If you have a hyper high energy dog you will know it because you have walked then twice today and they are still keen for more. Or you have played fetch for an hour and your dog is still pestering you with the ball or stick. Or you took them for a long bike ride and your dog still runs faster than you can pedal.
Having a dog like this can be quite stressful for the owner. Don’t yell or punish your dog for being like this as it will not work. You just need to find ways to give your dog the physical and mental release and a challenge they need.
High energy dogs are often very smart and possess a deep desire to be challenged. This means that they don’t only need lots of physical exercise but need mental stimulation and enrichment to challenge their brain. Mental exercise can burn and release just as much pent-up energy as physical activity.
Quality and quantity are not the same things. Improve the quality of your dog’s exercise and you may find yourself spending less time on it, all while reaping the benefits of a much happier and better-behaved dog.
Also be aware that you can over-exercise a dog. To learn more read “overexercised dog symptoms“.
Consequences of not providing sufficient activity for your dog.
Dogs need stimulation, both physically and mentally. If left unexercised and unchallenged, they will resort to finding creative and usually destructive and/or dangerous ways of getting into trouble. It is a fact; most excessive barking, chewing, jumping, digging and running away behavioral problems are caused by boredom and pent-up energy. It’s like living with a time bomb! You never know when it will go off…or how much damage it will do.
The cost isn’t just in terms of property as the cost to your dog’s psychological health and ultimately physical health could cost you a lot more in vet costs and dog trainers to fix their behavioral problems.
The daily walk.
Providing a walk every day is crucial for the hyper high energy dog. This not only gives them some physical exercise, but the opportunity to leave the property is essential for mental enrichment also.
Whenever possible allow them the chance to run off leash as long as they have good recall. Add extra resistance to your walks by using a backpack or weighted vest (with no more than 10% of their body weight added), going uphill or stairs or walking on sand or in shallow water. You can also get a resistance parachute that attaches to the weight vest for even more resistance.
Running, biking or skating with your dog
The faster your dog is moving the more energy they will release. Try running, biking or skating with your dog to really get them moving. Just be sure to build up distance and intensity of the activity over time to prevent causing injury to your dog. Read “Running with your dog” for more on this.
If your dog loves water swimming is a strenuous activity and an excellent way to tire them quickly. Ten minutes of swimming is equivalent to an hour-long walk. If they are not a confident swimmer ensure you put a lifejacket on them and supervise them while in the water.
If you don’t access to a pool, river or the sea there are many canine hydrotherapy centers around that can provide swimming facilities for your dog.
For more on swimming exercise for dogs see here.
Find activities that burn energy fast in a short time period.
There are many games you can play with your dog that use energy including
Fetch – throw a ball or toy a dozen or so times when you have a spare minute. To increase the intensity throw down hill or stairs
Frisbee – throwing a frisbee will really get your dog moving
Flirt Pole – a flirt pole is like a big cat tickler with a stick, rope and a lure or toy attached to the end. Move the lure around in circles or in all directions along the ground and your dog will chase it. Works with the dog’s natural prey instinct so will provide plenty of mental stimulation too. For a full guide to flirt pole exercise for dogs see here.
View Flirt Poles on Amazon
Tug of War – play a game of Tug of War with your dog. Make them crouch and pull back using extra energy.
Spring Pole – a spring pole is a rope with a spring with a toy or lure on the end that is attached to a tree or beam. Encourage your dog to grab the toy and pull. They will play tug of war by themselves.
Automatic ball launcher – automatic ball launcher will throw the ball for your dog. If you have a dog that loves chasing balls one of these is an absolute must. Once they know how to drop the ball into the launcher they can quite happily ball fetch by themselves. Read “Automatic ball launchers for dogs” to learn more
Jolly Ball – a Jolly Ball is a nearly indestructible ball for dogs that they push and chase around. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and are also available with a handle or rope attached for tug of war. Check out the video to see what great exercise and fun they are for dogs.
View Jolly Balls on Amazon
With a little imagination, there are countless quick easy games like these that will go a long way to releasing that pent-up energy.
Use a dog activity monitor
A dog activity monitor allows you to measure how much exercise, activity and rest your dog is getting. It is much simpler to manage and increase if required your dog’s exercise if you know how much they are getting. For more on this read “9 Reasons to use a dog activity monitor”
Set up an agility or obstacle circuit in your backyard
You can set up obstacles such as tunnels and jumps and when you have a spare five to ten minutes to run them through the course a few times.
See dog agility equipment on Amazon
Make use of a treadmill
Walking on a treadmill is not going to be a substitute for going for a walk, but a least it will provide some release of physical energy. Once your dog is trained to walk on the treadmill you can fit in any other small tasks you have to do while they walk. Obviously, you will need to stay nearby and supervise for the safety.
Play with other dogs
Provide the opportunity to socialize and play with other dogs whenever possible. This not only helps to release physical energy, it also provides socialization and a mental release for your dog.
Consider involving your dog in one of the many dog sports available such as agility, lure coursing, dock diving and many more. It is not necessary to compete as a serious competitor to reap the benefits for your dog.
Mental enrichment and Mind stimulation
Providing for your dog’s physical health through exercise is good and very necessary, mental enrichment but channeling your dog’s mind is equally as important.
Read “Mental enrichment and Mind stimulation” for more on this and to learn about the six types of mental enrichment and mind stimulation.
Two of the best ways to provide mental enrichment is through toys including puzzle and interactive toys (see “Top Puzzle Toys for Dogs“) and thorough scenting and nose games. (See “12 Scenting and Tacking Nose Games” for more)
Using dog toys to mentally challenge your dog.
There are three main categories of dog toy: Chew toys, interactive and puzzle toys and plush toys. If you understand the three main categories of dog toy you can develop a strategy to use the various toys to develop your relationship, teach important skills and behaviors and help to make your dog calm, balanced and happy.
For more on the three types of dog toy read “Secrets to maximize the benefit of your dog’s toys”
Also, check out the best toys for hyper high energy dogs here
Chewing is a natural instinct for dogs and has many benefits including keeping them busy and occupying and stimulating their minds. To learn more about the benefits of and the best chew toys see here.
Why play scenting and tracking nose games?
Scenting and tracking nose games are an excellent way to provide that very important mental enrichment and mind stimulation that dogs truly need to be calm, well behaved and happy. When a puppy is born they are blind and deaf but their sense of smell is fully intact. The newborn puppy relies on this sense to decipher the world they have entered and it will continue to do so for their entire lives.
The nose rules the brain and the portion of the dog’s brain that is dedicated to examining scents is 40 times larger than that of humans. Scientist estimate that the dog’s brain can identify smells 1000 to 10,000 times better than humans. You can combine this extremely powerful sense of smell and a dog’s natural desire to hunt with their love of toys, food, and exercise to play many games.
You can have fun together, exercise your dog’s brain, and expend some of that pent-up energy all at the same time. Being a social animal, playing is very important in developing relationships and bonding.
For 12 scenting and tracking nose games you can use with your hyper high energy dog click here.
If you have a hyper high energy dog it is crucial to provide the physical and mental exercise they need or they will find their own ways to provide for this need which is usually in a destructive or dangerous way. The key is to be consistent and provide this release consistently on a daily basis. Hopefully, the suggestions and ideas given here will be helpful in providing relief for both you and your hyper high energy dog.