Dogs are highly intuitive animals that are able to understand their owner’s emotions based on body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and other social cues. If you find yourself particularly depressed, anxious or stressed on Blue Monday as you return to work, the chances are that your dog will begin feeling lonely and stressed as well.
Instead of returning to the duvet after a day at work, make yourself and your dog feel better on Blue Monday with these simple but effective dog-friendly activities.
Take Your Dog For a Walk: Sometimes The Simplest Idea Is The Most Effective
Exercise fills both you and your dog with endorphins that provide an influx of positive hormones. A dog walk will not only take your mind off your worries and provide some much-needed fresh air but will improve your relationship with your furry friend as they love to stay active and be close to their owner.
Treat Your Dog To a Homemade Snack: It Is Better To Give Than Receive
Baking homemade dog treats are a great, creative way to show how much you love and care for your furry companion. Making a tray of dog-friendly snacks can be cathartic, keeping your mind busy as well as your hands, and can be incredibly satisfying to see your dog enjoying a homemade, healthy biscuit. Your dog will be happy and this in turn will release dopamine in your brain and make you happy.
Teach Your Dog a New Trick: An Adorable Crowd-Pleaser
Studies have shown that interacting with your dog helps to release oxytocin, the ‘feel-good’ hormone, which helps both the animal and the owner feel happier. One of the most effective methods of releasing oxytocin is by spending time with your dog to teach them new tricks, which will bond you closer to your pet, improve communication, and provide fun tricks to entertain the whole family. This can range from teaching your dog to shake hands to training them to bow.
Dog Yoga: A Modern Take On An Ancient Practice
Yoga aims to relax and centre oneself, and including your dog in the exercise brings special benefits. Dog yoga includes familiar poses that have a positive effect on both the dog and owner, including – of course – the “downward dog” asana. These positions should be held for 30 minutes or less, to accommodate your dog’s shorter attention span. Practising dog yoga will reduce anxiety, create stronger bonds, and provide better physical health for you and your pet.
Doggy Playdates: An Important Social Activity
Incorporate playdates for your dog not just on Blue Monday, but any day of the week. Regular playdates are an important socialisation tool for your furry friend, as they get used to being around other dogs and people, develop good behaviour skills and incorporate more exercise into their lifestyle. Dog owners can also benefit from a playdate; it gives you a chance to see your friends in another social setting and remind you that you don’t have to be struggling through Blue Monday alone.
Dog experts, Kennel Store, have provided the following expert comment on how spending time with your dog can treat Blue Monday symptoms:
“Blue Monday does not only affect the owner but also their dog. Dogs are highly social pets, and seeing less of their much-beloved owner as they return to work can cause similar emotional effects to that of humans like loneliness and stress. To help better offset the effects of Blue Monday, dog owners could spend more of their free time bonding with their furry pets.
“Using one of these simple activities helps you create a closer bond with your dog, releasing certain chemicals like dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin that will have you feeling happier and more energised. Dogs are great companions that offer unconditional love and a solution to the occasional stress and loneliness that can creep up on us.”