One of the more frequent comments we hear from clients is that their dogs have too much energy. Commonly, it is when their new puppy reaches 6-8 months of age (aka – Juvenile Delinquency). No matter how much time they spend playing with their dog, their pup is driving them crazy! Luckily, dogs don’t have the keys and shouldn’t be given a license to drive us anywhere…no matter what you see on YouTube. But seriously, a lot of this excess energy is a result from lack of the correct type of exercise.
Exercise for dogs comes in two major forms: physical and mental. We most frequently focus on the physical aspect because it is much more commonplace. However, if you have ever taken a final exam, you may recall just how exhausting mental work can be for us too. And let’s not forget that some breeds were specifically bred to think and work. Some were bred for hard work and increased stamina to do a job.
How frequently do you exercise your dog and how?
‘We walk two or three times a day.’ This is a great start. Walks provide basic exercise and a lot of mental work. There are so many senses that are engaged during a walk, but we will only talk about the most engaging one for dogs: SMELL. Your dog is getting all the 411 on the neighborhood. They know all the dogs in your community by scent. They can smell your neighbor’s dinner cooking, the peanut butter in the lunchbox from the kid just getting off the bus, and certainly any leftover bacon from this morning’s breakfast. Don’t forget to also grab some treats and work your dog with their basic commands during walks. It adds another highly engaging, mental activity.
‘Humans have only 5–6 million scent receptors in our noses. Depending on the breed, dogs have up to 100 million or more scent receptors in their noses.’ AKC (American Kennel Club)
‘I throw the ball in my backyard.’ This is a great physical exercise, but it can become boring. Yes, your dog can get bored with the same activity, same time of day, same ball, same length of time. So, change it up. Seek out some new toys. There are a wide variety of mentally engaging toys: puzzle feeders, treat dispensers, Kongs, puzzle mats, slow feeders, scent tracking. Make mealtime about engaging their brain too.
While we are talking about food. Feeding a high-quality food can help reduce excess energy. Flip your bag of food over and read the ingredients. Carbohydrates provide energy. Corn and cornmeal are the number one offenders. The first ingredient should be a whole protein and not a ‘by-product’ or ‘meal’. Whole grains and recognizable ingredients will help balance your dog’s diet. Yes, you will pay a little more, but you can feed less when you choose a higher quality food (and there will be A LOT less poop).
We are always here to help. Our dog daycare and dog training programs are a great fit for clients with high energy dogs. We have the perfect combination of physical and mental exercise. Our team of loving pet care professionals and expert dog trainers that would love to meet your dog. We believe in building long-lasting partnerships with families and their dogs by providing a full-service pet care facility.