Sound familiar? If you have a dog with boundless energy, this could be a sound you hear quite often. The excitement and energy of your dog combined with that antique vase that your favorite aunt left you (which is now in pieces on the living room floor) is usually a recipe for disaster.
There is little that is more frustrating than coming home after a long day and finding your possessions destroyed. If your dog shows a tendency toward destruction, it might be a good idea to find out why — before your house is in shambles.
What’s Wrong With My Dog?
Chances are, he’s not a bad dog. He’s just a dog with way too much energy and not enough outlets for releasing that energy.
What you want to do is to be proactive and help your dog expend his energy in safer and less destructive ways. Telling him he’s a “bad dog” and being angry will upset him, and he might behave better for a time. But there is no changing his natural instincts.
Eventually, you’ll be picking up more pieces off the floor. He won’t be able to help himself.
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Some things you can do with your dog to burn off energy in safer ways:
- Go for longer walks, or amp up the fitness level and shoot for a jog.
- Spend time in the backyard letting him chase balls, sticks and toys that you toss.
- Take him to the dog park and let him socialize with other dogs.
- Head to an obedience class. Be picky — choose one that will help your dog expend energy as well as learn.
- Is he a swimmer or water lover? Find a place where he can swim safely.
Short on Time
We all have those days when we’re too tired to do much of anything, or days we’re ill or simply can’t make it out of the house. What to do with your maniac mutt then?
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The good news is, you don’t have to invest in a padded home. Scout around for a dog walker with experience handling high-energy dogs. Have this person’s phone number handy so you can have her readily available to take your Doggy Dynamo out for a walk/run/swim/play date when you’re not able to do so.
Consider Clicker Training
Clicker training is pretty simple and very effective at helping train your dog for the behaviors you’d like him to exhibit.
Once you have determined that your dog is getting the exercise he needs, clicker training can be a terrific next step. Your first step is to get a clicker. Usually they are small, simple devices that can fit in the palm of your hand. Pets Adviser sells one for under $5.
Once you have your clicker, follow these steps:
- Teach your dog that the sound of the click means “treat” by clicking it and then giving him a high-value treat. Soon he’ll connect the sound of the click with the reward you give him.
- This next part takes a little practice. Click exactly when your dog exhibits a behavior you would like him to learn. For example, if you want to teach him to lie down, then when you see him lie down on his own, immediately click the clicker and give him a treat.
- Practice. Your dog will realize that the sound of the click means you want him to exhibit this behavior. He’ll start lying down when he hears the click. Just don’t forget to reward his excellent behavior.
The great thing about clicker training is that it can work for so many behaviors. Give it a shot!
This video provides an example of how to start clicker training with your dog:
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Having an energetic dog can be a handful, but it can be the most joyful experience ever. He will make you laugh often and remind you how great it is to have him in your life. Just remember to give him the exercise he needs — otherwise, you may need to invest in rubber furniture.