Let Sleeping dogs lie!
I came across an article the other day but cannot trace the author or where the research was published, nevertheless – still an interesting read. The author found that the average time our dogs spend resting/relaxing/sleeping is about 17 hours per day. Who knew!
This research shows that relaxation allows mind & body to recover from any form of stress; an over-abundance of stress hormones (adrenaline & cortisol) drops down to healthy levels if/when the dog has spent time resting. On the other hand, dogs that display compulsive repetitive behaviours may be stressed due to lack of proper down-time. These dogs may become even more reactive to whatever triggers their random behaviours.
During the night a hormone called melatonin is released into the dog’s system by the pineal gland – but it’s not just a question of quantity but also the quality of time spent resting or sleeping. Melatonin is also critical for regulating the sleep/wake cycle. In addition, melatonin helps protect the body’s cells & therefore strengthens the immune system. Quality sleep is important for both psychological & physiological health & well-being.
A pup will alternate between periods of mad activity interspersed with regular spells of sleep as part of the growing process.
The article concludes that both during the day and at night our dogs should have access to a comfortable space of its own where it can choose to go to rest without disturbance.
I’m very fortunate, my own dogs are close by as I work. They check on me from time to time as I do on them but, mostly, they do their own thing until it’s time for food, exercise, training or play. They relax or sleep in the meantime.