Impact of Reduced Physical Exercise in Reactive Dogs

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Erica
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Impact of Reduced Physical Exercise in Reactive Dogs

Post by Erica » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:53 pm

Free to read study here.
Introduction
The importance of regular exercise for dogs is well known. The benefits to
physiological and psychological well-being are widely documented by the veterinary
world and organisations that support animal welfare (McConnell, 2006; DEFRA,
2006). Providing a dog with daily exercise can help maintain the heart and circulation,
keep the dog at a healthy weight, develop good muscular structure, prevent urinary
infections and ensure the dog is less susceptible to psychological conditions such as
depression (Reusche, 2011; Stilwell, 2014a). As smell is the most important sense to
the dog, mental maps that are conjured when the dog is allowed to sniff its
environment are vibrant and beyond the scope of human imagination (Tenzin-Dolma,
2012). Walking should not merely be the act of providing physical movement; pausing
for calm quiet sniffing expands the mental horizons of the dog and provides it with
information of incidents that have occurred recently in that particular environment - a
dogs ‘daily newspaper’. An exercise regime that provides an appropriate combination
of walking and sniffing time will result in a happy, well stimulated dog (TenzinDolma,
2012). This advice is sound for a large majority of dogs but is it appropriate for
dogs that are highly reactive or aroused on a daily walk? If a dog becomes highly
aroused or stressed by the scent or movement of another dog, is the mere act of
exposing such dogs to their reactivity triggers on a daily basis really providing these
dogs with optimum health and well-being?

The focus of this study is to discuss the issues that arise for reactive dogs when out on
a daily walk or during their daily exercise regime and to consider whether periods of
rest and calm activity can be more beneficial to their health and well-being than
constant exposure to their stressors. The majority of evidence available to date appears
to be anecdotal. Therefore, the problems of finding scientific literature in this area will
also be considered in this essay.
TL;DR: Reduced physical exercise and increased mental exercise showed much improvement in highly stressed or reactive dogs. Something long suspected and known to trainers, but now with something sciencey to point to!
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

mansbestfriend
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Re: Impact of Reduced Physical Exercise in Reactive Dogs

Post by mansbestfriend » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:09 am

Excellent. :)
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Nettle
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Re: Impact of Reduced Physical Exercise in Reactive Dogs

Post by Nettle » Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:46 am

The key is in the hormones, isn't it? Some types of exercise ramp up those hormones that cause reactivity and excitement, while others create calm and encourage relaxation afterwards.

I hope the scientists are seriously on board with which is which, and look forward to finding out more. Thanks, Erica! :)
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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Erica
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Re: Impact of Reduced Physical Exercise in Reactive Dogs

Post by Erica » Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:37 pm

You'd like my mentor I think :lol: Here's the article she dug up after I shared the first one with her -- "Too Much of a Good Thing: Overexcitement in Exercise" which talks about the kinds of stress and how some exercise can be more or less stressful.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

JudyN
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Re: Impact of Reduced Physical Exercise in Reactive Dogs

Post by JudyN » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:08 pm

Me being too lazy to read the whole article... :oops: Is the emphasis on reducing walks of any kind, or reducing the 'exciting' bits of walks? So, for instance, if you had the option to walk your dog in an area with interesting (but not too interesting :wink: ) smells everywhere but no other dogs or other triggers, would it be better for the dog's state of mind to walk in the quiet area, as opposed to not walking it at all? Or do some dogs even find the 'quiet' walks too exciting, so they get overaroused even if they don't see any specific triggers?
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Erica
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Re: Impact of Reduced Physical Exercise in Reactive Dogs

Post by Erica » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:28 pm

I have yet to read the whole thing but one of the dogs went from 80 min of "normal" walks to 80 min of reduced stress walks and enrichment/massages. The dog seemed calmer but did not change significantly in what behaviors it displayed when confronted with another dog.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

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Nettle
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Re: Impact of Reduced Physical Exercise in Reactive Dogs

Post by Nettle » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:21 am

IME the owners don't always realise what the dog thinks is a relaxing walk. But I have not found any exceptions once the dog has a truly relaxing walk of pottering and sniffing and sending weemails. They come home with a smile and a relaxed sigh and go straight to sleep. Owners say they have never known him/her like this! But it was always there to be used - just that there was a difference of understanding.


I will read the article, but haven't yet.
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Nettle
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Re: Impact of Reduced Physical Exercise in Reactive Dogs

Post by Nettle » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:28 am

Okay, have now read it.

What never seems to get said is that certain breeds have been created with a very high and quick arousal compared to other breeds, because of the job they were originally bred to do. Some of these breeds (eg hunting breeds) calm down again quickly and others (eg fighting breeds) retain their high arousal sometimes for days afterwards.
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JudyN
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Re: Impact of Reduced Physical Exercise in Reactive Dogs

Post by JudyN » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:08 am

Nettle wrote:IME the owners don't always realise what the dog thinks is a relaxing walk.
I was surprised when I walked with some friends who had a beardie who used to bully Jasper when he was a pup. They seem fine together now, in that they seem to ignore each other, and Jasper did his usual mooching the whole walk - but then right at the end, when we went our separate ways, he had a 'jumpy/bitey' moment the likes of which he hadn't had for a good few years. So yes - even when you think you read your dog pretty well you can easily miss what's going on in their head.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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