signs of fear or anxiety, like lip-licking or tail-tucking. If your pup starts acting like they’ve seen a ghost, it’s time to retreat.
  • Take breaks. Even the coolest pups need some downtime.
  • And most importantly, have fun! Socialization should feel like a party, not a chore. If your pup’s not rocking out, it’s time to pack up the dance floor.

Remember, raising a calm dog isn’t about stuffing them into a mold; it’s about understanding and guiding them into their chill zone. 


Now let’s bark about training. There’s punishment-based training that teaches your pupster what NOT to do, and there’s reward-based training that teaches them what TO do. It’s like the difference between yelling, “Don’t touch the cake!” and offering a treat for staying away from the cake. Which one sounds yummier?

A lady training a dog using treats.

Pawfessionals and canine experts agree: reward-based training is the way to go. Why? Because punishment-based training keeps your pupperino on the edge, constantly anxious about avoiding the doghouse. 

And an anxious Pupponaut is not a chill Pupponaut! We want our fur babies to feel as comfy as a poodle in a plush bed so they remain calm and serene.

So, grab your treat pouch and start rewarding that calm, relaxed behavior with treats and praise. Scolding your little Puptato for unwanted energy is a no-no. Instead, use positive reinforcements, like the dog-whispering wizard you are.

Start early, stay consistent, and be clear. You don’t want your pup confused like, “To jump or not to jump on you, Katherine? Make up your mind!” 

For a calm doggo, reward them with praise or treats when they’re being cool as a cucumber —at home or on walks. 

But hey, don’t make a big tail-wagging fiesta out of it. If your pup’s chilling while kids run wild with water guns, calmly and quietly reward them. No need to start a conga line. Be cool, be calm, be like a dog with shades on a sunny day.

Got a bad behavior on your hands? Identify those naughty triggers and either avoid or desensitize your dog to them. Redirect their attention with toys or treats, or simply ignore them. It’s like changing channels when a bad movie comes on.

For example, if your pup’s jumping like a kangaroo when you get home, give them the silent treatment until they’ve simmered down. Petting a hyper pup sends mixed signals. Avoid initiating playtime or training when your dog’s acting like a caffeinated squirrel.

In a nutshell, make reward-based training a way of life. Let your pup know that calm is the new cool and that serenity earns them a spot in the “Good Pup Club.”


Now, pups are like people; some need to hit the club on a Saturday night, and some would rather stay home and rewatch Succession.

A man throwing a toy and a dog about to fetch it.

The key is to watch how your pupster reacts to different stimuli. But generally, puppies and teenage dogs need more stimulation than adults or seniors.

Both mental and physical stimulation are important in raising a calm dog. 

For mental stimulation, you can use training, puzzle toys, and games. This helps keep your dog’s mind sharp, reduces boredom, and improves obedience. 

  • For puzzle toys, you can use something like a frozen Kong filled with soaked kibble to challenge your Pupzilla’s mind, making them feel relaxed and content.
  • As for games, try fetch, hide-and-seek, tug-of-war, etc.; these aren’t just fun and games; they’re mental workouts!

Physical stimulation, on the other hand, is about keeping your pup physically fit and burning off excess energy. Think of this as sending your dog to the gym, but way more fun.

  • Walks: Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, but remember the sniffing adventures! 
  • Sniffs: You see, our pups’ sense of smell is more than 10,000 times stronger than ours. It’s their most important asset in navigating life. 

I mean, sure, stopping and sniffing every little leaf and stone on a walk may be a little annoying for you, but for your Puptart, it’s important business!

It helps them figure out their environment or pick up messages left by other dogs while lowering their heart rate, which in turn helps them feel relaxed. There can be a noticeable difference in your dog’s behavior when you let them sniff as much as they want during a walk vs. when you pull the leash constantly to get them home quickly. 

Pro tip: Turn dinner into a sniffing scavenger hunt! Build a trail of treats all around the house, leading them to their food bowl.

  • Runs: If you have a puppy, make sure to gradually increase the distance and intensity of the run if they’re up for it.
  • Playtime: Playing ball with your pup, for example, is great bonding time and a fitness session rolled into one.

But remember, balance is key. Too much exercise can turn your pup into a tired toddler throwing tantrums, while too little can make them into a bored toddler, well, throwing tantrums.

After playtime, let your pup catch some Z’s. Sleep prevents them from becoming overly tired and acting like a hyper toddler.

A weekly field trip to a park for off-leash fun is a great idea, and if you have space, invest in an invisible dog fence like SpotOn or Halo or a smart collar like Fi. It gives your dog a VIP pass to freedom while you sip your coffee in peace.

In the grand scheme of pup parenting, stimulation is like tuning a guitar; find the right note, and you’ll have a harmonious pup that’s calm, content, and ready to face the world.


