Why Your Dog Needs A Decompression Walk (and why you may need it, too)
A tired dog is a good dog, right?
You’ve walked your dog more than once today; he napped. You have let him outside in the yard for a bit, too.
Why is he still acting out?
Why is his under or over weight?
Why is he always tired?
Why can’t he ever actually calm down?
Dogs are like people in the sense that they have two types of exhaustion. We get tired after a day of exercise, but it is a ‘good’ tired. Perhaps we hiked, biked, swam, played a sport, walked as a tourist, or ran a race; that exercise released endorphins that made us happy and eventually helped us relax and sleep well. On the other side, after a day of mental stresses, travel, unhealthy eating, arguing, or unhappiness, our minds go into an exhausted state. This exhaustion is quite different from the first version, though, isn’t it? This is unhealthy and leads to unrestful sleep, moodiness, and chronic fatigue.
This is why some dogs can’t seem to find their groove sometimes; they are exhausted from stress and the taxing environment in which they are forced to ‘exercise’ in each day. Dogs are not meant to be on a leash, walking by your side as a main form of exercise. Sure, your dog can make a great running buddy, and he may love that time together, but he may also need a bit more.
A Decompression Walk
More and more dog owners are including decompression walks in their daily or weekly schedules with their pets.
What is a Decompression Walk?
It is exactly what it sounds to be: a walk in which your dog gets to be free from stress and just be a dog. He gets to run, preferably off leash, sniff, hunt, play, jump, and simply be happy. Being forced or trained to walk exclusively through the same neighborhood can present your dog with boredom or anxiety. The same neighbor that gives your pup the shivers is always there. The cat that likes to hiss at him is always waiting. The scent of another dog that just doesn’t sit right is always in the air. The cars rushing by make him jump. Even the kids playing basketball a few houses down trigger a taxing reaction. All of this builds to an exhausting but unenjoyable experience, which spirals into an unsettled dog.
A decompression walk provides a space to release energy in a safe and non stressful environment. Most times, owners will load up in the car and head out to a trail or green space and spend a morning or afternoon decompressing themselves along side of their pup. A public soccer field, football field, or open meadow are great examples of decompression spaces if a trail, hill, mountain, or path is unavailable. A long lead can be used if a dog is not well-trained to return on command.
Animal experts are stating that these walks are vital for extending a dog’s lifespan. Dog owners are saying that it's benefiting their own lives, too.
Bonuses of Decompression Walks
You will feel better.
Your soul will feel happier.
Your brain will think clearer and more creatively.
You will crave exercise yourself.
No one is perfect, and somedays, any walk is better than no walk. While the idea of taking your dog on a decompression walk each evening is ideal, it’s ok if you cannot. But, once you find a way to add this event to your schedule, we are sure that it will climb the priority list quickly.