Urban life and apartment living can be hard on some dogs. All dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy and active. Walking your dog is a simple task that impacts the overall health and fitness of your dog.
Walking your dog on busy streets and a short leash might not always provide the enrichment your dog needs. It can be overstimulating, stressful, and may trigger reactivity. Decompression walks are among the best things you can do for your dog.
In this post, you will learn about dog decompression walk. You will also get to know the benefits of dog decompression walk and how to make the best of a dog walk. Let’s get started:
What is a decompression walk?
The term “decompression walk” was coined by Sarah Stremming, a canine behaviorist, trainer and educator.
Decompression walks are dog walks in which your furry companion is allowed to explore and sniff his surroundings. This can be done either off-leash or on a long line. In simple words, dogs decompression walks allow freedom of movement in nature. Compression walk often provides little opportunity for your furry companion to “just be a dog.”
Decompression walks allow your dog to engage in natural behaviors in a way that is both calming and decompressing. Freedom to sniff and explore the surrounding area provides both physical and mental stimulation. Your role is just to monitor the environment and area for safety, and check in with your furry pal or shorten the leash when necessary.
“Decompression walk will heal your dog, and it will heal you.” Sarah Stremming, a canine behaviorist, trainer and educator.
“For dogs who experience fear, anxiety, stress, or reactivity during their daily walks, decompression time can serve as a vital stress relief and an important way to improve their behavioral health. Decompression walks allow dogs to be dogs and to engage in natural behaviors in a way that is calming and decompressing. Freedom of movement allows for choice and exploration. Freedom to sniff and explore provides both physical and mental stimulation.” – Jenny Efimova, Dog Minded
Benefits for dogs and pet parents
Have you heard about the benefits of decompression walks for dogs?
All dogs experience vital benefits, but for fearful or reactive dogs the positive effects are life-changing. Let’s get down to some of the amazing benefits of dog decompression walk:
- Great for fearful dogs: For dogs who experience stress, fear, or anxiety during their daily walks, decompression time can serve as an important stress relief. It’s an important way to improve your dog’s behavioral health.
- Strengthens the bond between you and your dog: Walking and spending time with your dog will strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. By going out for a dog decompression walk and spending time together, you will create a new level of trust between you and your dog.
- Burn their pent-up energy and keep them fit: Dog decompression walk can burn pent-up energy and help your dog feel more relaxed and fit. It allows your furry pal to spend time with you in a constructive manner.
- Improve your dog’s mental health: Dog decompression walk can improve their mental health and reduce boredom. It allows them to explore new sights, places, and smells.
- Improve their digestive health: Decompression walk helps regulate your dog’s digestive tract. It can also help in relieving constipation and also improve your dog’s urinary health.
- Fights obesity: Decompression walk will keep weight off your dog and prevent obesity. Obesity can be a real problem in dogs and can lead to many health issues like pancreatitis, respiratory issues, arthritis, joint problems, diabetes, and depression.
Dogs aren’t the only ones who benefit from decompression walks – pet parents benefit too! Walking your furry child improves your physical and mental health. It keeps you busy, entertained, and you won’t get much time to laze.
When should I take my dog for decompression walks?
Supporting your furry pal’s natural instincts in a safe and controlled environment is always a great thing. Before you take your dog for decompression walks, you should be extra cautious and keep in mind a range of factors. When to take your dog for a walk depends on your schedule and your dog’s temperament. Let’s have a look at them:
Different dog breeds have a varied tolerance for both hot and cold weather. Don’t take your dog for decompression walks in extreme hot or cold temperatures.
A healthy dog should go for a decompression walk daily. It may be difficult for overweight dogs to go for decompression walks without taking multiple breaks.
If you have an anxious, fearful, or reactive dog, early mornings or late evenings are best to avoid encountering others while on your walk.
- Overall health condition
The more healthy a dog is, the better he can walk. If you feel that your dog is tired, lethargic, or emotionally stressed, talk to your vet before taking it for decompression walks.
Dog decompression walking tips
A decompression walk will make your dog happy and healthy. Let’s have a look at some remarkable dog decompression walking tips:
- Try to introduce the long leash to your dog and leash train your dog before using it on a decompression walk!
- You should know your dog’s stamina and how far to walk it.
- Choose an area with little to no human or pet traffic nearby. If your furry pal can see or hear people or dogs running around, you may actually stress your dog out instead of helping him decompress.
- Bring a poop bag and scoop to clean up after your dog, just in case!
- Avoid walking in extreme temperatures. Try to protect yourself and your dog from excessive heat and sunburn.
- Your dog, no matter what the breed is, must stay hydrated during walks, particularly in warm weather.
- Make sure your dog is properly identified and don’t leave them unattended.
- Try to stick to a consistent routine for walking your dog.
- Always be aware of your surroundings so that you can pick up the leash and hold your pet closer if another person or dog is nearby or if you’re nearing a blind spot.
Being a pet parent, you should also try to wear something supportive and comfy during the walk.
Activity level needs by dog breed groups
The level of exercise your furry companion needs is largely influenced by dog breed. A dog’s size, energy levels, stamina, and physical and mental limitations vary depending on its breed.
Dog breeds that are highly energetic and playful with high exercise needs are
- Dog breeds in the sporting group: They need 60-120 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per day.
- Dog breeds in the working group: They need 60-120 minutes of exercise daily.
- Dog breeds in the herding group: They need 60-120 minutes of daily physical exercise with at least 60-90-minutes of vigorous exercise.
- Dog breeds in the terrier group: They need 60-90 minutes of daily exercise with 30 minutes of moderate to intense play.
- Scent hounds: They need 60-90 minutes of moderate to intense activity daily.
Dog breeds with medium to low exercise needs include
- Brachycephalic dog breeds: They need 20-30 minutes of exercise daily.
- Dog breeds in the toy group: They need 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise daily.
- Sighthounds: They need 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise daily with an occasional short burst of running.
- Giant dog breeds: They need 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise daily.
Ideal location for decompression walks
If your pooch can see or hear people or other animals running around, you may actually stress your dog out instead of helping him decompress. So, an ideal location for decompression walks is an area with little human or pet traffic, no car traffic, and wide walking paths. Some great examples for decompression walks are dog-friendly parks, open fields, quiet parks, beaches, nature reserves with wide trails, empty playgrounds, or vacant athletic fields.
Decompression walks give your furry pal a physical and mental workout. It should be a fun experience for you and your furry friend. This will spice up your dog’s life and keep him fit and healthy. Remember… Respect your dog’s preferences and never force him to walk with you.
You now know the benefits of dog decompression walk! So, what are you waiting for? So get out there and enjoy the world with your four-legged friend!
We’re eager to hear about your adventures and personal experiences.