Have a dog that runs around the house in circles at 10:00 pm on a Tuesday? Have a dog that gets into mischief just to have something to do? Ever consider their energy needs aren’t being met?
Now, I’m by no means an animal behaviorist, I just know I have a dog that has a high amount of energy and I’ve learned what an amazing difference it makes in her behavior to tire her the hell out on a regular basis.
I call this “managing my dog’s energy.”
Maddie is a dog that needs regular and consistent exercise or play every day. When she hasn’t had enough activity in the day she practically bounces off the walls. But exercising a dog every day can sometimes be inconvenient – in rainy or really cold weather, sometimes neither you OR the dog really wants to go for that long walk outside. However, you can trick your dog into getting exercise in the form of playing.
With Maddie, she is very motivated by toys. She LOVES playing ball, playing fetch, playing chase, playing tug, chasing bubbles, and generally running around. On a day when it’s too nasty outside to run around outside (quite often in Seattle) I can employ one of the above play techniques inside the house….then don’t stop until her tongue is hanging out the side of her mouth. That is my measure of success, as unscientific as it may be, when she is breathing really hard and her tongue is hanging out of the side of her mouth. Usually she starts to slow down a bit after that and doesn’t quite seem to mind when you put away the toy or ball.
I joke that I need to wear Maddie out to the point of “side tongue” at least three times a day. But it really isn’t a joke. When I make a point to do exactly that she is a different dog. She is happy from all the playing, and she is more mellow and well behaved in the evening. Win! Win!