If all we do is exercise our dog's bodies, we can send our dogs a similar type spiral. Some people think the way to fix a frantic dog is more exercise. In many cases they are correct. But sometimes, the exercise can backfire.
Start with a frantic dog. Bike him for or 5 miles a day. He gets more frantic because:
1. Exercise itself can be stressful
2. He is pulled past interesting smells and sights
Because the dog is still frantic, we increase the bike rides to 8 miles a day. The dog continues to be frantic so we keep increasing the exercise. So basically we wind up with a frantic dog who is great physical condition.
We need to also exercise our dogs' minds
Trick training, nose work, etc.. can be mentally stimulating and tiring. Adding in some impulse control during exercise an also be helpful. i.e. ask for sit before tossing a ball.
"A job for a dog needs to engage both brain and body"
"When Ashley was younger and much more active than she is now at 13, a friend at the time, who was a long distance runner, took Ashley and two of his dogs on a 15 mile run in the mountains of southern Colorado. When they returned, Ashley slept for about 30 minutes, woke up, and proceeded to chew on the legs of the couch at our friends’ house. "
"I'm not convinced dogs require a lot of physical exercise. I realize that many trainers use the phrase "a tired dog is a good dog" but I don't agree with this. A tired dog "behaves" simply because he is exhausted - this is temporary and doesn't teach the dog to truly be calm or relaxed, or how to cope with triggers"
"...if you notice that your dog is aggressive, reactive, jumpy, and mouthy or just can’t seem to settle down after a game of fetch, your dog is probably being overstressed and you need to make some changes."
"Consider this, then. If you engage in activities that cause your dog to become aroused, and therefore stressed, every day, your dog will always have high levels of stress hormones in his bloodstream. High arousal becomes the new norm."
"Training can be both stimulating and fun"
Capture calm and reward it.
For more on this subject, see Laura VanArendonk Baugh's Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out.
An excerpt from the book:
"Even a hyper dog might not be enjoying himself as much as it appears. Frantic behavior often looks happy, with jumping and tail-wagging and licking, but in fact the dog may be just as stressed as the dog hiding under the table, only expressing it differently. While he may not be afraid, he is not in control of his own emotions and reactions, and that can be unpleasant"
Do you live with a hyper dog?
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