Different dog breeds have different needs, and some have more energy to burn than others! If you’re thinking of adopting a high-energy breed like a Shetland Sheepdog or a Border Collie, or you’ve recently brought home a rescue who never seems to slow down, here are some tips on how to live with a high-energy dog.
Go For Lots of Walks
One of the best ways to live with a high-energy dog is by going for lots of walks. In fact, no matter what kind of dog you get, you’d better be prepared for multiple walks a day. However, with a high-energy dog, these walks will be a lot more than just a quick walk around the block for them to relieve themselves.
You might want to go for longer walks or incorporate a lot of playtime at the park for them to exert their energy. Bring balls or sticks for fetch to get your dog running! Schedule the walks at the same time each day, so your dog gets used to the routine — knowing there’s a big playtime to come can keep them calmer in between walks.
If you can, go for even longer, more intensive walks a few times a week. This can be something like taking advantage of local hiking trails or, if possible, dropping by a beach or lake for some swimming. These more intense exercises will work your dog’s muscles, keeping them in shape, while also tiring them out.
Another way to add intensity to your dog’s walks is by adding weight. You can have your dog pull a wagon or a sled, even with a small child in them, to build your dog’s strength and exert their energy quicker.
You can also try a weighted backpack on walks that safely adds extra weight to your dog, but be sure to choose a low amount (approximately 10% – 25% of your dog’s body weight) so as not to overwhelm them.
Indoor Activities Help When Learning How to Live with a High- Energy Dog
Sometimes, long outdoor excursions won’t be possible. It’s important to find a way to engage your dog at home without them running around and breaking your furniture!
If your dog is food motivated, try shopping for treat-dispensing toys. These toys will only release food or treats after certain motions, so it engages your dog’s mind, as well as its body. The dog has to work out the mechanics of the toy and also play with it, which is a win-win. It’s also a great way to distract your pet if you need a few quiet minutes alone!
If you don’t want to invest in a toy, try making a game of hiding your dog’s treats or toys in the home for them to find. Dogs are surprisingly good at hide and seek!
Train Your Dog to Do Tricks
According to Pet Life, high-energy dogs aren’t just craving exercise: they also want mental stimulation. Your dog is smart and wants to be challenged, which is where tricks come in.
Training your dog to pick up new skills really comes in handy when learning how to live with a high-energy dog. It keeps their mind engaged and focused, which will wear them out just as much as pure physical activity would.
Once you’ve mastered the basics like “sit” and “stay,” you can work your way up to more advanced tricks and find new ways to challenge your pup.
An added bonus is that this training reinforces good manners in your dog, especially when they’re young! They’ll need to focus on you and stay still at times, which will also be helpful when you go out on walks in busy areas.
Try Different Types of Toys to Find What Works
Finding different types of toys is another good tip when trying to figure out how to live with a high-energy dog. High-energy dogs want to play, but that doesn’t mean they’ll respond to every toy the same. Some dogs are food-motivated and will go crazy for treat-dispensing toys, while others just want an old-fashioned game of fetch. It’s important to try out different toys with your dog to see what gets them engaged and works for both of you!
A good toy for many high-energy dogs is a flirt wand. These toys resemble cat toys with feathers on the end of a pole, and dogs will go crazy for them the same way cats do. These toys tap into your pet’s predatory instincts and allow them to hunt and attack.
The flirt wand is a bonus for many owners as it doesn’t require much work on your part! You can stand (or even sit) and dangle the wand while your pup tries to determine its next move.
What About Small Spaces?
If you live in a small apartment or condo, you’ll have a unique set of challenges when it comes to your high-energy pup. There’s less room for your dog to get their energy out around the house by playing with their toys, and a higher likelihood they’d crash into something when running around.
Therefore, when figuring out how to live with a high-energy dog, it’s good to make sure your dog gets plenty of outdoor time when you live in a smaller space. Try to take your dog for a substantial walk every day so they can get their necessary exercise.
With puppies, you might want to consider crate-training. Start by leaving your dog in a crate for an hour or two while you are at home. This ensures the dog is safe and not destroying anything, plus it teaches them that a crate is a place where they can relax and do nothing.
Eventually, your dog might go lie down in their crate on their own when they’re ready for some alone time!
Accept Your Dog The Way It Is!
The most important tip to keep in mind when learning how to live with a high-energy dog is to accept your dog for who he or she is! Face it: if you wanted to lay around all day, you would have got a cat.
Your high-energy dog requires lots of exercise and mental stimulation. That means you’re going to have less lazy TV time in the evenings or long lie-ins on weekends. Instead, you’re going to spend your days playing, going for long walks, hiking, and throwing a ball across the living room.
Final Thoughts on How to Live With a High-Energy Dog
A high-energy dog can be a challenge, but the results are always worth it. You’ll have so many fun memories of spending time with your dog, you won’t even miss the days you used to come home from work and zone out for hours!