Many dogs are turned in to animal shelters because of behaviour problems caused by hyperactivity. Shelters are full of dogs who have barked, dug up the garden, chewed everything in sight and generally made a nuisance of themselves, all because they were too full of energy without a proper way to release it.
The following are tips to help calm your hyper dog:
If you want a well-behaved dog, you need to exercise him/her. A long walk in the morning, 30-60 minutes and then a shorter walk in the evening after work is ideal. You don’t need to make it too fast-paced – you can let your dog stop and smell the roses. In addition to stretching their legs, all the fascinating smells will stretch their brain too. This will help him/her from going stir crazy at home. During the day, play a vigorous game of fetch, tug of war or frisbee to really wear your dog out. If no one is home during the day to play with him/her, consider hiring a professional dog walker or even sending your dog to a doggy daycare facility so that your dog has the company of other dogs and humans during the day and doesn’t become destructive at home through boredom and loneliness.
- Build a Routine
Hyperactivity is often a result of insecurity on the dog’s part. This is especially true of adopted dogs who may have moved around a lot in their past and have had little if any structure in their lives. Or perhaps a dog who lives in a loving home where structure and routine has never been enforced. Dogs thrive on routine. Developing a daily routine gives your dog an idea of what to expect life to be like and can calm his or her nerves. A routine might go something like this:
- Early morning: walk, breakfast, a game of fetch, then inside for a few hours while everyone goes to work or school.
- Afternoon: Someone, either the owner or a professional dog walker, comes to let your dog out and play a quick game with him/her or take them on a long walk with other dogs.
- Evening: Family returns, everyone eats dinner, dog eats dinner, then a quick walk or game.
You don’t need to write a detailed schedule for how every day will go, but having some consistency in your daily life can have a powerful, positive effect for your dog.
- Smart Toys
Put your dog’s brain power to good use and get a few toys that require your dog to think. Toys like Kongs and Buster Cubes allow you to load them up with your dog’s kibble or favourite treats, keeping him/her occupied for a while while they manipulate the toy to make it dispense their food. Fill your Kong with interesting, healthy food your dog doesn’t normally have. If you are out for long periods of time – you can certainly feed your dog his/her entire meal this way everyday.
- Obedience or Trick Training
Obedience training builds a common language between you and your dog. It’s another way to calm his/her nerves, as it teaches them how the world expects them to behave. Learning new skills is also a great way to exercise his/her brain, offering them stimulation and you better control!
- Learn a new Sport or Game
Getting involved in a dog sport like agility, flyball, freestyle or disc dog is a great way to build the bond between you and your dog. It provides physical and mental exercise all at once. You can even set up home built agility obstacle courses in the backyard, play Frisbee just for fun, or teach your dog to play games like hide and go seek (especially fun to play with kids).
The trick is in the balancing act
It is possible of course to have a dog who knows all kinds of tricks and obedience commands but is still bouncing off the walls because they never go for a walk or get any real exercise. On the other hand, your dog can go for an hour-long run every morning but still be bored because he/she never gets any other mental stimulation.
To achieve the best results, the above five solutions should be put together in a combination with what works best for you and your dog. Some dogs need less walk-time but could spend all day learning new tricks. Others would prefer to play with smart toys for hours. You know your dog best, work out a balance that you and your dog are comfortable with.
To follow up or make an appointment or find out more information about Ringwood Dogs, Ashley Heath on the Dorset and Hampshire border, please contact Isabelle Adams-Papé by clicking on the Contact Me tab.
I look forward to meeting you and working with your dogs.
Happy dog training.