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Canine Relaxation Protocol Demo

One of the things we're most famous for are FREE audio/video files that make the canine relaxation protocol easier to do. It might look like simply a way to teach dogs to stay, but the RP is much more complicated than that. It's meant to teach dogs prone to fear, stress, or over-arousal to defer to you and relax no matter what weird stimuli happens (noises, movements, etc.) Hard to believe I never made a canine relaxation protocol demo video before, but here you go. Below is a video of what it looks like when I do it with a behaviorally normal dog. In this case, first Clover and then a short snippet with Mr. Stix

More...

canine relaxation protocol demo photo - b/w border collie on orange floor mat, looking at person standing next to her

I kind of made the video in a rush for a friend who needed to see it recently. I didn't realize I'd cut off my own head with the video angle until too late, and I was NOT about to redo the entire thing. So, there you go. A video with my head not showing some of the time. That's how it goes. I figured it might be useful for others, so I'm sharing it here too. 

It's also kind of funny to see just how closely Clover follows my every movement. While she does stay put throughout the canine relaxation protocol demo, I admit that she doesn't seem SUPER relaxed. She is monitoring everything, but she isn't otherwise overtly responding to it all and her body position is fairly mellow, which is pretty much the goal. 

Other key points?

  • I'm using stale cheerios as rewards. 
  • Both dogs already know "go to place" on a mat, so that helps. 
  • I didn't really allow myself enough space to go left or right as required by day 1 of the canine relaxation protocol, but I adjusted as needed.

Canine Relaxation Protocol Demo Extra Notes

Within the last 6-8 months, I learned that some smartphones no longer play all the way through each day's audio recording of the RP tasks, which is super annoying. To correct that issue, I made YouTube videos of each day's recording. Really just a photo with the audio playing. I think that fixed the problem. 

You can find all the videos on the bottom of this page on our site. 

Or, upon request of a video user recently, I put all 15 days of the RP into a YouTube Playlist for easy access and use. 

Other Video Demos of the Relaxation Protocol for Dogs?

If there are other things you'd like to see us demo, please let me know. For example, I should probably demo the strict way of doing this for serious behavior modification. 

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Debbie Celiceo - March 25, 2022

We recently adopted a Belgian Mainois from a rescue organization. According to them she had some training but she has exhibited some anxiety around children and is easily excited around other dogs. She/we clearly need training but we are having difficulty finding someone because of the breed and anxiety. Any suggestions?

    Roxanne Hawn - March 25, 2022

    Hey, Debbie. First of all, if the rescue group is NOT helping you with this, then seriously shame on them. They should not place dogs without any needed ongoing support with training or whatever. Unfortunately, just like veterinarians and others in the pet-care world, dog trainers and behaviorists are SWAMPED with appointments and booking way, way, way out into the future. I’m sorry to say. It sounds like your new dog may benefit from some behavioral/calming meds. The most efficient way to get the help you need is to work with a veterinary behaviorist who can both prescribe meds AND help with behavior modification/training. Unfortunately, there are not very many of them. You can search for one here.

    Another option could be a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (typically a Master’s or PhD, not DVM degree). We worked with one for our late Lilly who recommended meds for our main DVM to prescribe, and that worked fine for us. You can look up people with that credential here.

    Another option would be a certified dog behavior consultant, which is more like a regular trainer with special credentials. You can look one up here.

    Like many in the behavior field, The Veterinary Behavior Center in Boulder, CO (not far from us) also offers telemedicine options, so maybe a remote connection is possible, no matter where you live.

    I would also assume that there are breed groups online (like FB groups) where there are trainers or others who know / understand the breed, who might be able to make some suggestions.

    I hope these suggestions help.

Petposterfun - March 24, 2022

Nice article. worth reading

Susan Wittenberg - March 16, 2022

What determines the need for meds?
I have a nervous 4 year old Miniature Poodle in NYC.
We’ve done RP. Think it is wonderful! And a lot of other training.
Made great progress.
But I thinks she would be happier on the street with something to take the edge off.
Tried Prozac. No for her. Or Zyclene or Composure.
CBD?

    Roxanne Hawn - March 16, 2022

    Our main veterinarian took the advice of the PhD behaviorist we worked with from Colorado State University’s veterinary teaching hospital to decide which meds. We were lucky that the 2 we used worked really well for our (late) Lilly. I’ve tried CBD and Composure for minor things with my current dogs. I think the CBD works better than Composure for our needs now, but I’m talking more like everyday worries (such as our Tori getting super car sick), not the full-blown clinical fear/anxiety that Lilly felt. Some people use L-theanine, which is a precursor to what’s in xanax. Might be worth asking your veterinarian about that. There are version of that made by reputable veterinary pharma companies.

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