You might think you have a hyperactive or high-energy dog because they’re constantly jumping up and down or spinning in circles. This inability to keep still can be particularly inconvenient when you’re giving them a bath or trying to attach their leash to one of their customizable martingale collars.
Their hyperactivity can also be tiresome when they don’t calm down even after you’ve taken them for their daily walk. If you’re wondering why your dog is often unruly and excitable, it might be because your dog isn’t getting enough exercise and stimulation. Read on to find out how to better manage your dog’s high energy.
Change Your Dog’s Exercise Routine
In most cases, hyperactivity in dogs is just them trying to burn off excess energy. Walking your dog on a leash just so they can relieve themselves may not be enough exercise, especially for herding breeds like Border Collies, German Shepherds or Welsh Corgis. As their breeds are accustomed to doing work, these dogs need to be able to run around and play to properly expend the energy they have.
In addition to taking them on longer walks, you can let your dog run freely in your yard and simulate hunting exercises by hiding treats or toys. Letting them run off-leash in a dog park is another way to let them burn their energy. Dog parks also have other dogs they can play with, which helps develop their socialization skills and makes them more engaged. To help you keep track of your dog in the park, you can buy customizable harnesses or bandanas in a distinctive color so you can easily distinguish them from other dogs.
Aside from running off-leash and simulating hunting activities, you can also play a rigorous game of tug of war and send them to fetch toys over longer distances.
Increase Activities that Stimulate Your Dog’s Brain
Another good way to tire out your dog is to exercise their brains. Physical exercise may not always be possible and sometimes even rigorous physical activity may not be enough for your dog. So increasing brain games and training can give them an outlet for their energy.
If your dog doesn’t know many tricks or commands, you can consider teaching them new ones to challenge them. You can also stimulate your dog’s brain with puzzle games. Nowadays, you can buy specially-designed dog toys that dispense treats to reward your dog for accomplishing the puzzle.
A simple game idea is laying out three cups in front of your dog and hiding a treat under one cup. Shuffle the cups then encourage your dog to find the treat.
Train Your Dog to Be Well-Mannered
When your dog jumps on you when you tell them it’s time to walk or barks at you to gain your attention, you might think that these are symptoms of hyperactivity. But in reality, these behaviors can be corrected with proper training.
To stop your dog from jumping on you every time you go for a walk, have your dog sit and stay before attaching their leash. You can also ask your dog to sit before giving them food. Wait for them to comply with the desired behavior before going on your walk or allowing them to eat so that your dog associates good behavior with a reward. Doing this will lessen hyperactive behavior from your dog even when they feel excited. You also shouldn't touch, look and talk to your dog when they’re barking or nipping at you to get you to notice them. This teaches them that bad behavior will not get them the attention they want.
The most important thing to remember is to stay consistent with the training. Over time, your dog will learn that displaying high-energy behavior isn't acceptable and act in a calmer manner.
Promote Calm Behavior Through Positive Reinforcement
A calm dog is a happy dog. When your dog's body is relaxed instead of tense, this is a sign of happiness, so you want to reinforce this state. To help you do so, show affection towards your dog when they're resting. Simply pat their heads and whisper praises to tell them they’re doing a good job. You can also reinforce a calm state in your dog by feeding them treats.
By giving them attention while they’re resting, you are encouraging your dog to repeat this behavior.
Keep a Quiet Energy Yourself
Your dog will mimic your energy, so if you’re aggressive or excited, your dog will try to match that. This can be counterproductive when you’re trying to get your dog to calm down. If you feel aggravated by your dog’s behavior, take a moment to calm your own emotions before trying to engage your dog. When your dog sees that you are relaxed, this will encourage your dog to settle down as well.
Hyperactivity in a dog is usually a sign that they’re not getting enough exercise. By playing with your dog and training them, you help them burn off excess energy and can encourage a relaxed state. If your dog is still displaying high energy despite following all these tips and you are concerned that they need professional help, consult with a veterinarian.
For more news about pets and the pet industry, visit the PrideBites blog regularly.