Providing good outlets for your dog’s excess energy

There are those times when your dog has an energy burst and he has the zoomies which can be cute and fun to watch. There are times though when he has that energy surge and the results are not so nice. He might be barking, jumping or nipping more than normal or all of a sudden he is chewing the furniture. When dogs have these kinds of energy bursts it can be very overwhelming for both of you and it becomes their only focus to burn up that extra energy. This is more prevalent in adolescent teenage dogs between the age of six months and 18 months old. If we leave it up to them to burn up the energy they will more times than not make bad decisions and use unwanted behaviors. The time they spend with these behaviors reinforces to your dog that these behaviors work for them and they will repeat them.

The cure for this problem lies with us. We have to have a strategy for sending that excess energy to acceptable behaviors and activities that both you and your dog enjoy. The following steps should help in doing this utilizing the three areas of exercise that a dog needs to fulfill which is physical exercise, mental exercise and nose exercise activities.

First make a list of activities and behaviors that both you and you dog enjoy for him to do. It can be things such as walks, fetch, training and eating his favorite frozen food mixture from a Kong chew toy.

Once you have your list you need a strategy to plug these activities into using the following sequence list. All of these activities are back to back.

  • Training for a few minutes always in a time frame that will keep his focus and not too long where he gets bored.
  • Playing in a time frame that he can stay focused
  • Training again
  • Playing again
  • Outdoor nose work. This is usually a walk where he gets to exercise that nose with new smells. When you are in a crunch for time or the weather is bad you can play the “Find It” game either by tossing food or treats around the yard or hiding them throughout the house for him to find.
  • Indoor Cool Down. This wraps up the activity with an activity that is 10 to 20 minutes long that has no physical activity and requires mental focus. This can be that Kong with frozen food in it, a favorite chew item or a snuffle mat as an example. This will keep him from acting out because he is over tired which can also result in unwanted behaviors.

If the weather will not allow very much physical or nose activity outdoors then just double up on the mental and training exercise.

Using this strategy will result in your four legged bundle of energy successfully burning up his excess energy in ways that you both enjoy and approve of.

For more information about help in training your dog please contact Chris Takacs either by phone at 269-612-7424 or by email at

A quick introduction to Takacs Dog Training video

Takacs Dog Training LLC is a force free, positive reinforcement dog training experience. Serving Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Evening and weekend training sessions available.

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