There are a lot of things humans and dogs have in common—a need for love, an appreciation for comfy beds, a love of food—and new information shows a need for vacation time is also on that list. Canine behaviorist and host of the British TV show “Dogs Behaving Badly” Graeme Hall suggests dogs get stressed the same way humans do. And like their two-legged owners, dogs need vacations to get back on track. According to Hall’s research, vacations help dogs alleviate stress, and time away can even improve long-term behavior.
Hall told Daily Mail that despite their current role as man’s best friend, dogs still take after their wild wolf ancestors. They don’t mind spending some days indoors, but every now and then, they need to indulge their primal instincts. He’s not talking about stalking big game or howling at the moon, but a basic desire to be active outdoors. Humans get stressed out when things go sideways at work and when obligations pile up, but dogs get stressed for different reasons. Hall said,
“If kept cooped up for too long, dogs can go stir crazy, leading to bad behavior. Some of the most common problems I encounter in my work can be a result of boredom – and even loneliness. Most dogs are at their happiest being active, preferably outdoors, with their families.”
A lot of dog owners leave their four-legged friends alone with minimal stimulation for up to 10 hours at a time. A life spent isolated and bored can be just as stressful as an overbooked schedule. To relieve the monotony and give dogs a chance to recharge their batteries, Hall and other dog behaviorists say taking them on vacation does a lot of good. They’re free to have fun with their families, and the extra stimulation and exercise relieves both boredom and stress.
Vacations are also opportunities to work on behavioral training. Dog owners don’t need to rush off to work, so they can take a few extra minutes to focus on productive training methods. The dogs benefit from learning in a relaxed environment, and the change of scenery and chance at fun activities is great motivation and positive reinforcement. Many dog owners notice their pups’ behavior improves after coming back from a fun and relaxing vacation. Not only are they blissfully tired out, they’re also relieved of the tension caused by everyday life.
Thanks to travel agencies and resorts realizing dogs are part of the family, taking a dog-friendly vacation is easier than ever. More and more hotels are instating pet-friendly policies, and there are even sites that help pet owners plan their entire vacations around dog-friendly amenities. Pack your dog’s favorite toy along with his doggy life jacket, and he’ll be ready for the best vacation ever.