Next on our zen pup-raising guide is creating the right environment:

A dog sleeping on a bed.

Every pup needs a cozy nook to call their own, whether it’s a plush bed, a welcoming crate, or even just a quiet corner for those much-needed naps—free from the hustle and bustle of the living room.

Now, if you’re dealing with an adult pup or fostering a furry friend, it might be a good idea to keep things hushed and calm. After all, loud noises and sudden movements can stir up anxiety and stress.

But when you’re raising a pup from puppyhood, you want them to be able to handle the daily household chaos. Got kids running around like mini tornadoes? Remote-controlled cars zipping past? You need your pup to get used to all that and realize these aren’t intruders and there’s nothing to worry about.

By gradually introducing your pupper to the everyday hustle and bustle, you’re teaching them to keep their cool amidst the storm. 

So, what’s the secret? Start slow and let your pup acclimatize to the noise, movement, and those pesky remote-controlled cars. Over time, your pup will learn to recognize these as harmless parts of their environment, not reasons to sound the bark alarm.

In the end, you’ll have a pup that’s not just calm but comfortable in their own fur, whether it’s snoozing through a playdate or wagging their tail at the sight of a toy car. It’s all about shaping a happy, well-adjusted pupster who can roll with the punches or, in this case, screaming children! 


Before we take a look at how your personality and mood can influence your pup’s demeanor, let’s discuss a vital aspect—health. 

A dog being examined at a veterinary clinic with a vet preparing a syringe in the foreground.

A pup’s overall well-being plays a significant role in their ability to stay calm and content.

  • Pain: If your pup is in a rough spot and feeling pain, it can make them irritable and restless. Watch out for symptoms like excessive barking, whining, or biting. Your pup’s not being naughty; they might just be telling you they’re hurting.
  • Anxiety: An anxious pup may bark more, pace around, or chew on things. Offering comfort while slowly and patiently introducing them to the daily chaos can make a world of difference.
  • Depression: Yes, pups can get the blues too. A depressed doggo may sleep more or avoid interaction. Remember, we want our pups to be calm, not lethargic and withdrawn. Be sure to monitor their behavior and give them plenty of love. Don’t leave them alone for too long.
  • Nutrition: Nutrient-rich food is key to their overall well-being. A malnourished pup may be more prone to anxiety or restlessness, so keep their bowl filled with the good stuff.
  • Vaccinations: These are your pup’s shield against diseases that can cause pain or anxiety. Staying up-to-date on shots is a no-brainer for a happy, healthy hound.
  • Regular Vet Checkups: A vet isn’t just for when your pup is feeling ill. Regular check-ins can detect issues early.


Alright, human, time to turn the leash on you! How do your personality and mood shape your pupster’s calm demeanor? It’s a big deal, so let’s get into it.

A man sat next to a dog by the river.

You might think you’re your pup’s best friend, but studies show that many of our furry pals actually see us as parental figures. And they’re not just tailing behind you for treats; they’re learning from you too.

Your pooch’s senses are dialed into your every emotion—like little furry mood rings, catching on to whether you’re feeling top-dog happy or a little bit blue. They do this by being expert readers of our body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and scent. Our co-evolution as companions has a lot to do with it.

Here’s how you can be the ultimate doggo parent and role model for your pup:

  • Calm and Cool Humans = Calm and Cool Pups: Feeling like a chill human today? Your pup’s likely to mirror that. A relaxed demeanor sends a positive signal, making your pup feel safe and sound. In other words, be the zen master you want your pup to be!
  • Stressed-Out Humans = Anxious Puppers: On the flip side, if you’re having a rough day and feeling anxious, your pup might start barking up the stress tree as well. They’re like canine stress sponges. Deep breaths and calm vibes can make a world of difference in keeping both of you at ease.
  • Consistent Humans = Cool Canines: Ever heard the phrase “consistent as a hound’s love”? Probably not, ‘coz I just made that up, but being steady with your routine and training gives your pup a sense of security. Knowing what to expect helps them stay calm and collected.
  • Patient Humans = Peaceful Pooches: Patience isn’t just a virtue; it’s a necessity when raising a pup. If you can keep your cool during the ups and downs of pup parenting, you’ll likely end up with a more patient and calm furbabe.

You see, your pup doesn’t just watch you; they feel you. If you’re a little stressed about mowing the lawn, your dog’s not gonna feel good about that lawnmower!

Alright, let’s wrap this puppy of a guide up! What’s the tail-end conclusion here? Being the calm, consistent, and patient human you aspire to be doesn’t just make life better for you; it’s a guiding light for your pup as well. 

So, if you want your dog to be chill, you gotta be chill!

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