A high-energy dog can fill your life with excitement, enthusiasm, and, admittedly, occasional exhaustion. Their desire and need to “get up and go” is unmatched, making them remarkable companions for those that love the same type of lifestyle and those that are willing to invest the time and energy in them. In this blog post, we will walk you through some key factors to understand and some important tips for owning and living with a high-energy breed of dog. Ultimately, it is critical that you are in a position, and have the ability to meet the needs, of these spirited breeds. Otherwise, it will be best to consider a different type of dog breed.
Understanding High-Energy Breeds
It's very important to understand and comprehend what "high-energy" entails. Breeds such as Huskies, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Labradors, and Jack Russell Terriers were historically used for tasks demanding stamina and intelligence. Today, their energy needs an outlet to satisfy their needs and to prevent anxiety and/or destructiveness. Below is a list of things that you need to be able to provide for these types of breeds in order for them to thrive.
1. Regular and Varied Exercise
Outdoor Activities: Simple walks won’t cut it. These dogs crave rigorous activities like hiking, jogging, or biking. Engaging in such activities also provides them with a change of scenery and new smells, which is vital for their mental well-being.
Structured Play: Games like fetch or frisbee go beyond physical exertion. They also nurture the dog's coordination, reflexes, and bond with you. Setting regular playtimes that your dog can rely on will help to create a routine they eagerly anticipate.
Dog Sports: Dog sports like agility or flyball can help channel their energy and hone their skills. These types of sports will also foster teamwork that will help build and enhance a strong bond between you and your dog.
2. Mental Stimulation
Training: Their innate intelligence and drive make high-energy breeds very quick learners. Regular training sessions, whether it's obedience or other type of advanced tricks and training, provide important cerebral workouts.
Puzzle Toys: There's a wide range of interactive toys designed to challenge canine brains. Rotating these toys keeps them intrigued and mentally engaged.
Novel Experiences: Just like us, dogs enjoy new experiences. A trip to a pet-friendly café or store, a new walking route, or even a new intriguing toy or special chew such as an antler chew can invigorate their senses and keep them focused and occupied.
3. Consistency in Routine
Though they're energetic, these high-energy breeds flourish when there’s a predictable routine. Consistent meal times, exercise routines, and bedtimes provide a structure, making the world less chaotic for them. They will especially flourish with consistent and meaningful outdoor activities so be sure to prioritize their time outside.
Canine Friends: Regular interaction with other dogs, especially of similar energy levels, can be an awesome way for them to burn off steam. However, ensure that it’s a controlled environment, with dogs that you know and trust, in order to prevent possible confrontations.
Human Interaction: Socializing isn't limited to fellow dogs. Encouraging positive interactions with diverse groups of people will help to create a well-rounded, sociable dog.
5. Proper Nutrition
Diet plays a pivotal role in their energy management. A high-quality diet tailored for active breeds ensures they get the necessary nutrients without unwanted fillers or other nasty ingredients. Utilizing a high-quality, high-reward treat such as Mountain Wild jerky treats will not only provide them with a very healthy, all-natural, all-wild treat, you will also be able to utilize it as a very high reward treat for training purposes.
Regular Consultation: Periodically consulting with a vet or a canine nutritionist ensures the diet evolves with the dog's changing needs.
6. Positive Reinforcement
Like any dog, these breeds thrive on positive reinforcement. Rather than punishing undesirable behavior, focus on rewarding the good. This fosters a positive environment, making training sessions something both you and your pet look forward to. It will also help to create an unbreakable bond between you and your dog.
7. Calming Space
A sanctuary where your dog can relax is crucial. Equip this space with their favorite toys, a comfortable bed, and maybe some calming music to offer solace from their high-octane world. Focusing on and implementing “place” training is critical to this aspect of providing your dog with a safe and relaxing place to be still and relax.
8. Professional Training
If managing your dog’s energy becomes overwhelming, professional trainers can offer breed-specific advice. They can identify unique quirks and tailor training accordingly. There are many experts online or through social media platforms that you can learn from as well. There are also many great books you can read to help you become the best dog owner with your special breed.
9. Daycare Options
Doggy daycares provide a structured environment for play and socialization. They get to mingle with their peers under professional supervision, ensuring safety. It is very important if you do look to go this route that you take the time to interview and understand what each daycare provides. This will help you properly determine and ensure that this option will be a positive experience rather than a negative experience for your dog.
10. Regular Vet Checkups
Routine vet visits ensure that their energy isn't due to health issues. Vets and other dog professionals can also provide you with breed-specific advice that will help you best navigate your routine and relationship with your dog.
Living with a high-energy dog demands commitment but truly offers unmatched rewards in return. Before jumping in and purchasing a high-energy breed of dog, it is critically important that you consider your own time, lifestyle and surroundings to make sure that you have what it takes to fulfill the dog. Their zeal for life, coupled with their loyalty, makes every investment of time and energy worthwhile. By first fully understanding their needs, and then catering to their needs, you will pave the way for a very fulfilling and exciting companionship. Good luck and have fun!
Disclaimer: This article does not replace professional veterinary advice. Always consult with your vet for your pet's specific needs.