Caring for High-Energy Dogs

All dogs thrive on regular attention and exercise. However, the amount and type of exercise that a dog requires varies with age, health, personality and breed. Certain breeds have higher daily exercise needs than others. These are the dogs that possess a high desire to play and learn new things, and often excel at dog sports and activities.

High-Energy Breeds

Most of the high-energy breeds that we recognize today were originally developed as working companions to aid in hunting, herding, pest control or protection. As a result, many of these dogs still possess a strong drive to work and exercise, even if they are not being used for the breed’s original function:
  • Hunting breeds. Hunting breeds were developed to find, indicate, chase and retrieve game on land and in water. Hunting breeds that have a lot of get-up-and-go and are popular as pets today include the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Brittany and Pointer.
  • Herding breeds. These dogs worked tirelessly to control and move sheep and other livestock from place to place. Two highly energetic herding breeds that are popular in dog sports today are the Border Collie and the Australian Shepherd
  • Pest control breeds. Among this group, terriers were selected to find and dispatch animals that farmers considered to be pests. As a result, many terrier breeds have a surprising amount of energy and spunk for their small size. Examples are the Fox Terrier, Parson (Jack) Russell Terrier and Rat Terrier.
Fun Activities for You and Your High-Energy Dog

Regardless of breed, any dog can have a “high energy” personality, and all dogs love to spend time with their people. There are a variety of enjoyable activities that provide both exercise and mental stimulation for dogs and are a lot of fun for owners as well:
  • Walking or jogging. One or two long walks each day help to keep your dog physically fit and also provide valuable training and socialization time. Alternatively, if you enjoy jogging, train your dog to run on a lead with you. Having a dog as an exercise companion can be a great motivator!
  • Fetch games. Retrieving is great fun for dogs with a strong chase drive, such as retrievers and herding breeds. Train your dog to fetch a favorite ball, catch a Frisbee®, retrieve in water, or play “find it” games with hidden toys or treats. Tricks such as “put your toys away” or “help with the laundry” can also be easily taught to dogs that excel at retrieving.
  • Hide-and-seek. Hide-and-seek games will exercise your dog’s mind and give him the opportunity to use his extraordinary sense of smell. It is also a game that helps to teach a reliable “come when called” response
  • Organized dog sports. Today there are many organized dog sports and activities that owners enjoy with their dogs. Popular examples include agility, flyball, canine freestyle (dancing with your dog), canine nose work, dock diving, lure coursing, disc dog, tracking, herding and carting.
Tips for Keeping Your Dog Fit and Happy

  • Start gradually. Just like people, dogs that have not been exercising regularly may overexert themselves and risk sore muscles or injury. Spend no more than 30 minutes every few days on new activities when first getting started with your dog, and gradually work up to daily routines.
  • Find helpers. If you have a busy schedule and cannot always provide for your dog’s exercise and training needs, consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your dog at a reputable doggy day care a few times a week.
  • Vary exercise and activities. Variety is the spice of life! Change the walking route that you take, select new parks to explore, teach new games, try a new sport or enroll in a new training class. All of these activities are important for your dog’s physical and mental wellness and provide enjoyable time for you together.
TIPS TO TAKE AWAY 
  1. Regardless of breed, any dog can have a “high energy” personality, and all dogs love to spend time with their people. 
  2. Start gradually. Just like people, dogs that have not been exercising regularly may overexert themselves and risk sore muscles or injury. 
  3. Vary exercise and activities. Variety is the spice of life!