Understanding how to expel excess energy requires an understanding that there are three types of pupper energy. If you address all three of these energies on a consistent basis you will quickly see your pup’s behaviour challenges disappear.
You would be amazed at many times I’ve heard “my pup has some focus issues” or “they typically destroy the house when they’re left alone” and then after a short weekend with me at BFF Ranch they can’t believe it’s their pup that returns home so well behaved! There is no secret here, expelling excess energy to calm your pup just takes understanding and commitment.
Let’s look at the 3 energy types now and explore some ways to address each one.
Full Body Energy: This is the most common energy that is exercised out of a pup. If you take your pup to run at the dog park, play fetch with them in the yard or roll around and wrestle to play, you’re working your pup’s Full Body Energy.
We all know plenty of ways to run, play and exercise with our pups. What’s important to note hear is that your pup can sleep up to 18 hours a day and with that sleep comes a full body recharge. It’s not just about one-and-done exercise routines where you run your pup for an hour in the morning then call it a day. What do you think happens when they sleep all day while you’re away at work? The good thing is you don’t necessarily need to increase the amount of time committed to their exercise, instead, try 3 vigorous 20 minute exercise games like, fetch, playing tag/chasing one another or letting them run at the dog park. 3 different activities done in shorter intervals will spread out their energy use, help dispel energy being recharged during the day and keep your pup guessing and excited about which activity time they’re about to enjoy with you. The more variety with your games the better. There’s no quicker way to a behaviour challenge than taking your pup to the dog park for an hour and catching up on your email while you’re there; trust us on that one!
When you taught your pup to sit you were actually exercising their mental energy by forcing them to think about this new behaviour. Add a favourite treat to the mix and you will quickly be watching your pup cycle through every trick they’ve ever learned as they try to figure out how to get the goods!
Start with the easy stuff like sit and give-a-paw and keep your training to 15 minute increments. Another great game is hide and seek. Start by hiding a favorite toy within a couple of feet of your pup and then telling them to find it. Give them a treat or lots of praise when they do. Then hide it again and repeat the process, gradually increasing the distance between your pup and the toy each time. This is one of my personal favourites and in no time you’ll be seeing your pup’s face light-up with excitement when they know it’s time to play hide and seek.
Jaw Energy: This is the energy that is most often missed and when neglected can lead to all kinds of behaviour challenges. In the wild, our pups used to catch and dismantle their meals mechanically which required a tremendous amount of jaw strength and ‘jaw energy’ to do. Now that our pup’s meals are prepared for them they don’t require this same energy use and it can therefore start to store-up and manifest itself as poor behaviour like chewing baseboards, walls, your favorite shoes are general mischief. Your pup likely doesn’t understand what they are missing so be sure you give them a chance to succeed!
To help meet this energy requirement try a good quality chew toy like a Kong with a small dab of frozen peanut butter inside or another favourite treat to encourage constant chewing. A beef joint or other natural bone that your pup enjoys can also be a great way to expel this excess energy and keep your pup’s mind occupied while you’re away.
Life gets busy and time gets away from all of us so do yourself and your pup a favour and schedule their time into your day in regular intervals. And then stick to the schedule like you would with any other task. Do this, and you’re guaranteed to have a happier, calmer & more responsive pup. This also means a less stressful and more enjoyable relationship for you!