I think we can all agree there is nothing like sometimes closing the door, turning the phone off and just huddling under the duvet to watch a whole series on Netflix or read that book you’ve been meaning to get around to for months. Whatever your idea of giving yourself the perfect ‘me day’, there is nothing like those days to give yourself a recharge and enable you to take on the world again when you resurface.
So why wouldn’t your dog need something similar?
Have you ever considered that your dog might like or even need some quiet days?
When I work with clients where their dog is struggling with a behaviour problem, I often advise that their dog needs a period of time where they don’t get walked. At all! The reaction is always the same…but he will be bouncing off the walls! However, when they do give their dogs some downtime, they always report back how amazingly their dogs coped with it and in fact report that they saw really positive differences in their behaviour.
I have to admit, I have dog walking OCD with my dogs. I usually walk them 2 or 3 times a day. I think this stems back from when I used to work full time in an office job, and I would have to get up and walk them first thing, then rush back at lunchtime for another walk and then they would always get an evening walk as well. However, in my life now I can pretty much choose my working hours, so I don’t need to do all these walks, but I still find I have to tell myself not to! I have to make a conscious decision to give my dogs quiet days. After a competition, they will always get a quiet day where we spend more time doing chewing and nose games rather than any running around. I am always surprised how much they sleep on these days; I truly believe they like these quiet days even though all my dogs are working breeds so should ‘need’ loads of exercise.
If your dog is struggling with a behavioural issue, for example reacting to other dogs, and you’ve had a bad walk where your dog tipped over their threshold and barked or lunged at another dog, then they will really benefit from having a few quiet days. It takes at least 48 hours for a dog to recover after going over their threshold and experiencing a stressful event.
I want to encourage you to try giving your dog a duvet day and see what happens. Plan ahead, so they’ve got some nice things to chew or sniff to give them some mental enrichment, but no walks. I would love to hear how you get on.