Living With A High Energy Dog

Some breeds are bred to be high energy such as German Shepherds or Jack Russell terriers.  Before you go out and get a dog make sure you do some research on the breed you are choosing to see that your energy level meets theirs.  A little research will prevent a mismatch like high energy dogs ending up with owners that are very laid back and mellow.

If you are in a situation where your dog is very high energy and you live in NY it can be tough because in NY we do not have a ton of property to let our dogs roam free on so they may not be able to burn it off as needed.  We don’t typically go hunting, camping or hiking with our dogs, they are mostly house pets.  So, what do we do to give them what they need??

1) High energy dogs require brisk walks.  That means no sniffing, stopping, or looking around.  You are in charge of the walk and it is up to you to see that your dog keeps on moving at a nice brisk pace.  If you walk your dog for 20 minutes but only make it down the block than it really hasn’t done much to rid your dog of some of his energy.  I recommend a brisk heel walk twice a day 30 minutes minimum.

2)  Besides giving your dog physical exercise, a high energy dog needs mental exercise.  This is so important!!  Many owners do not challenge their dogs mentally, so they are bored.  You need to work with your dog every day on obedience commands like its a job.  A high energy dog will LOVE this.  They need something to do and think about.  Teach your dog to use his energy in a focused more useful way.  Teach down, sit, come, heel, drop, take, anything that you find fun to do with your dog.  Even play time can be made into a challenging game for your dog.  Put commands mixed in with play time and it will tire him out big time.

3)  Teach impulse control.  Make your dog wait for things like food, throwing a ball, entering or exiting the house.  Let your dog figure out how to get what he wants.  If every time you play fetch you make him sit then wait and then you throw the ball, he has to control his impulse to jump at the ball right away and run up to you at bullet speed.  Teach impulse control any time you have something your dog wants.  Make him figure out what he has to do to get it.

A combination of these three tools will go a long way in strengthening the relationship between you and your high energy dog.  You will have a tired dog and as they always say “a tired dog is a good dog”.