Running Buddy of the Month – November 2011By
Bobbie is a Border Collie owned by Jacquie Gibson. He and his sister were surrendered to the vet surgery where Jacqui works, when they were only 6 weeks old. Sparkles found a home on the land, and Bobbie went to live with the Gibson family in Rothwell.
Even though Bobbie was well socialised in puppy pre-school and obedience classes, he grew up to be quite anxious, and fearful of other dogs. He would snap at them because he was frightened, and would glue himself to Jacquie’s leg.
Further training didn’t help, so Bobbie started on anti-anxiety medication to help reduce his stress around other dogs.
Bobbie started running with a local Pooch to 5k group only 4 weeks ago. Since then, he has learned to get on well with the other dogs in his group, and cheerfully trots up to say hello to his canine running friends. Not only that, but he is comfortable approaching and being approached by other dogs he meets on his runs. Jacquie feels he is a much happier dog and he no longer takes his anti-anxiety medication.
There is plenty of evidence that exercise is good for people with depression and anxiety because of the endorphins that are released. I can’t find any mention of endorphins in dogs, but I’m sure the same thing happens when they go for a run. This is a sample size of one, but it certainly appears that exercise plays a big role in easing anxiety in dogs.
NB Never stop any prescription medication unless under the guidance of your veterinarian.