By Laurie Darroch
An energetic dog needs to release some of that pent up energy in productive ways. Active dogs can turn into rascals and get into all kinds of trouble when they don’t know what to do with all that excess energy. The choices may include destroying items in your house, acting out, barking excessively or simply annoying you with bad or quirky behavior as they vie for your attention. You can help your dog burn off some of that energy and channel it into other activities. Here are 5 things to try.
Some of the bad behavior may come not only from excess energy, but from boredom as well. Dogs need both their bodies and minds challenged to get them focused on something other than irritating or destructive behavior. Playing games with your dog – whether indoors or out – will help create a distraction and fun activity for your energetic dog.
Some ideas include:
*Tug of war
*Treat dispensing toys
*Hide and seek with toys or people
*Obstacle course (a simple one can be created indoors)
*Teach your dog how to play fetch
*Blowing bubbles (outside)
Check out our article, Inside and Outside Games for Active Dogs, for more.
Being active every day not only helps your dog, but you too. Dogs enjoy going outside to explore the world around them, even if it’s just a walk in the neighborhood where they can check out the smells, sights, sounds, people and other animals that are about. Activity stimulates their mind as well as their body.
If you like to go bike riding, running or hiking, bring your dog along so you can enjoy the activity together. Playing at the beach or dog park is also a high energy burner. Whatever the physical routine, you’ll probably discover that your energetic dog really looks forward to these exercise sessions with you.
Hire a Dog Walker
If you are away all day at work when your active dog is home alone and needs to burn some energy and be entertained, consider hiring someone to take your dog for a walk or run. There are professional dog walkers available in most areas, or you can hire an adult or responsible child you trust to take the dog out for playtime. An added advantage to this is that your dog gets some extra socialization and it can help curtail destructive behavior. A dog that gets physical and mental stimulation instead of staying home alone all day is less likely to rip up your chair cushions, get into the trash or find other ways to reduce their stress, boredom, loneliness or anxiety.
If budget is an issue, consider trading dog walking time for something you can provide, such as giving parents a break from their kids, running errands, lawn care, home improvement projects, etc.
Take advantage of every opportunity to train your dog. Whether you get your dog into competitive agility training or use outings and games to work on obedience training, just be sure to make it fun and reward them with some CANIDAE treats! This makes the training session more enjoyable and productive for both of you. Training helps calm your dog down as well.
You may not always be able to get outside with your dog, especially in brutal winter weather. Use your imagination to come up with indoor activities that help them burn off physical and mental energy. Even something as simple as tossing a toy across the room and teaching your dog to fetch it gets them up and moving while focusing on a fun activity. Read 5 Fun Indoor Games to Play with Dogs for some other ideas.
An energetic dog needs variety and activity to tire them out and stimulate their minds at the same time. Once you get your dog into the routine of participating in these activities, you will see how it makes for a happier dog. You will definitely notice the difference in their behavior, particularly on days where they haven’t had the opportunity to release pent up energy. Part of responsible pet ownership is helping your dog funnel their energy in constructive ways. With your help, your canine best friend can learn to be less destructive and anxious.
Read more articles by Laurie Darroch