“Freedom is a calm mind.” Bestselling author and expert on ‘clear thinking’ Shane Parrish was not likely thinking about dogs when he wrote this. But as any pet parent of a high-energy, high-jinx pooch can tell you, a smidge more canine calm in their household would certainly be freeing – for both the hairball and their human! How to achieve this calm mind for your dog though? Enter calming dog toys.
It’s all fun and games when your puppy is a tiny tornado of energy, sharp teeth, and adorable puppy wriggles, snuggles and cuddles. You are not unduly worried: training commences, aging occurs, and calm, eventually, ensues. Your home reverts back to its pre-puppy state of unchewed furniture and quiet safe space in a crazy world. And you and Fido live happily ever after in peaceful partnership.
That’s the dream anyway.
But what if it doesn’t happen this way? (And trust us, the reality is far more common than the dream!) What if you have a pooch who doesn’t calm down? Ever. This, in spite of:
- all the training, loving attention, endless walks, and exuberant romping sessions in the backyard.
- following all the breed-specific training tips and tricks you can get your hands on.
- being the best pet parent you can be.
Some dogs just need more. The tennis ball/rope/fluffy squeaker/chew toy just doesn’t cut it.
Good news: there are science-backed solutions to instill some zen into your dog’s life – and by extension yours. They come in the shape of calming dog toys.
The range of calming dog toys developed by Calmr Dog Toys, for example, are designed to specifically help
- stressed out, and/or
- extraordinarily energetic dogs
access their inner Buddha.
How so? It’s science, as they say – we looked it (p)up!
The Science Behind Calming Dog Toys
These innovative pet products are rooted in the science of sensory stimulation and behavioral psychology.
By offering more efficient bottom-up inhibition through sensorimotor strategies, rather than relying on top-down inhibition which uses ineffective verbal commands or restraints, calming dog toys leverage multiple sensory channels within the nervous system to create a sense of security and relaxation.
While the five typical sensory systems of hearing, taste, touch, smell, and vision are well-known – and well-catered for in the dog toy space – less understood and talked about are two subcortical sensory systems:
- movement and
- muscle work.
Both of which are key when it comes to creating a sense of calm within the body.
This is a strategy which has long been used in the human neuro-rehabilitation world. Therapists working with patients with developmental disabilities such as Autism and Down’s Syndrome, for example, use this to organize a student’s nervous system to help self-regulate so they can be calm and attentive.
Now, for the first time, this science-based strategy is crossing species into the canine space.
When dogs are struggling – be it with anxiety, stress, excess energy, or general restlessness – they might pace, jump, shake things, chase their tails. They might also engage in tugging, digging, wrestling, pulling on their leash – so-called heavy work.
It is this ‘heavy work’ which Calmr Dog Toys focuses on to ensure their innovative designs are effective solutions to mutt mania. Systems that activate the heavy work drive in dogs are built into each of Calmr’s dog toys. Weighted and flexible, they activate both movement and muscle sensory systems to meet the threshold for dogs to enter into a blissful state.
Calming toys also employ behavioral conditioning techniques to aid in your quest for canine calm:
Positive Reinforcement: When your dog engages with a calming toy, they receive positive reinforcement in the form of comfort, thereby doubling up on the toy’s calming effect.
Distraction: Toys can redirect your dog’s focus away from stressors, providing a healthy distraction from anxiety triggers.
Routine: Incorporating calming toys into your dog’s daily routine helps establish a sense of security, predictability and wellness.
Choosing the Right Toy
Of course, every dog is unique, so finding the perfect calming toy might take some experimentation. Recognizing this, Calmr Dog Toys has developed a number of affordable different toys, in varying sizes, weights and designs, all developed to match your dog’s unique play drive and style, personality, and stress support needs.
Used thoughtfully, innovative science-backed calming dog toys can only but be a paw-sitive addition to your dog’s life. Bonus points for bringing you both that longed for freedom of a calm mind (and home).
Animal Wellness is North America’s top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.