You often hear dog trainers and dog behaviorists say that every second is an opportunity to do some training. And that is mostly true. But that doesn’t mean you should train your puppy every day.
Do not ignore the benefits of an active rest day. Your dog needs it as much as you do. Let me give you an analogy. If you work out at the gym every day, you will not have results. Not unless you add a rest day, where your muscles can rest and recharge.
It is the same for dogs. They need a full day of training, not just a few hours or the evening. Now, it doesn’t mean your dog does nothing. An active rest day is one where your dog maintains some degree of activity.
What is a rest day?
Rest for dogs is as important as exercise. Now, let’s try and explain what is a rest day. You still need to take your puppy outside for some potty. But you should lower the training and mental stimulation.
Why do I suggest a rest day? Well, dogs can get overwhelmed just like humans. Apply too much pressure, and your dog will crack. Push too hard, and your puppy will falter.
Do you sometimes get a feeling your dog is not progressing at the speed you want? Maybe you could try a rest day. Training can get stressful and irritating to your dogs. The same way you need a rest day from the gym, dogs need a rest day from training
Schedule yourself, do not train every day. Yes, I often say every minute is an opportunity for training. But do schedule training sessions. Three times per week for a regular training session is more than enough
When you leave days between training, your dog will miss training and be more excited about working. Resting is an important part of a dog’s mental and physical health.
Benefits of an active recovery day
Having a rest day is beneficial for both you and your dog. It is also beneficial for your human-dog relationship. Why? Because instead of working on training, you are focusing on your time together.
All the benefits from training can be negated without an active recovery day. This rest day allows your dog’s body to flush out toxins and reduce lactic acid buildup. Your dog’s muscles will feel less fatigued. Active recovery will increase blood flow, allowing your dog to be more flexible.
When your dog is tired, he is physically and mentally tired. And what do you think, will a tired dog listen to your commands and obey happily and joyfully? Of course not!
What can you do on a rest day?
An active rest day should still involve some movement. But the overall intensity should be no more than 30% of your maximum effort activity. This activity should also be pleasurable to your dog, so he doesn’t feel stressed about participating in it.
You take a rest from training, but you do not take rest from walking and potty, right? Here are some ideas about what can you do on an active rest day.
- Feed meals from kongs and puzzle toys
- Make a few cardboard boxes and hide food in them
- Cuddle with your puppy
- Talk to your puppy, yes communication is important
- Take a casual walk
- Give your dog a chewing bone or something else to chew and enjoy its day
- Some light playing can do wonders for your bond
- And, of course, sleep!
What NOT to do on a rest day?
When you have an active recovery day, your puppy can perform some daily living activity, but shouldn’t participate in a vigorous activity that will increase heart rate or breathing.
Your pooch should not have any intensely mental activity or any other stressful activity. Mental rest is as important as physical rest.
But the worst thing your dog can do is do nothing. This type of rest day, which many call passive rest day, involves inactivity. And that is the worst thing. Do not let it happen. You do not want your puppy to become too passive.
How often should you have a rest day?
There is no right answer here. Every dog is different and it has different needs for an active rest day. You should pay attention to your puppy and the signs he is giving you.
If your dog is not much interested and engaged in training, or in sports activity, it needs rest. Think of you. What signs are you showing when you need rest?
Well, now take those signs and apply them to your pooch.
Does a dog need to be walked every day?
I don’t even know how people can ask this kind of question. I have found it on Quora and other platforms. Yes, of course, your dog should be walked every day.
Walking is part of your dog’s daily routine. Now, how often should you walk your dog? That is another question. Some dogs are fine with 2 walks per day, others with just one. It depends on whether you have an active puppy or a couch potato.