How to Calm a High Energy Dog

Is your high energy dog driving you crazy?

We’ve all been there – trust me. You get home and just want to lay on the couch, yet your beloved puppy just won’t settle down. You decide to take him for a long walk, thinking it will calm him down. Nope. Okay maybe some tug of war with a rope toy will work. Nope. Maybe playing a quick game of fetch will work. Nope. You think to yourself: “how on earth do people calm a high energy dog?”

Here are 5 tips on how to calm a high energy dog!

Exercise

Your dog needs to exercise! We don’t mean just taking them on a 30 minute walk. That barely does anything to calm a high energy dog!

Dogs are meant to run!!! Ever wonder why dogs pull on their leash?

It’s not natural for them to go our walking speed! Dogs want to run!

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Take your dog to an off leash dog park (make sure you follow off leash dog park rules and regulations)!

This will give them time to run around in a controlled area and allow them to socialize with plenty of other dogs and people! All of the stimulation will quickly wear them out!

Seriously, a 30 minute trip to the dog park can calm your hyper dog for up to 2 days!

Don’t have a dog park near you? Go for a hike!

Routine

Dogs are creatures of habits. They know that once your alarm goes off in the morning, that it’s time to play. They know when you come home from work, they get to go outside.

Heck, even most dogs can recognize the difference in you getting up from the couch to go to the bathroom and you getting up from the couch to go to the kitchen to get them a treat. It’s amazing how smart our dogs are!

This is why it’s important that they know when it’s play time and when it’s time for them to occupy themselves. If there is no routine, your dog isn’t going to be controlled!

Create a simple routine such as:

Morning: 20 minute walk, eat breakfast, train for 5 minutes

Afternoon: If you can afford it, get a dog walker! If not, leave plenty of safe, durable dog chew toys for your dog to play with!

Evening: Quick walk, dog park for 30 minutes, dinner, quick game of tug of war or fetch, 5 minutes of training

Whenever you’re done with your last activity, you should bring your dog’s attention to something that they can chew on to occupy themselves with.

We love Red Barn bones and any Nylabone chew products.

When presenting these to your dog, get really excited and make your dog really work hard in order to get it. You can even incorporate this into your training!

Smart Toys and Feeders

High energy dogs’ minds are all over the place. They have serious ADHD. Getting them to focus their energy on to a smart toy or feeder will quickly tire them out!

Toys such as Kongs allow you to place high quality dog treats inside of the toy. Your dog will go nuts trying to figure out how to get the delicious treat out of the toy.

Your dog won’t stop until they have the treat, so this will really tire them out if you put something highly desirable in there.

Interactive dog toy feeders, such as the StarMark Bob-A-Lot, are FANTASTIC at both feeding and calming high energy dogs!

You put their kibble inside of the toy and your dog needs to figure out how to get the kibble out by rolling the toy around!

It used to take my dog about 3 minutes to eat all of his food. Since we got an interactive dog toy feeder, it takes him about 20 minutes to eat all of his food!

The best part is that it really tires him out!

Obedience training

Did you know that 5 minutes of mental obedience training is equivalent to 1 hour of walking?

It takes a lot of mental effort for a dog to learn a new trick. Exerting that much mental effort really calms your high energy dog.

Dogs also LOVE learning new tricks!

The training doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Simple sits, stays, and downs do wonders.

Leash training is also a fantastic way to exert your dog’s high energy levels.

Even just 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening will have a great effect on calming your hyper dog.

Correct, Positive Reinforcement

This is something that I harp on a lot on this site. Only reinforce your dog’s good behaviors while ignoring their bad behaviors.

Is your dog acting up and driving you nuts with their high energy? Ignore them!

Is your dog calmly chewing on their bone? Reward them with praise!

It’s really simple! Reward good behaviors and ignore bad behaviors. Your dog will quickly learn what behavior is acceptable and isn’t acceptable!

Conclusion

While it may seem hard to calm a high energy dog, it’s certainly possible. Use the 5 tips that we laid out above and you’ll see a very quick change in your dog’s behavior. Remember, you can always consult an obedience trainer to give you one on one attention! We were strapped for time because of work and tried Dove Cresswell’s Online Dog Training. The videos really helped us – give it a shot if you’re at your wits end!

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Photo Source: Andrew Pons

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.  

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