3 – Calming Collection

We begin with a calming activity in the house – because if your dog is pulling, barking or lunging on walks, this is where you need to start. 

Which 20 minute activity is ‘as tiring as an hour-long walk’ and leaves reactive and distracted dogs in a deep state of relaxation without even leaving the house?

It’s the Exploration Zone!

Exploration Zone provides a positive outlet for your dog’s endless exhausting energy. Use it for relaxation in the house and before walks. A dog who exudes calm confidence in the house will be calmer everywhere else. 

For dogs who:

  • Are overstimulated and can’t switch off. 
  • Have so much energy that when they do get the slightest whiff of action, it’s way more interesting than you so they ignore you. 
  • Are too stressed or excited to listen to you and they just couldn’t care less that you’re on the other end of the lead. They’d probably be happier going for a walk on their own. 
  • You can’t find the right outlet for their energy so you feel guilty, worrying that they’re bored and unfulfilled.
  • Pull on the lead or are hypervigilant to triggers as soon as they leave the house

Calm walks start at home.

This is one activity from the Calming Collection of many. We will show you another one on the Stress Free Dog Walks Challenge.

How Exploration Zone helps with Stress Free Walks:

  • Do Exploration Zone before you leave the house to reduce stress or excitement and put your dog in a better frame of mind for the walk
  • If you’ve had a stressful walk, cut it short and come home to do Exploration Zone instead.
  • Regular Exploration Zones build confidence – just what every reactive or anxious dog needs!

So, what is Exploration Zone? 

We set out the environment with different kinds of food, treats, objects and textures. To put it simply, set out a load of random stuff, lace it with food and allow dogs to explore!  

The blend of textures, scents and tastes helps to engage your dog’s senses. It allows them complete freedom to explore at their own pace while you watch and learn more about them.

Exploration Zone is good for the body and brain! Searching for food is a natural doggy pastime. 

''Today we tried our first small EZ with just a few little things we had lying about and WOW Ziggy has been busy sniffing and licking away for the last half an hour (and still going), this is like some kind of witchcraft!! Today is usually a day where Zig would be super excitable and wound up as I have been at work this morning so he has been alone for about 3 hours. Usually when I get back he will spend all afternoon following me and jumping, zooming and stealing anything he finds to try entice a chase but not today, the EZ has kept him so calm and content, its been fantastic. I will start collecting lots of bits and bobs on our travels to keep it interesting for him.''


Build your own Exploration Zone

Enjoy an exploratory, enriching and engaging experience with your dog. It’s simple to set up and no training or experience is necessary!

  1. Decide where to set up. Kitchens, living rooms or gardens work well. Ensure there’s nothing slippery, sharp, hot or hazardous. 
  2. Prepare a variety of dog safe foods – include something to lick, something to chew, crunchy treats and soft treats! 
  3. Scavenge some interesting non-edible scents to include in your Zone. We love used animal bedding! 
  4. Raid your shed, attic or cupboard for extra Scentventure Stations to add to the Zone. Select a variety of textures, heights and surfaces. 
  5. Add the food and treats all around the Zone – down low, up high, at nose level. 
  6. Exploration Zone is best done naked! (Your dog, not you – though we don’t judge!) 
  7. Bring your dog into the Zone and observe. 


If you place a tasty treat at a height or in another place that your dog might not feel confident, make sure you also place the same treat in an easy-to-reach position. This will ensure they don’t get themselves into a situation they don’t feel comfortable in just because they want the food.

Vary the scents, items and food in the Exploration Zone. Go to charity shops, organise a swap-shop with friends – bonus as it’s cheaper, better for the environment and the items come preloaded with interesting scent.

Less confident dogs – start with fewer items in their Exploration Zone and introduce more over the next sessions as their confidence increases.

If your dog has been known to show guarding behaviours or aggression around resources, email us about how to adapt it for your dog.

Callie’s autumnal themed Exploration Zone

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