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Karen Overall’s Relaxation Protocol - First Seven Days

Intro by Sean Howard at Up with Pup
Protocol by Dr. Karen Overall

This protocol is about creating a zen-like state of relaxation for you and your dog. This is as much about you as it is about your dog.

Each day you will find a list of simple tasks to perform with your dog. You can do this exercise on a mat, with your dog in her crate, or anywhere you can both have some quiet, focus time. I like to do the exercise somewhere near a counter or other tall surface where I can set this piece of paper for easy reference.

Start by asking your dog to sit. If she offers you a down instead of sitting, this is fine. If she starts in a sit and shifts to a down part-way through the protocol, smile inwardly as this is an awesome sign of relaxation!

Walk through the protocol, calmly and methodically. Let’s look at the first item from day 1.

Sit for 5 seconds

Ask her to “stay” with a calm voice. If you also use a gesture for stay, you can use that as well.

Then count to five.

When you reach five seconds and she is still in a sit or a down, click and treat.

Then move on to the next item.

Sit for 10 seconds

Assuming she hasn’t stood up, we ask for a “stay” and start counting softly to 10. You can give her another “stay” in the middle or as often as is needed.

When you reach 10 seconds and she is still in a sit or a down, click and treat.

Some steps have you take a few steps back or to the side.

Sit while you take 2 steps back and return

In this case, you ask for a “stay”, then calmly take 2 steps back.

When you complete your second step, and she is still in a sit or a down, click and return to her, giving her a treat as you arrive in front of her.

If she stands up or breaks her sit or down, return to her and calmly ask for a sit. Click and treat her sitting and start over a step or two earlier in the protocol. Be sure to give her some extra “stays” this time to help her be successful.

Have fun getting relaxed with your best friend!
 


The Protocol

Day 1: Dog's Task

Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit while you take 2 steps back and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step to the right and return
Sit while you take 1 step to the left and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps back and return
Sit while you take 2 steps to the right and return
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps to the left and return
Sit while you clap your hands softly once
Sit while you take 3 steps back and return
Sit while you count out loud to 10
Sit while you clap your hands softly once
Sit while you count out loud to 20
Sit while you take 3 steps to the right and return
Sit while you clap your hands softly twice
Sit for 3 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit for 3 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 3 seconds

Day 2: Dog's Task

Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit while you take 3 steps back and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 3 steps to the right and return
Sit while you take 3 steps to the left and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 3 steps to the right and clap your hands
Sit while you take 3 steps to the left and clap your hands
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you walk one fourth of the way around the dog to the right
Sit while you take 4 steps back
Sit while you walk one fourth of the way around the dog to the left
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 5 steps back from the dog, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you walk halfway around the dog to the right and return
Sit while you walk halfway around the dog to the left and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you jog quietly in place for 3 seconds
Sit while you jog quietly in place for 5 seconds
Sit while you jog quietly in place for 10 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you jog one fourth of the way around the dog to the right and return
Sit while you jog one fourth of the way around the dog to the left and re¬turn
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds

Day 3: Dog's Task                                                                           

Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps backward and return
Sit while you jog 5 steps backward from the dog and return
Sit while you walk halfway around the dog to the right and return
Sit while you walk halfway around the dog to the left and return
Sit while you take 10 steps backward and return
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit while you take 10 steps to the left and return
Sit while you take 10 steps to the right and return          
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit while you walk halfway around the dog to the right, clapping your hands, and return
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit while you walk halfway around the dog to the left, clapping your hands, and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you jog 10 steps to the right and return
Sit while you job 10 steps to the left and return
Sit while you jog in place for 10 seconds
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit while you jog in place for 20 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you jog backward 5 steps and return
Sit while you jog to the right 5 steps and return
Sit while you jog to the left 5 steps and return
Sit for 5 seconds while you clap your hands
Sit for 10 seconds while you clap your hands
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds

