What is your preferred method of walking your dog? Is there a particular route that you use each time you walk your dog? Are you more inclined to let your dog sniff or walk? It may surprise you to learn how important it can be to bring your dog along on walks that incorporate scent. Brain engagement via new scents or sights is perhaps more important than exercise. Dogs are more attracted to scent than sight, and olfaction is how they absorb the environment around them. It is only natural that dogs would benefit from walks that allow them to smell the surroundings.
Let’s take a look at two types of walks that allow your dog to experience nature on his own terms.
Walking in Decompression
A decompression walk is a way for dogs to get out of their comfort zone. A decompression walk is a walk where the dog can freely explore nature, make decisions and just be. This is beneficial for all dogs, but it is particularly helpful for high-energy or anxious dogs. Sarah Stremming (canine behaviorist) coined the term “decompression walks” to describe a walk in which the dog can freely move in nature.
What does a decompression walking look like?
The decompression walk takes place in wide open spaces in the natural world. You can have your dog on either a long, clipped harness or an off-leash depending on how good they recall. It’s easy to let your dog run free and enjoy the outdoors. When you meet other dogs or humans, remember to call your dog. These walks increase confidence, decrease anxiety, and reduce reactivity.
What is the best place to go for a decompression walking?
These types of walks are best done on trails with plenty of open space. This may not always be possible depending on where you live. You can also try a field or cemetery if you are unable to access a trail.
Scent walks are similar to a scent walk, but they are more accessible for urban dwellers and everyday life. Scent walks let your dog lead their own scent walk, provided they are within reason. As your dog makes his own decisions, this can have similar benefits to a decompression walking.
What is a scent walk?
You can scent walk almost anywhere. Bring your dog along with you, a shorter leash, and their favorite harness. Let your dog lead the way. Let them sniff as many things as they like, as long as it is safe for them. It is possible to worry that your dog is not getting enough exercise by taking this walk. However, you should be able to observe any changes in behavior after your dog has taken a walk. You’ll likely notice a difference in their behavior, which could lead to them being calmer and less anxious.
We hope you found these helpful tips to make your dog’s walks more enjoyable.
Enjoy your trails!
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