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Pressure Off, Fun On

by on

There is a perception in this country that dogs must have lots of exercise out of the house. Not only can this over stimulate some dogs resulting in an inability to settle, but also creates an athlete! Obviously, this is fine if you enjoy taking your dog for mammoth walks and they are able to cope with this much stimulation. Just be aware that the more exercise you give, the greater the expectation from your dog and the more they will need to become 'tired'.

Realistically, it is the brain that needs exercise, so as long as your dog is experiencing an appropriate level of stimulation and enrichment during their day, it doesn’t matter how long they are out for or how far they walk. This can put a huge amount of guilt and stress on owners as they try and reach these unrealistic expectations.

This is especially true if you have a reactive dog or one that you are working particularly hard to train. Each outing is filled with expectation to improve and means you may no longer enjoying taking your dogs out. Of course training is important but the aim should be to enjoy the outing with your dog rather than how much progress you can make every walk. After all progress does not occur in a straight line, fluctuations in behaviour are completely normal. Make more of an effort to take your dog somewhere where you are less likely to come across triggers and enjoy your time together, this will improve your relationship and reduce the adrenaline for everybody involved.

I suggest quality over quantity, aiming for a fun experience rather than a march.

Pressure Off

Of course, your dog does require regular physical exercise to stay healthy. Good options if you are struggling to meet these expectations are:

-Hired dog parks


-Dog walkers

-Playing fetch (in moderation as we don't want to add to much adrenaline or cause repetitive strain injuries).

Fun On

- Sniffari's - your dog sets the pace and direction.

-Scent work - Using the massive sensory organ in their nose is extremely tiring!

-Vary the location to keep it interesting

-Play a game with your dog!

-Training - Keep the brain thinking!

-Parkour - Use your environment to teach skills and build confidence.

-Activity toys for feeding meals or snacks.