It doesn’t take a dog whisperer to tell you that dogs come with a range of different personality traits and that, even if you’ve owned several dogs before, your latest pooch can always find ways to surprise you in how it behaves. Usually, these quirks are nothing if not endearing, but sometimes they can be challenging. This can be the case with a dog that seems to be so high-energy that you have trouble catching up. Here, we’re going to look at how you can handle them and whether or not that over-energetic nature is just part of who they are or part of something a little more serious.
Are they puppies?
If you’ve welcomed a particularly young dog that is new to the family, then you might be shocked how, seemingly out of nowhere, they can go absolutely crazy at certain times of the day. They will run seemingly endlessly, bounce off whatever couches they can, and they can be pretty loud, too. This often happens in the mornings, as well as around sundown in the evenings. Puppy madness (also known adorably as the zoomies) is a well-documented phenomenon and the vast majority of them do simply grow out of it.
Is it part and parcel of their breed?
Though a breed can’t tell you everything you need to know about the dog you’re bringing home, it can help explain some behaviors. Some breeds are simply more energetic than others. This means they have different needs, as we will cover a little later. There are some breeds that are easily mistaken for more easy-going types, too. You might have got the more energetic American lab than the more laid-back English retriever, for instance, as you can read more now about. Typically, you want to make sure you know what you’re getting into before they’re in your home, but it can help you acclimate to their high energy levels once you simply accept it’s part of who they are.
Do they need some exercise?
Of course, accepting that your dog is high energy doesn’t mean that you do nothing about it. Rather, it means that you have a host of needs to accommodate. One of the most important of all is to make sure that they’re getting all the exercise that they need. The majority of a dog’s exercise is going to be in how much you walk it. How much you should walk your dog will depend on a range of factors, but their weight and breed will be the key determining factors. Larger dogs tend to have more energy to burn off, after all, which is something to keep in mind if you are planning on raising one.
Could they use more stimulation?
Some dogs get almost all the stimulation that they need from their daily walkies, taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of the outside world. But intelligent dogs tend to need a little more mental stimulation, as well. This can be in terms of finding toys to play with and playing with you or other family members. But you should also read here about dogs that typically do well when they have a “job” to do, whether it’s guarding the homestead or otherwise. Dogs that don’t get the mental stimulation they need can get restless, which can lead to behaviors like chewing on the furniture in the home or even being slightly more prone to aggression than they would be, otherwise.
Can a little training help?
Providing that your dog is getting all the exercise that they need and they have plenty of mental stimulation as well, then you may need to think about some training as well. Dogs that are particularly high energy might benefit from basic obedience training. Training isn’t just about smoothing out the quirks of a dog’s personality. That’s not their primary benefit. Rather, intelligent and high-energy dogs actually benefit and enjoy having a task to focus on. In fact, they may end up taking to training so well and enjoying it so much that you can look into getting them into a sport, even recreationally, such as agility course and field trials. If you get those brains of theirs to work, it can help them be calmer in daily life.
Are they hyper?
If your dog is extremely energetic, it might not just be a sign that their needs are being met. They might be experiencing hyperactivity. Some of the signs of hyperactivity, aside from high energy levels, might include being distractable, fidgeting, and moving often, and, if it gets worse, they might become aggressive and snappy more easily and have a hard time socializing with other dogs. Hyperactivity in dogs can be a long-term problem. Exercise, stimulation, and discipline can all help, but you might want to also make the home environment a little more structured, ensuring that your dog has a controlled daily routine, as well as a strict diet that is based around complete nutritional fulfillment, first and foremost.
Are they anxious?
If your dog gets overly energetic, loud, and affection/attention-seeking when you say hi to them after coming back to the home after being away for a while, it could be a sign of a slight problem. Some breeds are more prone to what is called separation anxiety, which is dogs are acutely sensitive to the absence of their owner/pack leader. As the name implies, it’s not a pleasant thing for them to go through even if they do seem super happy to see you again. There are ways to train separation anxiety out of them, but it can be difficult. One tip is to not escalate to their energy level when reuniting with them but, rather, to wait until they have calmed down some before petting and greeting them.
Unless a dog is also showing visible signs of being in pain, being high energy, anxious, or hyper isn’t necessarily something to lose any sleep over. You can help them with training, exercise, and accommodate their natural energy levels.