Relaxation Protocol MP3 Files
The relaxation protocol is considered baseline work for serious behavior modification training, but many people use it for more everyday purposes for dogs of all ages. For example, if you have a puppy that you'd really like to stay put and hangout quietly at a brewpub or restaurant patio, or if you plan to do dog sports and want your dog to wait on a mat or platform when it isn't her turn, the relaxation protocol can help because it essentially helps dogs understand that they indeed can stay put and not respond to every weird thing they see or hear.
Yes, they really are FREE to download. Keep scrolling until you see the pink arrow. OR, if you'd rather play the files live via a YouTube video, there's an option for that too below.
TIP: If you are trying to download all 15 files at once on an iPad, you'll need some other kind of add-on function that can handle "zipped" files. Otherwise, KEEP SCROLLING, where you can download each day's audio file individually.
When I first read about something called the relaxation protocol (Protocol for Relaxation), I had NO idea what it was about. None. Never heard of it.
The relaxation protocol is considered baseline work for serious behavior modification training, like what I did with Lilly (our original canine heroine) when it became clear just how truly, deeply, and clinically fearful she was of the world at large.
That much I got from the start, but it wasn’t until I saw the whole thing in print that a sinking feeling sunk me. On paper, the Protocol for Relaxation is daunting.
That's when I came up with the idea to create MP3 audio files that I could listen to on my iPod, while training Lilly. It worked great for us, and I can tell from blog traffic statistics that people all over the world continue to access them ... a lot!
We began using the Relaxation Protocol in fall of 2007. Back when I first posted these audio files, I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of this detailed, tedious form of behavior modification. Today, all this time later, let me be clear.
Champion of My Heart
The Relaxation Protocol provides critical baseline training for fearful (or reactive or aggressive) dogs. I honestly think it sets such an important foundation that I will likely use it with all dogs in my future — whether they are fearful or not.
The Relaxation Protocol: A quick recap
The original protocol developed decades ago has been updated and modified by various animal behaviorists. Dr. Karen Overall developed the version upon which these audio files were created.
I’m really boiling things down here, but essentially the protocol teaches a dog to settle and defer to you in no matter what happens. Through food rewards and calm, quiet praise, the dog learns good associations with the various stimuli. It’s essentially a formatted, systematic way to use classical conditioning to teach a dog to feel better and relax.
Common Questions Answered
Rather than make this page any longer, pop over here to get answers to the most common Relaxation Protocol questions.
With Lilly, I did the 15-day cycle in sequence in various areas of our home. We spent literally months working on this in a safe, controlled environment before we ever attempted to take this training into public spaces.
Later, we harnessed Relaxation Protocol strategies to get through transition times -- arriving at dog training class, arriving at new places -- since Lilly struggled more when we first go somewhere.
As soon as I assumed the relaxed body posture, asked Lilly for a simple SIT, and began rewarding her for remaining still and calm, she would pop right into Relaxation Protocol mode and settle down. Think of it like an emotional reset.
Download Relaxation Protocol Audio Files for FREE !
On request in 2014, I recorded updated audio files of the newest version of the Relaxation Protocol (if you want to see the whole thing in print).
Depending upon your Internet access speed, you may want to download all 15 audio files at once as a ZIPPED folder, or download each one individually. It's your choice.
And, for those of you who prefer to play the files live from here, I've added YouTube videos below as another option because there seems to be a new glitch with certain mobile phones where the audio files don't play all the way through.
OR Download Individual Recordings
To download each day's recording from a computer, right-click on the text for that day's audio file, and this menu pops up. Choose "Save link as..."
Once you choose Save link as..., then this screen pops up, showing the audio's file name. Just click save, and you'll have the file for yourself, if you prefer that option.
Individual Relaxation Protocol Recordings for Each Day's Tasks
Or ... Play the Relaxation Protocols via YouTube, if that's easier for you and the device you typically use.
Relaxation Protocol Supplies, Process, and FAQ
Choose small treats since you will need so many. Most of the time, I use something like plain, generic Cheerios. I also sometimes cut treats like Zuke's Mini Naturals in half because they are too big as is. Zuke's also makes a tiny version that is really tiny, but they can be hard to find. If you can get them, they are really the perfect size for this kind of training.
Designate a specific relaxation mat or bed. I personally like softer mats for the floor or more comfy raised beds.
Consider a raised platform. A lot of dog sports folks have also gone to using raised platforms for a variety of training scenarios. They do make a much more defined space for your dog, but I worry about comfort, especially for larger dogs.
Reward at the end of each task. I note the end of each timed task (such as sitting for 10 seconds) by saying "Time." That's when you reward your dog for staying put. When the task is something like circling the dog while clapping your hands, I don't mark the end of that, but once you've made the full circle, then that's when you reward.
Sitting or lying down. The protocol is written and designed using SIT, but some people ask for or allow their dogs to lie down, which is fine too. Those doing the RP for serious behavior modification release and ask for a new sit for each task. There is something about the repetition of the entire cycle -- sit, weird thing happens / dog stays put, reward -- that helps create pathways in the brain so to speak. BUT, if you're doing the RP for more baseline training, without having the dog get up after each task, then it's fine to allow the dog to stay put.