After Walkies Routine

So, you've strolled in through the door and taken your dog's lead off. You've just come back from a 2 hour walk to the beach and you're ready to have a brew and put your feet up. Your dog starts running about the house like a headless chicken, bouncing off walls and volting off the sofa. In an act of utter feralnesss, they pick up one of their toys and demand you play with them NOW. The toy has a squeak in it that your dog takes great delight in chomping on. Repeatedly.

Jesus.

You contemplate calling a priest to deal with the demon that has possessed your dog. Why is he not tired?!?!?!?

Sound familiar? A lot of owners I chat to are mystified by their dog's behaviour when they come back from a walk. They expect their dogs to be tired and not in want of an exorsism. But for our dogs, coming home from a walk of running, sniffing, playing, stressing and all the other things that they involve... is a bit like when you first get off a roller coaster.

You're wired, shaking, talking loudly and fast to your mate who went on the ride too. You don't know what to do with yourself other than seek out that high again. That high is adrenaline. The hormone that kicks your body into overdrive. And while it floods the system fast, it can take a couple hours to ease off.

So when you bring your dog back home, they are still riding that adrenaline high from the walk and don't know what to do about it, hence the red herring of them running about and not looking tired. But you can help ease them off that high in a way that will help them to relax and not get into mischief.

  • At the end of your walks, spend some time scatter feeding treats and letting your dog sniff them out - sniffing lowers the heart rate and releases stress fighting hormones!

  • Have a stockpile of frozen Kongs or Lickimats to give to your dogs when you return home - licking helps to relax dogs.

  • Give your dog something to chew on or shred, like use toilet roll inserts or Amazon boxes - direct the energy to something you control and let your dog 'get it out' safely.

Having an after walkies routine will help your dog ease out of the post walk high in a way that is enjoyable for him and for you. It will encourage settling habits and teach them better self regulation.