Have you ever noticed that the closer you get to your annual holiday, the more stress seems to catch hold of you? Perhaps it’s the anticipation of getting away and maybe it’s just months of cumulative stress compounding in upon itself. It’s time to get away and you know it. You can feel it. Others around you can see it in your behaviour at home and at work. Would you believe it if you were told that your dog needs a break as well? Actually, dogs do need a holiday every now and then. If you are wondering why, here are some thoughts from renowned dog behaviourists like the UK’s own ‘dogfather,’ Graeme Hall.
Dogs Go Stir Crazy Like Humans
Across the pond, they call it “stir crazy.” However, according to Graeme, dogs go “stir crazy” if left too long without a break. He says that vacations with dogs can help both dog and owner relax enough to refresh mentally as well as physically. He notes that it is becoming increasingly fashionable to travel with dogs and so there are more and more holiday cottages now accepting pets. If you’d like to see a list of the available dog friendly cottages throughout the UK, dogfriendlyretreats.com have the biggest collection with thousands to choose from in areas such as Cornwall, Devon, Yorkshire and Norfolk. A vacation with your dog can give you both a way to get away from the ordinary. Sometimes that’s just what you both need before getting back to the day-to-day routine.
More Exercise on Holiday
Even if you own a huge property, chances are that your dog doesn’t get the exercise it needs. In one article in the Daily Mail, it was noted that dogs who descended from wolves need much more exercise than most behaviourists and trainers even understand. It is in their nature to run and romp all day and even though they’ve become domesticated over the years, they still have that primal hunter’s urge. They may not be going off to the hunt, but they do need the type of running they would enjoy if they were on a chase.
Time Off Work
Although that furry bundle of joy has become more of a family member than a canine pet, your dog probably takes it’s role in the family very seriously. The slightest variation from the norm can alert your dog to the fact that danger may be near. It could be a loud noise, a smell drifting into the home from the street outside or a passer-by on the walk that alerts your dog to potential danger. Your dog sees it as his job to ‘guard’ the family, no matter how large or small a pooch it might be. Few dogs will refrain from barking if they feel threatened and for all intents and purposes, that is its job! Can you imagine if you worked seven days a week 365 days in the year? In effect, that is just what your fur baby is doing!
Meeting New Friends
Don’t you love to go on holiday to meet new friends and see new places? It’s exciting to talk to people who aren’t in your everyday circle of friends. Every person you meet is an opportunity to expand your horizons and learn new things. The same holds true for your dog. What many dog owners have noted is that upon returning home, their dogs are really much better behaved when being walked in the dog park. Socialising your dog helps him to be able to spot a real threat from an ‘imagined’ threat and so it becomes much easier to handle your dog in a public place. There may even come a time when you notice that your dog has become so attuned to strangers that he will never become uneasy unless he senses some real danger. You will know by the hackles raised on his back. A properly socialised dog can sense the difference between safe and dangerous most of the time when meeting new people.
How Would You Feel Being Left Behind?
Dogs have feelings too! Never forget that. If you really have taken the time to observe your dog’s behaviour, you will have noted that dogs even pout when they are sad or don’t get their way. Now, imagine how you’d feel if mum and dad went on holiday every year leaving you with the sitter? You’d begin to wonder if they were ever coming back and whether or not they simply didn’t want you around. Some well-respected dog trainers and animal psychologists suggest that these very same emotions are inherent in family pets if they are left behind even for short periods of time. Here you may want to note how your dog misbehaves if you’re late when returning from work. Dogs know the difference!
If ever you wanted to know why dogs need a holiday too, just think about what you would feel like if left behind and you’ll know just how your dog feels. He may not be able to say so in words, but most professionals believe this to be the case. This year, take pooch along!