From today, people living in England are allowed unlimited social-distanced exercise opportunities – as well as being able to travel to different locations. You might be feeling excited about the new adventures you can go on, favourite destinations you can return to, and being able to get out with your dog more than once a day. While I don’t want to put a downer on things, I am here with a word of caution.
Diving straight back into a more rigorous exercise routine might not be the best thing for you – and especially not for your dog.
Unless you’ve been busy working out with Joe Wicks every day, it might be that both yours and your dog’s fitness has taken a bit of a knock over the past few weeks. I’d recommend building up extra walks – or the distance you walk – slowly to save any injuries occurring. Extend a single walk of the day 15 minutes at a time, or split it out into multiple shorter walks with plenty of sleep time in-between.
It’s been such dry and warm weather of late – your dog has probably been enjoying a good deal of sunbathing if you’re lucky to have a garden! As the days warm up, going into summer months, just remember the dangers heat brings. Heatstroke can be fatal. It can come on quickly, with your dog going downhill rapidly. Although workplaces are beginning to open up, we still need to protect our vets by being sensible with our dog’s activities. Keep walks to the cooler parts of the day – early morning and late evening. Don’t expect your dog to be alert and ready to train during the warmest parts of the day either.
If you’ve got a young puppy or a dog who finds the world a little scary, they might find going out for multiple walks a day hard to cope with. As activity increases on our roads and pavements, there’s a lot more stimulation to deal with. If you’re finding your dog is reluctant to keep moving, shying away from things, or reacting to other people or dogs – try to seek a calmer environment to walk them in, reduce the time you go out for, and add in a rest day per week.
Multi Dog Households
When you live in a multi-dog household, there are many reasons why taking individual dogs out for walks on their own is beneficial.
Solo walks give you a chance to focus on building your relationship with that one individual – allowing you to better meet their individual needs or likes. You can also work on specific behavioural or training challenges that the dog may have. Particularly important for puppies – it helps them gain the confidence to walk as a solo dog out in the world – without the backup of their doggy family members. It can also give your other dog/s some quiet time at home to get quality rest – with the added benefit that they can prepare for the potential that the other dog might not always be in their life.
Preventing Separation Anxiety Post Lockdown
Going out for some exercise alongside just the human members of your household is key to getting your dog slowly back into a more usual routine, where they may spend time at home alone. If your dog has become a little more dependent on you being around during recent weeks, I’d highly recommend at least one human-only outing every couple of days. If you’re really worried that your dog has already become hyper-attached and panics when you leave them alone, book in an online behavioural consultation with a force-free behaviourist.