In light of my most recent post on trigger stacking (you can catch up by clicking HERE), we’re going to be discussing how to combat stress build up. Decompression is the word I refer to when talking about preventing or reducing stress build up in my dogs. Remember that when it comes to trigger stacking, stress refers to anything that takes our dogs away from baseline be that bad stress or good stress like excitement.
We want the same for our dogs.
Core Decompression Activity Qualities
- not too exciting – yes your dog enjoys it but no it’s not reducing the stress hormones building up in the body
- dog driven – decompression activities are all about what your specific dog finds decompressing and what they would choose to do with their day off. Not only do they get to choose the activity but they get to choose the intensity
- not training based – training can be stressful, good training generally isn’t but ideally the dog just gets to move and behave as they find natural
Examples of Decompression Activities
- A decompression walk. These are dog led, off lead, focus on sniffing, involve no toys, and minimal training, ideally out in nature.
- Chewing/Puzzle enrichment. Nothing that is too hard and causes the dog to worry about achieving their end goal. You want to think of playing a game where you know you can win but have a few seconds of challenge to get there.
- Sniffing. In whatever capacity you can offer it, scatter feeds, hiding toys (and then not playing tug/fetch with them), sniffing unusual places, etc.
- Snoozing in the sun.