Have a happy dog who is full of boundless energy?
Have a high energy dog? Here are some tips to help burn up some of their energy, making for a happy dog and happy dog owner.
A good starting point is to focus on what behaviours you want your dog to display and what you don’t.
Reward every single act of good behaviour, immediately using praise, petting or treats.
It’s nice when a dog is sitting quietly, and you may be enjoying a moment’s peace so you don't want to disturb that relaxed behaviour, but rewarding the dog quietly will encourage that wanted behaviour.
Whenever the dog carries out an unwanted behaviour ignore it, or better still - interrupt it by asking him to carry out a behaviour he does well (e.g. sit, play).
This kind of reward system will make the dog happy and more focused on you. It will also give them something to work for.
Exercise, exercise, exercise!
We all know how good exercise is for us. Dogs also need plenty of exercise in order to stay happy and healthy. Both physical and mental exercise will help to tire a dog out. A physically active dog, whose brain and emotions are being used in activities, is far less likely to bother with unwanted behaviours.
Walks not only benefit a dog physically, they provide a different environment that challenges and stimulates the senses. Exercise increases serotonin levels, which increases feelings of calm and lowers stress both in people and in dogs. If you're boarding an energetic dog take him for more/longer walks.
Things to do on a walk
As well as getting some good exercise you can also carry out some fun activities on each walk. This helps the dog to burn energy, stimulates their mind and makes it more fun for you.
Got a dog that leaps out of the boot?
Set a structure to your walk. Dogs like routine and will understand boundaries. You need to show the dog which behaviours are acceptable and not acceptable. Be consistent on every walk. For example, get them into the habit of sitting nicely before you let them off the lead or before they leap out of the car boot. Make sure you enforce this on every walk (even if you’re in a rush).
Go exploring with the dog
Try different local walking routes and go exploring with the dog. Look up Woodland Trust and National Trust land, which has a variety of signposted trails to follow. Or look on the local council's website which will list open land with public footpaths.
Cycling or running
If you enjoy cycling or running you could take the dog with you. This is great for agile, fit adult dogs like collies and spaniels. Check with your vet first and don't do cardio style exercise with your dog in hot weather.
Don’t fight the instinct – work with the breed!
Different dog breeds have specific instincts. Some dogs, often Retriever types, love to carry something in their mouth while out walking. Others, such as Terriers, like to play ‘killing prey’ by shaking soft toys vigorously; herding dogs like Collies while German Shepherds like to ‘stalk’ and chase anything that moves! You can use this instinctive behaviour to your advantage.
Got a dog who likes to pick things up?
For example, Labradors and Spaniels. Try some games like dropping a glove or toy behind you while you are walking and encourage him to find it and bring it back to exchange it for a food treat.
Have a dog that loves water?
Ponds or streams provide an opportunity for dogs to splash about, swim or paddle. Most dogs enjoy water as long as their feet can touch the ground. Let them paddle and do what they enjoy but be aware of the danger of water and don’t let dogs swim in canals or any water with steep banks.
Playful bouncy dog?
For example, Boxers, Staffies and Dalmatians. Play hide and seek with the dog by hiding behind trees and watch your dog use his nose to find you. Call him back if you think you’re going to lose sight of him. When he finds you, give him a treat.
Dog who loves to chase?
For example, German Shepherds and Collies. Use this instinctive behaviour constructively by throwing balls on a rope or Kongs. Kongs are great as they have an extra bounce when thrown. Balls on a rope are perfect for larger dogs, as they are less of a choking hazard.
Dog who likes to sniff?
For example, Spaniels and Beagles. Provide a treat trail or hide their toy behind a bush or tree. As the dogs gets more familiar with the game, make the hiding places more difficult.
Just as we need to cool down after exercise, so do dogs, especially high drive/high energy dogs. Wind them down slowly by giving them a quiet activity such as a chew or puzzle toy, or a massage.
Dogs love nothing more than playtime and socialising with a canine friend. We Love Pet's dog walking service ensures playtime and socialisation.
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