Help — My Dog Has Too Much Energy!

Exercise is often the key to keeping an energetic dog happy and healthy.

Working dogs are often bred to have boundless energy. By: 825545

There are several breeds that people love to keep as pets because their cuteness factor is so high, like Australian Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, huskies, Dalmatians, poodles, German Shepherds, Irish Setters and others.

These breeds tend to have shiny coats, winning personalities and the ability make any heart melt. They also share one more trait: energy level.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the above breeds are some of the highest-energy breeds out there, and that trait isn’t limited to just those breeds. Several others share the same need for stimulation, and with mutts, all bets are off because in many cases you have no idea what types of breeds formed their makeup.

Consequences

Bored dogs are mischievous dogs. They will look for both mental and physical stimulation anywhere they can find it. Dogs don’t maliciously cause wanton destruction, so if you have a dog who routinely destroys pieces of your house, boredom might just be the cause.

Another way boredom manifests is through their behavior with you and other people. “Energetic dogs who don’t get enough exercise are easy to spot,” say Gerilyn J. and Paul S. Bielakiewicz in The Only Dog Tricks Book You’ll Ever Need: Impress Friends, Family — and Other Dogs. “They demonstrate their excess energy through barking, jumping and other unwanted behavior.”

Every dog needs mental and physical stimulation; how much depends on their personality and breed. Before bringing home your adorable new pet, be sure you understand their energy needs and have a plan in place to meet them.

Exercise

Exercise is simultaneously the best answer and yet the most underused solution to problems with bored (and therefore behaviorally challenged) dogs. Before deciding on what kind of dog you want to add to the family, take time to do some research.

“Dog breeds are grouped together by what they were originally bred to do,” says Jackie Phillips in Renting With Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing. “If your dog’s breed was originally created for tracking, herding, or transportation of people or goods, then your dog will need a daily amount of vigorous exercise like running, biking and retrieving tennis balls, or a daily romp to the local dog park.”

For example, say you just have to have a Belgian Malinois. (They are pretty cute!) You bring home your new Mali and, within a week, they’ve destroyed their crate, eaten a wall and managed to somehow tear up the new living room carpet. You’re at your wits’ end, but this problem has a simple solution — training and exercise. The Mali needs a ton of exercise to be happy, and they’re smart enough to entertain themselves if you don’t provide it.

Talk to your dog’s veterinarian and find out how to set a good exercise regime for your pet — and be prepared to adjust it through their life cycle as their needs change.

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Melissa Smith

View posts by Melissa Smith
Melissa Smith, discussions manager for Petful, has been researching and writing about pet behaviors for several years. A longtime pet lover, she lives in Massachusetts with her teenage son, their cat Harrison and the spirit of their German shepherd named Gypsy. Melissa is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in multimedia design and hopes to adopt as many needy animals as she can.

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