CBD as a training aid for dogs

It can be an awesome thing to use if you use it in the right way. It can aid relaxation and abate anxiety.

CBD is a really popular subject right now. And, as someone who has looked into it and tried it with my three dogs, I want to share my experiences with you and what I think about it as a trainer.

It’s become quite a popular catch-all, a remedy for all solutions, and is being (in my opinion) overused. So, I want to help everyone get this right!

Let’s start with a little bit of info to stop you from getting duped!

What is CBD?

CBD is a contraction of Cana Bi Diol (usually Cannabidiol, but I’m emphasising letters for obviousness). It does not create a ‘high’ in humans. But from my experience with dogs, it definitely helps them to relax.

CBD is not marijuana, and it is not hemp seed. It comes from the hemp plant (a cousin of the marijuana plant). But please do be aware that hemp seed or anything labelled ‘hemp’ is not necessarily CBD based. So don’t be tricked by labels and try to know what you’re buying

It’s very important that you follow the instructions on the package, they will advise a dosage, and I would recommend working *up to the at dosage* and monitoring the effects as you increase.

I like using the treat versions of it best, but it comes as treats and as a direct oil also.

My experiences with CBD

I’ve had some great results with CBD – it’s actually what I used on the plane bringing Indie my German Shepherd Cross from the UK to the US and is something we use when we know high-stress occasions are coming (like the 4th of July).

It helped Indie to relax on the plane and made the situation that was obviously unfamiliar to him (i.e. the cabin of the plane), just that little less intimidating. Consequently? He handled the whole process like a pro.

But, I’ve seen a lot of … shall we say ‘cheating’ with CBD treats and oils where it’s used to mask a behaviour, or as a band-aid.

How would you use CBD for your dog?

It can be an awesome thing to use if you use it in the right way. It can aid relaxation and abate anxiety. It’s also been shown to help relieve pain and inflammation in humans – I’ve heard great things about this for dogs, but I’ve not tested that myself.

Here are a couple of suggestions of great situations.

  • Nervous greeters*
  • Vet visits
  • Groomer visits
  • Anxieties
  • Fireworks


*Please do not use these in place of any other measures you might put in place! Use all normal protective measures but add these in and see if they make a difference. Set up for success and keep everyone safe please!

“It can be an awesome thing to use if you use it in the right way. It can aid relaxation and abate anxiety.”

I’d always recommend you give the treats about 20 mins before the bad thing happens so that firstly they don’t associate that particular treat with a bad thing, and that the CBD has time to take effect and bring in a calming influence.

When shouldn't I use CBD?

CBD is not something that should be used in lieu of training. Proper guided training must always come first, where you research your variables and seek guidance if you’re lost. If you’re still hitting a wall? Then the CBD treats can be added in.

Below are some of the circumstances in which it should not be used:

  • If your dog is already on medication.
  • If your dog is already panicking
  • If your dog is dehydrated
  • If they are suffering from Kidney disease if they are sick or have diarrhoea
  • If they have any issues with their organs.

Like everything….

CBD Is not a replacement for training. It can, in very specific instances, be an assistance.

Also remember, if you’re ever unsure, seek advice from a professional! It’s what trainers are here for!

If you’re considering using CBD with your dog, make sure to chat with your vet first!

Don’t use it too much, it could be tempting when you have a high anxiety dog, but these sorts of ‘over the counter’ solutions aren’t something I would advise the use of long term given that they are untested and unregulated at this moment.

Our Expert

Article author Ali Smith is the founder of Rebarkable.

Rebarkable offers week by week training for you and your pup and a Rebarkable pup is a confident, capable and adaptable member of your family.

Rebarkable helps you understand what your pup is doing, why they’re doing it, and how to make the most out of your new puppy.

For more information www.rebarkable.com