Day 4: Dog's Task

Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you jog backward 5 steps and return
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit while you jog halfway around the dog to the right and return
Sit while you jog halfway around the dog to the left and return
Sit while you move three fourths of the way around the dog to the right and return
Sit while you move three fourths of the way around the dog to the left and return
Sit while you jog backward 5 steps, clapping your hands, and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you clap your hands for 20 seconds
Sit while you move quickly backward 10 steps and return
Sit while you move quickly 15 steps backward and return
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit while you jog halfway around the dog to the right and return
Sit while you jog halfway around the dog to the left and return     '
Sit while you walk quickly 15 steps to the left and return
Sit while you walk quickly 15 steps to the right and return
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit while you move three fourths of the way around the dog to the right and return
Sit while you move three fourths of the way around the dog to the left and return
Sit while you walk all the way around the dog
Sit while you walk approximately 20 steps to an entrance and return
Sit while you walk approximately 20 steps to an entrance, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you walk around the dog, quietly clapping your hands, and then return
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit while you jog quickly around the dog
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds while you clap your hands

Day 5: Dog's Task                                                                                   
                                                                                                               
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit while you walk quickly 15 steps to the right and return
Sit while you walk quickly 15 steps to the left and return
Sit while you walk approximately 20 steps to an entrance and return
Sit while you walk approximately 20 steps to an entrance, clapping your hands, and return
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit while you walk around the dog, clapping your hands
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you walk quickly backward, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you walk approximately 20 steps to an entrance and return
Sit while you walk approximately 20 steps to an entrance, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you go to an entrance and just touch the doorknob or wall and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you walk quickly backward, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you walk approximately 20 steps to an entrance and return
Sit while you walk approximately 20 steps to an entrance, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you go to an entrance and just touch the doorknob or wall and return
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit while you walk approximately 20 steps to an entrance, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you go to an entrance and just touch the doorknob or wall and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while the doorknob is touched or you move into entryway and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 15 seconds while you clap your hands
Sit for 10 seconds while you jog in place
Sit for 5 seconds

Day 6: Dog's Task                                                                            
                                                                                                        
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 20 seconds while you jog back and forth in front of the dog
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit while you walk approximately 20 steps to an entrance and return
Sit while you walk quickly backward, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you go to an entrance and just touch the doorknob or wall and return
Sit for 20 seconds while jogging
Sit while you walk around the dog
Sit while you walk around the dog, clapping your hands
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit for 30 seconds
Sit while you walk quickly backward, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you go to an entrance and just touch the doorknob or wall and return
Sit while you open the door or go into the entranceway for 5 seconds and return
Sit while you open the door or go into the entranceway for 10 seconds and return
Sit for 30 seconds
Sit while you walk quickly backward, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you go to an entrance and just touch the doorknob or wall and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you go through the door or the entranceway and return
Sit while you go through the door or the entranceway, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you open the door or go though the entranceway for 10 seconds and return
Sit for 30 seconds
Sit while you disappear from view for 5 seconds and return
Sit for 20 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds while you clap your hands
Sit for 5 seconds

Day 7: Dog's Task

Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 20 seconds while you clap your hands
Sit while you take 10 steps backward and return
Sit while you walk around the dog
Sit while you go through the door or the entranceway and then return
Sit while you go through the door or the entranceway, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you open the door or go through the entranceway for 10 sec¬onds and return
Sit for 30 seconds
Sit while you disappear from view for 5 seconds and return
Sit while you go through the door or the entranceway and return
Sit while you go through the door or the entranceway, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you open the door or go through the entranceway for 10 sec¬onds and return
Sit for 30 seconds
Sit while you disappear from view for 10 seconds and return
Sit while you disappear from view for 15 seconds and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds while you clap your hands
Sit while you jog in place for 10 seconds
Sit while you jog three fourths of the way to the right and return
Sit while you jog three fourths of the way to the left and return
Sit while you go through the door or the entranceway, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you open the door or go through the entranceway for 10 sec¬onds and return
Sit for 30 seconds
Sit while you disappear from view for 15 seconds and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds