If you go on two walks daily and spend many hours playing fetch, but your dog is still running around you, then welcome to the club of owners raising a hyperactive dog.
These seemingly tireless canines are a joy to have them, but admit it, training that wriggly mass of fur was very hard.
High-energy dogs are charming for their happy temperaments and big personalities, but shelters are full of former pets deemed “too much to handle.”
If you are an owner of these energetic dogs, don’t give up on training.
Instead, try the following tips to focus your dog’s energy on learning new skills.
1. Exercise before Training
Imagine a six-year-old forced to sit in school all day without taking any breaks for recess.
They’ll flounder in their seat and do anything except what you want them to do.
That’s exactly how your dog will behave if you try to train him without first releasing some of his energy.
The training sessions need to be structured times where the dog has a full focus on you.
Your chances are higher at keeping his attention if you schedule your sessions for right after he gets back from his walk or after a rousing game of fetch.
2. Make Training Fun
If your dog is not interested in what you want him to do, you’ll never be able to force him to do anything.
The dogs must have the desire to train with their owners.
The best way to do that is to make the training fun.
If the dog expects to be yelled at or if you’re going to end up frustrated or mad, he will not be willing to participate in the training.
Make it a positive atmosphere by being enthusiastic and upbeat.
3. Plan Your Training “Curriculum”
The first commands you teach him should be ones that will make easier the future training.
One of the biggest problems with training hyperactive dogs is they get too excited during the training and they can’t concentrate on what you’re saying.
If you experience this, you need to focus on skills that improve impulse control.
“Leave it,” “go to your mat,” and “calm,” are all obedience tricks that will definitely come in handy when teaching other skills.
4. Take Advantage of Learning Opportunities
The regular training sessions should be supplemented with other opportunities throughout the day.
When they want something, no matter what that is, you need to make them work for to get it.
If they want to eat, make them sit and “leave it” before allowing them to dig in.
If they want your attention, just start scratching when they’ve shown you how well they’ve mastered the “calm” command.
Making them earn things daily will keep their bodies and brains working to spend more energy.
5. Learn the Power of Redirection
When your dog is barking, running, and jumping, you as frustrated pet owner probably try to stifle that energy just to earn a second of calmness.
However, punishing the dog isn’t going to help.
You should redirect the activity instead of trying to stop it.
Hyperactivity is usually connected with an eagerness to please and a keen intellect.
So, if you give your dog a task at which he can use his never-ending energy, it is a win-win!
Your dog will be still excited and active, but he will be doing something productive.
Redirection could be getting him his favorite snack to clean or testing his mettle on the agility course.
Training an energetic dog will take commitment and patience.
It won’t always be fun and easy, but it’ll be definitely worth it.
Don’t let small backsets disappoint you.
Don’t give up on your dog.