Taking your dog out for a fun day can be a great bonding experience and the main reason we get dogs! However, a dog's arousal levels can affect their behaviour in very irritating ways on these fun and exciting days.
Everything from playing with friends and exploring to loud bangs and anything scary can increase a dog's arousal levels. So before we go on these big days out, we want to make sure our dogs aren't starting from already very high levels because these big days out can easily stack the arousal higher and higher into over-arousal.
Over-arousal can make dogs unpredictable as it triggers their fight or flight mode, making them stressed and very impulsive. Surprisingly, even activities like fetch can contribute to canine over-arousal. Understanding and managing arousal levels before a day out can make the experience enjoyable for everyone.
So the days leading up to our big day out need to be a little calmer than usual, but we don't want to miss out on mental stimulation because the dogs won't sleep. So make sure to go on some field walks, involve plenty of sniffing for food (maybe even get your Tribal sausage out) and make sure anything exciting your dog does is paired with a calming activity.
Great calming activities include lick mats, kongs and things to chew on. Make sure not to leave these things out, so our dogs will be interested in them when they next have to come out.
If we have a dog that is usually highly aroused every day, sleep is more crucial than ever! Without enough sleep, dogs will be hyperactive because sleep lowers arousal the most, and a lack of sleep also indicates the dog isn't getting enough. The recommended time dogs should sleep is 18-20 hours a day. It's ok if they're sleeping 16; you just have to remember that it's harder to control higher arousal levels in dogs like this.
Getting Dogs Sleeping
It's not all about just trying to tire them out with lots of exercise, and it's not all about mental stimulation as well. We need to also focus on relieving frustration. We relieve frustration through breed/dog-specific activities, which also mentally stimulate dogs.
Why do we do this? Because even if a dog is physically and mentally stimulated, they still won't sleep if frustrated. Then when it comes to leaving the house, you will have a dog needing to fulfil themselves by practising certain behaviours.
You can learn what behaviours your dog needs to practice and how to mentally stimulate your dog through MK9Plus.
In conclusion, managing a dog's arousal levels is crucial for ensuring they are happy, healthy, and calm. Remember, controlling these levels is much more difficult when our dog is not sleeping enough or getting what they need.
Written by Max at MK9Plus
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