How to handle a high energy dog

It’s the end of the day. You think your dog has had a full day of playtime and activities, and now you’re ready to sit on the couch and relax… but your dog still has a ton of energy! What gives? It turns out you may be missing out on a few simple things to help manage that energy. 

What causes my dog to have excessive energy at the end of the day? 

Like humans, dogs need mental stimulation, as well as physical exercise to reduce energy levels. If you’re noticing excessive energy from your dog at the end of the day, it could be because you’re satisfying the physical needs of your dog, but not their mental needs. 

How do I keep my dog mentally stimulated? 

One way to keep your dog stimulated is by taking them on multiple walks each day instead of just letting them sniff around in the backyard so they can explore and play. You can also work on training exercises as soon as you get home. Changing up what type of activities you do with your dog can be helpful as well. Instead of just playing tug-of-war or fetch, try introducing rewarding games like an obstacle course, or getting them to sniff out hidden treats or toys. 

It’s also a good idea to give your dog some quiet time inside throughout the day. Providing enrichment activities like Kong-filled treats or a DIY cereal box treat dispenser can give them time to unwind and cool down. 

Does excessive energy depend on the breed of dog? 

We want you to know it’s normal for dogs to have high energy. However, dogs from the sporting, herding, hound, working, and terrier groups were bred to work. This means their energy level is related to them needing and wanting to have a purpose. If you find your dog is becoming destructive inside the home, displaying increasingly anxious behaviours, or is consistently over-aroused, contacting a positive reinforcement-based dog trainer or behaviour specialist to help manage those behaviours is recommended. 

Is there such a thing as too much play? 

There sure is! Too much exercise can increase your dog’s energy levels, so their bodies become accustomed to the amount being provided. This means you’d have to increase exercise time to help burn off that energy. Make sure you manage your dog’s playtime and end it on a positive note. To end playtime, ask your dog to sit, provide a treat to signal to them playtime is over, and continue to reward calm behaviour afterwards. 

While all dogs are different, including these dos and don’ts in your daily routine can help you manage your dog’s energy: 


Provide mental stimulation and exercise 
Use daily enrichment items and involve your dog’s nose during walks or playtime 

Try training sessions after a walk or playtime 
Encourage and positively reward calm behaviour 
Schedule playtime and end on a positive note 


Punish high energy levels or get frustrated 

Over-exercise without addressing behavioural concerns 
Put your dog in the yard as a replacement for a walk or exercise 

We hope these tips are helpful to you and your canine friend! For more enrichment tips for your furry and feathered friends, visit our blog 

The post How to handle a high energy dog appeared first on Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.

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