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Is My Dog Resting or Sleeping?

During my private sessions, I often go over the difference between dogs who rest vs those who sleep.

The main reason I bring this up when training, it's because, through proper mental, physical, and socialization enrichment, your dog will then want to rest as a result. However, when it comes to sleeping, that's something that will often stem from boredom, or a dog not knowing what to do instead.

Taking a more in-depth look at the comparison in reacting time and intensity, a dog is much more likely to take longer to react to a trigger happening while he/she is resting vs sleeping.

This is an important comparison because the difference in duration can make the difference between being able to intervene and prevent an unwanted behaviour.

Let's take a look at one scenario with two instances:

1. When your dog reacts at the door by running and barking, the first element I would consider looking at closely is the dog's daily enrichment routine. A common denominator and what pet parents indicate is that their dog is always sleeping, throughout the day, and right before the doorbell goes off.

But what makes managing this reactive behaviour the most challenging is that if a dog isn't actually resting, then their reaction to the door will always be faster than yours, leaving you to forever remain in a reactive position, which in a way reinforces the unwanted behaviour.

2. If you provide regular mental, physical, and socialization enrichment to your dog, when he reacts to the door or any other trigger, your dog's brain will need more time to go from resting, to waking up, acknowledging that something in their environment has changed, to getting up and starting to walk and/or bark.

Though this can still all happen within the span of a few seconds, there's still a much higher tolerance and a slower response, compared to a dog that's sleeping, or more so purely waiting for something to happen, to react to.

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