There’s a saying, “a tired dog is a good dog,” but to many, that implies when they are tired from physical activity.
But what about their mental wellbeing?
Most pet parents have never considered this aspect of their dog’s life, and for many dogs, when their brains aren’t exercised too, they become bored, and this is when they often get themselves into trouble.
The Packin Method is a series of activities on which Founder and CEO Nicole Packin built her business around.
With over 20 years under her belt working with dogs, Nicole has learned that providing both physical and mental enrichment allows dogs to learn how to lower their stress levels, ward off boredom, curb unwanted behaviors and keep them happy and healthy.
Combining four different customizable services aids in the balance and enrichment of dogs’ lives and eliminates common negative behaviors brought on by pent-up energy and boredom.
To better understand the Packin Method and explain the four services and their importance, you first need to know why mental enrichment and physical exercise work hand in hand.
What is the Packin Method?
The Importance of Mental Stimulation for Dogs
Dogs are intelligent and are always thinking. Their brains go a mile a minute thinking of the next thing to do, play with, get into, smell, eat, look at – you get the picture. Therefore, incorporating metal enrichment into a dog’s life will enhance its overall wellbeing, help them engage in natural behaviors, build its confidence, and often give them a feeling of accomplishment.
There are many ways to “work out” your dog’s brain, including
- Provide them with plenty of toys, including interactive toys and puzzle games.
- Change up the path for their dog walks regularly.
- Allow for safe social contact with other dogs, people, and animals.
- Expose them to as many outdoor elements as possible such as different sounds, smells, and sites.
- Get them involved in agility, nose work, barn hunts, or other canine sports.
- Give them a job such as fetching the paper, opening a cabinet, or carrying a grocery bag.
- Offer them different exercise options such as treadmill workouts, hiking, and swimming.
The Importance of Physical Activity for Dogs
No matter the breed, dogs were bred to fulfill specific duties. Though most do not perform their ancestors’ jobs, they still require daily physical activity to keep them active and healthy.
Physical activity provides many benefits to dogs, including
- Improves their cardiovascular system
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps keep muscles and bones strong
- Decreases stress and anxiety
- Eliminates boredom
- Reduces behavioral problems
- Maintains weight or helps with weight loss
- Keeps them limber and lubricated, improving circulation to their joints
- Allows for regular elimination
- Supports active and productive digestion
- Aids with sleep and relaxation
How Does the Packin Method Provide Mental and Physical Benefits to Dogs?
We provide a series of four services, including Treadmill Workouts, Canine Massage Therapy, Canine Fitness & Bodywork, and Dog Walks that, when combined, offer a variety of activities that will utilize a dog’s brain and body. As a result, when a dog is mentally and physically tired, they are balanced, and a balanced dog has proven to be happier.
Treadmill workouts are performed on a treadmill for dogs to improve their overall physical and mental health.
The benefits are vast, from physical fitness, mental clarity, and rehabilitation to enhance strength and stamina, prevent obesity, aid weight loss, and provide mental stimulation and behavior modification.
The non-motorized equipment allows the dog to move at its own pace. So, when the dog increases their speed or slows down, the treadmill will speed up or slow down with them.
Used most commonly for physical benefits, treadmills also offer mental benefits, which most pet parents don’t realize.
A dog has a learning curve when placed on a treadmill. What is the device they were placed on, how does their body move, and why are they on it? However, once a dog connects the dots, it will often set its own pace and enjoy the freedom to run.
Working through this process helps a dog build their confidence and gain a feeling of achievement. Dogs will continue to grow with each workout, boosting positive behavior and coping skills.
Canine Massage Therapy
Canine Massage is a holistic, hands-on therapy that manipulates the body’s soft tissue structures to prevent and alleviate pain, discomfort, muscle spasms, and stress.
This branch of massage therapy, like a massage for people, promotes canine health. It is an alternative therapy form that may include relaxation, increased oxygenation, relief from pain, improved joint flexibility, and various benefits to the immune system.
Canine Massage is a complementary therapy to other exercise and physical therapy forms. The effects of massage are not just on the muscular system but all body systems.
Although massage offers many physical benefits, mental benefits are just as important.
Massage is a different type of touch and handling than most dogs are accustomed to. Dogs often need to learn how to get out of their head and stop thinking about “what is going on,” especially when asked to sit still for an extended period while being worked on.
The use of massage in dogs who suffer from fear, especially with new people, places, and experiences, has proven to help calm their nerves and promote relaxation and trust.
The Packin Method defines Bodywork as strength, stability, and balance training – canine fitness and conditioning using fitness equipment and the dog’s body weight.
The goal is to build muscle tone, decrease the likelihood of injury, and build core strength and balance by using canine fitness equipment and a dog’s body weight.
Not just for canine athletes, Bodywork is a great way to keep all dogs, no matter what age, breed, or size, feeling strong, healthy, and active.
Mental benefits include using their brain the entire session when learning different commands to accomplish exercises. In addition, overcoming fears and trust issues of new people and with each session, a dog learns to trust themselves better when trying new ways of working their body and accomplishing new skills that were once challenging.
Dog walks are one of the easiest ways to keep your dog active and promote cardiovascular health.
Exploring new paths, seeing other people and pets, sniffing new smells, and hearing different sounds all while taking in the great outdoors promotes physical benefits from moving and mental stimulation for your dog that they can not get from being let out in their backyard or using a wee wee pad in the home.
For those pet parents looking to add physical and mental enrichment to their dogs’ lives, we’ve got you covered. Our services are customizable, and we will work with you to create the best care plan that meets your dogs’ needs.
Whether your dog is young or old, big or small, a working dog, a family pet, takes part in dog sports, recovering from an injury, or at the end of its life, we can help you provide both physical and mental enrichment to keep them happy balanced, and comfortable.