Running and Dog BehaviourBy
As some may know, we occasionally foster dogs until they get their forever home. Our last foster, a gorgeous Staffy x Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, had separation anxiety, and became unsettled and distressed when we prepared to go out. It didn’t matter that he had our four dogs for company, he’d start to whimper, and pace the floor.
In mid June, we went to the Caloundra Foreshore Fun Run, as we do every year. It’s one of our favourite dog friendly runs. Francis ran with Domino, and they did the 10k run in about 51 minutes. Domino is an amazing runner, extremely athletic and strong, and he absolutely flew up the path. Francis reckons that if there were fewer people running the course, Dom would have run 45 minutes for the 10k.
Later that afternoon, we were going shopping and getting shoes on and picking up keys. We were amazed to see that Dom just sat on the couch watching us. He wasn’t tired at all, but his brain must have been swimming in endorphins which reduced his anxiety about being left alone. He didn’t whine, didn’t pace, but happily trotted into his crate and settled down with a yummy stuffed kong.
Does this mean that a fast run is a potential means of managing separation anxiety? It’s well known that exercise is a good remedy for depression and anxiety in people. Dogs have been shown to get an endorphin rush from high intensity exercise so could we use running as a way of helping those dogs that are unsettled when alone? I think so, and I’m keen to explore this further. Watch this space.
Do any of our readers have a dog with separation anxiety and do you find that exercise helps at all? We’d love to hear from you.
PS This picture isn’t Dom, it’s someone else’s lovely dozy foster dog