You might have heard alot about trainers talking about decompression walks, but what exactly are they and how should they be used?
Decompression walks are a type of dog walk that allows dogs to explore and decompress from the stresses of everyday life. These walks are designed to give dogs a break from the routine of their daily walks, and to provide them with opportunities to use their senses and engage in natural behaviors.
During a decompression walk, dogs are allowed to sniff, explore, and investigate their surroundings at their own pace. These walks are typically longer and slower than regular walks, and may involve stopping frequently to let the dog investigate interesting smells or objects.
The purpose of a decompression walk is to give dogs the opportunity to engage in natural behaviors that are often suppressed in their daily lives. Dogs are natural explorers and scavengers, and decompression walks allow them to engage in these behaviors in a safe and controlled way.
In addition to providing mental stimulation, decompression walks can also be physically beneficial for dogs. These walks allow dogs to exercise their muscles and joints in a low-impact way, which can help to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
It’s important to note that decompression walks are not a replacement for regular exercise and training. Dogs still need daily exercise and mental stimulation, as well as training and socialization, to be happy and healthy. However, adding decompression walks to your dog’s routine can be a great way to provide them with additional mental and physical enrichment, and to strengthen your bond with your furry companion.
Decompression walks can be used as a regular part of your dog’s exercise routine or as a way to provide them with mental and physical enrichment. Here are some situations where decompression walks can be particularly beneficial:
- High-stress situations: If your dog is dealing with a particularly stressful situation, such as moving to a new home or adjusting to a new family member, decompression walks can be a great way to provide them with mental stimulation and help them relax.
- Dogs with high energy levels: Dogs with high energy levels may benefit from decompression walks as a way to release excess energy in a safe and controlled way. These walks can help to prevent destructive behavior and promote overall wellbeing.
- Older dogs or dogs with mobility issues: Decompression walks can be a great way to provide exercise and mental stimulation for older dogs or dogs with mobility issues. These walks can be tailored to the dog’s specific needs and abilities, allowing them to explore and engage with their environment in a low-impact way.
- Dogs with behavioral issues: Dogs with behavioral issues, such as anxiety or reactivity, may benefit from decompression walks as a way to reduce stress and provide mental stimulation. These walks can also help to reinforce positive behaviors and encourage calmness in stressful situations.
Here are some scientific papers that discuss the benefits of decompression walks for dogs:
- “Environmental enrichment for dogs: effects on behavior, welfare and cognitive performance” by V. De Souza Ramos, et al. (2018) – This study looked at the effects of environmental enrichment, including decompression walks, on the behavior, welfare, and cognitive performance of dogs. The study found that environmental enrichment, including decompression walks, had positive effects on the dogs’ behavior, welfare, and cognitive performance.
- “The effect of outdoor walking on cortisol and behavior in dogs” by J. Tuomi, et al. (2019) – This study examined the effects of outdoor walking, including decompression walks, on the cortisol levels and behavior of dogs. The study found that outdoor walking, including decompression walks, had a positive effect on the dogs’ cortisol levels and behavior.
- “Environmental enrichment for kenneled dogs: Effects of socialization and the addition of toys on cortisol levels and behavior” by A.M. Judkins, et al. (2017) – This study looked at the effects of environmental enrichment, including decompression walks and toys, on the cortisol levels and behavior of kenneled dogs. The study found that environmental enrichment, including decompression walks, had positive effects on the dogs’ cortisol levels and behavior.
- “The effects of scent enrichment on the behavior and welfare of zoo-housed carnivores” by J.K. Weldon, et al. (2015) – This study looked at the effects of scent enrichment, which can be incorporated into decompression walks, on the behavior and welfare of zoo-housed carnivores. The study found that scent enrichment had positive effects on the animals’ behavior and welfare.
These studies suggest that decompression walks can have a positive impact on dogs’ behavior, welfare, and cognitive performance, as well as their cortisol levels. However, it’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of decompression walks for dogs.