We follow the Slow Dog Movement’s guiding principles on our walks.
If you wan’t heard about the Slow Dog Movement, we urge you to take a look!
Whilst we know the general idea of dogs is that they should be exercised to fatigue and allowed to play with dogs they meet when out to “socialise”, we also know that this can have a negative impact on a dog’s wellbeing and on the relationship between them and their guardian.
“A tired dog is a happy dog” has been the mantra for a number of years now, but in our experience, many conflate an exhausted dog with a tired dog. A happy dog is one who is allowed to be a dog, to process their environment and to learn in their own time. Dog are always learning, if you take them out and fling them up and down a field after a ball or allow them to yeet up and down with the other local dogs they will not ever learn to slow down, pay attention to their environment or really do much that is particularly doggy. They can become fixated on balls or dogs and be generally unmanageable if those things are not present.
We understand that many dogs’ walks have to fit in with their guardians’ lives and they may only be able to snatch short toilet breaks during the week, but that’s where we come in! Using the Slow Dog Movement philosophy, we encourage relaxing slower paced walks with a lot of enrichment opportunities along the way. This is why our walks are an hour and a half, because we take our time to encourage our gang to use all of their senses and engage appropriately with their dog friends. We choose interesting walk venues that encourage our pals to take a moment to stop and sniff the tree stumps. That isn’t to say we don’t let our gang blow off some steam and have a run around, we just make sure there is a healthy balance of high and low arousal activities for them to do, so they learn to down regulate. This is an important skill for all dogs to learn and we hope it gives out dog guardians peace of mind that their pups are learning to be better able to live in our fast paced human world.
The lovely thing about following the Slow Dog Movement philosophy is that we not only get to see our gang develop confidence and engage in natural behaviours, we also get to slow down ourselves and observe the nuances of communication between the dogs we look after. Each different group has their own dynamic, friendships form and the dogs pick up tricks from each other. Since we started walking dogs in 2016 we have seen one dog teach the other dogs how to have a joyful roll on their backs in the long grass, one has taught at least 5 others to swim and our Spokesdog Barbie has demonstrated to everyone how to successfully navigate stiles. If we were dead set on marching dogs around for an hour in the park, none of this social learning could have taken place. Taking things slowly allows us to really get to see each dog’s individuality shine through, and means we can support those who need extra encouragement to get involved and help quiet nervous dogs become confident movers and shakers. We love having the opportunity to take things slow with the dogs in our care, it really is a privilege to see them thrive.
If you would like to have your dog join our gang, get in touch.