Our dogs enjoy a holiday just as much as we do | TeamDogs
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Our dogs enjoy a holiday just as much as we do

New research reveals holidaying with your dog can also reduce behavioural issues

Danielle Elton

Posted 4 months ago ago

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We all love a holiday - it’s the chance to explore somewhere new, take some time out to relax and just generally have a break from our everyday lives.

With restrictions starting to ease, staycations have surged in popularity. And the good thing about holidaying close to home...we can take the dog! 

Because what is a family holiday without the dog?

A new study by Park Leisure has revealed just how much dogs enjoy holidaying with us humans. 

And it seems they enjoy the chance to get away just as much as we do.

Research found that a dog’s heart rate increases by 51% on average while on holiday, with experts recommending that taking your four-legged friend on a UK break could help them overcome lockdown induced anxiety and stress.

Pet-friendly holiday park operator, Park Leisure, conducted a study using heart rate monitoring technology, and partnered with Nick Benger, a leading dog behaviourist starring on the Amazon Prime show, The Pack. 

Nick says: “For dogs, getting away and appreciating new scents and experiences can reduce stress and strengthen their relationship with their owners.

“It’s also extremely important that puppies (especially lockdown puppies) are exposed to different situations, people and dogs – holidaying with your pet is a great way to do that. 

“As for older dogs, a change in environment is a great chance to improve their training in a neutral space without the baggage of past learning at home.” 

After establishing an average resting heart rate for the dogs using a pulse monitor, researchers then tracked their heart rates during a visit to Park Leisure holiday home park, to reveal exactly how a break in an idyllic beauty spot affected them. 

As the dogs’ heart rate rose, their excitement levels also increased. The dogs took part in various activities to reveal what excited them the most: 

1.Being on the beach – increased heart rate by 74% on average 

By far the biggest draw, a trip to the beach certainly got their tails wagging, raising the dogs’ pulses by a huge 74%. Combining the excitement of a wide-open space, the unpredictable waves, and an unfamiliar landscape, the beach offers a multitude of stimuli for canines. 

Nick commented: “The beach is such a fantastic place to walk your dog. They can run in the open space of the beach and enjoy the different texture of the sand or the sea which gets some dogs so excited. The beach brings with it a whole new array of smells, which dogs love to spend time exploring. I've never met a dog that didn't love the beach!”  

2.Paddling in the sea – increased heart rate by 62% 

Having a splash in the sea was a close second when it came to getting the pooches excited. Getting wet and padding in the water increased heart rates by 62% suggesting once again a completely new experience will arouse a dog’s interest.  

3.A country walk – increased heart rate by 58% 

Getting out in the fresh air also proved to be a favourite. While it’s well known that going for a walk is always a popular activity for pups, a new walk in the countryside raised heart rates more than a regular walk at home (45%), suggesting that being out in nature is beneficial to our furry friends. 

4.Playing fetch in a field – increased heart rate by 57% 

Playing fetch with the dogs served to raise their heart rates by 57% on average. Exercise is essential to a dog’s well-being and playing fetch, or any similar running game, is an ideal way for a pooch to blow off some steam and have fun. 

5.Arriving at a holiday home – increased heart rate by 39% 

The anticipation of arriving at a new destination had a huge effect on the dogs, as exiting the car and entering the holiday home saw an average increase of 39%. A chance for a pooch to explore a new location and get to grips with their new space is very exciting for them. 

6.Relaxing by the fire – increased heart rate by 11% 

A much more relaxing activity, sitting by the fire increased the resting heart rate by 11%. While a very calming activity, being cosy by the fire with their owner creates a sense of pleasure and contentment in dogs. 

Lisa Williams, director of marketing and holiday sales at Park Leisure, said: “The results show how different holiday activities excite our pooches, whether at the beach or enjoying our stunning countryside. We have a range of locations to suit any pooches preferences from the stunning coastline of Cornwall to the beautiful countryside of North Yorkshire and North Wales.  

“All our locations are pet-friendly, and we’re introducing measures in all of our parks to go the extra mile to accommodate them. This includes facilities such as dog bowls, washing and poo bag stations, doggy treats at reception, and handy resources to give visitors important information about the local area, such as emergency vets, good walking spots and dog-friendly pubs and cafes. 

“These are already a key feature at our Pentire, Amble Links, Chantry and Yorkshire Dales parks, and will become standard in all locations by the end of summer. 

“Pets aren’t so different from us really, and most of the benefits we get from taking a staycation are just as helpful for our pups, whether the fresh country air or fresh sea breeze, the chance to switch off and relax, or just the change of scenery.”

To watch the video diaries of the dogs who took part, visit: https://www.parkleisure.co.uk/news/study-reveals-dogs-love-holidays-just-as-much-as-we-do  

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