Ask a Trainer: Managing high energy dogs

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Here’s another question from our Ask a Dog Trainer section.

My dog has a LOT of energy. What do you suggest to clients to work out this energy productively (and not on our shoes and furniture?)“?

  • Collie dog runningIf your dog is dog-friendly, taking him to play with other dogs is a great way to burn off the extra energy. For dogs who are not dog park or daycare candidates, mental stimulation is another way to deal with the overflow of enthusiasm. Teaching your dog basic commands like sit, down, leave it, and drop it can give you some things to run through with him every evening for ten or fifteen minutes. For dogs who already know the basics and are a little bored with them (or for owners who are bored with the basics), you can always teach tricks or take a nose work class. Nose work is one of my favorite activities for wearing out the adolescents!” (Renee Payne, CPDT-KA, Walk This Way Canine Behavior Therapy, 718-260-8030, www.doggiecouch.com)
  • “I would set up an exercise and training schedule for their dog. First, make sure that the pup is getting sufficient exercise for their breed/age. Play dates with neighborhood dogs of matching energy levels and/or one-two days at daycare each week. Feed high energy dogs in work to eat toys such as Kong Wobblers, Busy Buddy or Nina Ottosson toys. Provide a number of appropriate chew toys, rotated often (hooves, antlers, bully sticks, stuffed and frozen Kongs).” (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.comlaurensleash@gmail.com, 917-261-1128)
  • make sure dog has enough exercise , play fetch with the dog before leaving the house, provide chew toys” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
  • I always say there are three kinds of energy that need expending: physical of course, that can be drained somewhat on long walks but even more-so offleash a the dog park/run, but also mental energy and “social” energy. Mental energy can be drained with daily obedience work: sit, lie down, go to your bed, come, fetch. Social energy needs to be drained with daily offleash playing around other dogs at the park/dogrun. The fact that you did these with your dog last week isn’t enough – I like to say that when your dog wakes up from a nap, it’s a new day for him! So last week is a lifetime ago; take walks, do obedience work, and hit the dog park every day, multiple times a day if possible.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
  • If someone has a high energy dog, we find that they can calm the dog down much faster if by utilizing their dog’s brain as opposed to just walking or exercising them. We do this with ‘obedience training’.  We also recommend to owners that they should look to reduce the amount of ‘high energy food’, so lower carb levels in the diet.  Remember, “energy in, equals energy out”. (Robert Machi and Sylvia Wilson, www.barkbusters.com,  877-500-BARK (2275))
  • Aside from the standard activities, fetch, running at the dog park or organized activities like agility and flyball, nothing tires out a hyper dog like making them THINK. Obedience training is tiring!  If your dog can run circles around everyone at the dog run and come home wanting more, he likely needs an intellectual outlet for his energies as well. And your furniture and shoes will remain intact.” (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith,  Superpaws Dog Training,  mary@superpawsk9.com,  www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
  • All dogs, especially high energy ones should get plenty of walks, this is different than leaving them in an enclosed backyard, walks stimulate the body and often exhaust the mind.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)

(NOTE: We do not endorse any particular trainer or their training ideas – this is here to give you perspectives from different trainers for training issues. Please do your research before hiring a trainer and avoid any that use methods that seem abusive. Here are some additional resources to read on why and how to train: ASPCA Guide to Training, APDT How to Select a Trainer, LiveScience on Training)

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