“I take my dog on walks every day, but he is still so hyper! What else can I do to calm him down?”
This is a great question, and one many pet owners struggle with. We all know that some dog breeds prefer lounging on the couch all day while others never seem to quit.
If you’ve got one of those spunky pups, you may have run into this dilemma. To start, let’s figure out why certain breeds seem have more energy than others.
Some common, high-energy breeds include Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, and Huskies – to name a few. It is important to remember what breeds like these were meant to do – work.
The Border Collie, for example, was bred to help shepherds herd and look after their flocks of sheep. This breed was meant to have high endurance for running around all day with his master, as well as sharp thinking skills to decipher various commands.
It’s no wonder why a Border Collie in an average home setting would seem much more hyper than a working Border Collie. He is looking for something to do!
For breeds like the Border Collie, a couple 30 minute walks a day, or going for a jog is a good start, but they will require more to feel fully satisfied. Often, high-energy breeds require a form of mental stimulation to go along with their physical exercise. These dogs were bred to have a job – so let’s give them one.
One way to incorporate mental stimulation is to get your hyper pup into a local class. Weekly training sessions (whether it’s in obedience, agility work, dock diving, etc.) gives your dog something new to think about and exercises their problem-solving skills.
It also changes their environment up a little bit and allows them to experience new smells, people, and dogs (if involved in a group course). Tricks and commands you learn in weekly classes can then be brought into your dog’s home environment as you work to master them together.
If this isn’t feasible for you, there are many things you can do at home as well to enrich your pet’s life. There are a lot of different veterinary approved dog toys out on the market that is designed specifically to stimulate your pet’s thinking skills. Your dog’s favorite treats or even their kibble can be stuffed into these toys easily, but require your dog to use his noggin to get them out. Some pet owners feed their dog’s entire meal through this route for hours of fun.
There are even dog puzzle toys out on the market for those doggy super-sleuths. The puzzle toys come in different levels of activity, and many dogs thoroughly enjoy these games.
Finally, if your energetic dog is social, well vaccinated and behaves well with other dogs, take him or her to your local dog park. Running around and playing with other dogs can be great physical and mental exercise that you both enjoy. Your dog will appreciate the chance to socialize with his own kind and burn energy.
Now you may be wondering – what about my frisky indoor feline? Similar techniques can be used to enrich your cat’s life as well.
Fun toys aren’t just for dogs—there are veterinary-approved feline enrichment toys on the market, as well, that can be stuffed with treats or kibble to make mealtime a blast. Simply placing your cat’s food and water bowls in different locations throughout the house can also stimulate your cat’s natural hunting behaviors.
For example, place the food dish on top of a cat tree and a water dish in the kitchen. Also, litter boxes should be placed in a separate area, as well. This will encourage your cat to roam around your home more (and who wants to eat next to the toilet!)
A combination of physical and mental exercise should help your high-energy dog (or cat) when incorporated into daily life. Introducing new and fun challenges to your pet can be a great experience for both pet and owner. Classes, mentally stimulating toys and activities, physical exercise and socialization can help balance out your pet’s life, and hopefully, release that pent up energy. Enjoy that energetic bundle of fur.