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expected energy level of a dog breed is a very important consideration
in deciding whether to live with that breed. Unfortunately, what you
expect may not always be what you get. The St. Bernard that you expect
to spend most of his life on the couch may have other ideas, and the
exuberant Springer Spaniel that you think will bounce off the walls may
find watching the paint peel off them the best way to pass time.
of the time, however, dogs bred for activity, such as the Irish Setter
or Boxer, will fulfill the owner's expectation. Although high activity
or even reactivity may be a desired trait in some breeds, that activity
level must be manageable for the family living with the dog.
Activity in the field may be very appropriate, whereas pacing or
charging through the house at all hours of the day and night is very
annoying to most owners. Your emotional state easily transfers to the
dog. The excitable dog will become more reactive if you use a
high-pitched, fast, excited voice and are also reactive, nervous, and
excitable. You must handle the energetic or reactive dog with calm,
firm, purposeful movements and speak to him in a normal, firm-toned
The deliberate, calm handling will help the dog stay calm. If you
battle him to attach a lead to his collar, he will fidget and jump
around even more fiercely. If the dog is hyperactive, take a firm grip
on his handle and command him to sit in a slow, firm voice.
doesn't sit, firmly and slowly grip the handle and place him into a
sit. Hold him in place quietly, without anger or any unnecessary hand
movements, until he ceases the battle and remains in position. When he
settles down, quietly, calmly, verbally praise him.
Praise an excited
dog only verbally, because physical contact will tend to excite him
even more. Try again to attach the lead. If he goes out of control
again, repeat the forced sit, and when he relaxes, praise him. Repeat
the process until the dog sits quietly. Do not attempt to put a lead on
an excited dog.
Obedience training, with its one-on-one interaction between you and
your dog, is an effective outlet for the energetic dog. Obedience not
only teaches the dog to sit quietly but also requires him to
concentrate, and thus, uses up brain power and energy. Obedience
training will also permit you to control his activity in the house.
"settle" command is very effective and important for controlling
excitement in the house. When the dog becomes overly excited or active
i the house, place him in a settle. The settle should be at least ten
minutes long, and he will usually fall asleep or at least relax by that
When he gets up, he is usually calmer. If every time the dog gets
overly excited you demand a settle of him, he will soon learn that the
house is not the play yard. Unfortunately, you can't place the
energetic or nervous dog in a settle for the rest of his life;
therefore, he should have appropriate outlets to release energy.
conscientious in evaluating your own dog's energy level and adjust his
lifestyle and routine exercise accordingly. If he is overly energetic
the first recommendation a pet owner receives is to fence in a large
backyard for the dog to use in running off energy.
The pet owner, who
may have had other ideas for the yard than making it a huge exercise
run for the dog, creates a yard for the dog, only to realize he still
exhibits an annoying overabundance of energy in the house. A large yard
is useless if the dog does not use the area to run around.
There are more
information articles on all aspects of basics dog training, dog health
issues, dog grooming and dog nutrition in
John Mailer's article directory
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The Energetic Dog