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Library > Health and Well Being > The Simple Way to Satisfy Your High-Energy Dog

The Simple Way to Satisfy Your High-Energy Dog

3/28/2013


Gemini loves to run.  And run.  And run.

She loves to jump, too. Sixty pounds of Greyhound/German Shepherd mix, she leaves a wake of broken lamps and vases behind her as she bounds around the house.

She also loves guests. She loves to greet them. She loves to draw them into games and races. She loves to join them on the couch and stand on their laps.

Visitors depart with bandages from her rambunctious play.

Her person takes her for long walks, and he has taken her to obedience school more times than he can count. But she simply has more energy than he does. And on the cold or rainy days when their walks are short, something in his house will be eaten.

Gemini has more energy than her owner knows how to handle.

Sound familiar?


When you have a dog that has this much energy, you can run out of creative ideas pretty fast. A person can only play so much frisbee, and fitting a long drive to the dog park into a busy schedule is impossible some days.

A dog like Gemini can’t get enough exercise on a tie-out or even in what kennels creatively call a “run.”

A dog like Gemini was born to run.

Make her think

Is running enough?  Probably not.

Many high energy dogs are also very intelligent; they need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Without the opportunity to concentrate while she’s working out, exercise simply makes your dog strong. And as Gemini’s owner knows, a strong, bored dog is a recipe for disaster!

Make her think while she moves. Concentration takes tremendous energy for a dog. Giving her tasks to focus on will help her burn far more energy than a long, boring run.

Inside

Teach and play games like Hide and Seek, training her to find specific toys (or family members) somewhere in the house. Start out with keeping her in her crate while you hide several high-stimulus toys (each bundled with a treat) throughout the house, and then moving from room to room with her to find them. Side note: while she’s learning, be sure to count and retrieve all the toys you hid!

Also, activities that require focus and impulse control are good for using up mental energy, tiring your dog out much quicker. Teach her patience tricks like holding a treat on her nose. Teach her complex strings of tricks requiring concentration to get right.

In your neighborhood

Daily walks help cement your relationship with your dog. Not only do they let you do something together and help burn energy, but they let her explore her neighborhood, smelling new smells and discovering the “neighborhood news.” They’re even better if you live in a hilly area or have rugged hiking trails close by.

Back in your yard, consider agility training. Weave poles and other agility exercises require focus and energy to complete. Once your dog is trained, you can let her out and send her through the weave poles in the backyard while you watch with a cup of hot coffee!

Away from home

Dogs are more stimulated by variety in their environments, and they love to play with their friends almost as much as kids do. Make play dates for your dog, either taking her along when you visit friends with dogs, or arranging to meet them at the local dog park. And if you have a pond or dog pool available, take advantage of it! Swimming is a high-energy, low-impact exercise that will wear even the most energetic dog out.

Throughout the day

Make sure you offer your dog several chances to blow off steam throughout the day. She can’t just take a long run in the morning and then lie around the rest of the day watching football on TV. She bounces back faster than we do.

If you have a two-story house, play fetch up and down the stairs as you’re changing loads of laundry. Play it again when the kids come home. If two people are available, it’s even easier on human players — put one at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom and call her back and forth between you.

Let her run

The most important thing is that she has total freedom to run safely in her own yard.

A traditional fence is an option for some, but many neighborhoods and home owners’ associations place dramatic restrictions on physical fences, and the cost of installation and ongoing maintenance can really add up.

Furthermore, high-energy dogs like Gemini can jump, climb, or tunnel under a traditional fence. An Invisible Fence® Brand containment system can give your dog the space to run off all that energy in her own safe, secure yard.

 

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