Activities For Hyper Dogs

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Introduction

Even for active owners, high-energy dogs can be a lot to handle. For average owners, the possibility of exhaustion is more likely a reality for them before it's a reality for their dogs, leaving many owners to wonder how to manage their hyper hounds long-term. Whether they're big or small, high-energy dogs are a lot of work, but they can also be just as much fun if you know how to go about it. If you have the right activities, you can do half the work and enjoy twice as much time with your faithful friend as you once did, so with all that aside, here are some great ways to help thoroughly exercise (and with any luck, exhaust) your high-powered pooch.

Sled Dogging

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Moderate
Easy
5 - 45 min
Items needed
Sled, cart or wagon
Sturdy harness
Activity description
Some dogs are high energy because they were bred for endurance and can't seem to shake their need for constant purpose. After all, some breeds would even stay with a flock of livestock they were protecting for days on end, traveling miles upon miles before having a time and place to rest! Because of it, simply giving them exercise may not be enough, as many dogs still long for work (as strange as it may sound to many of us overworked people) and giving them something to do can do as much to tire them out mentally as it does physically. That's why developing a work harness can be the best way to go, as it will both give them something to do and the extra weight will help tire them out as well.
Step
1
Identify the activity
For some people, there's easily enough work to do around the house, yard, or farm to provide consistent chores for your soon-to-be weight-pulling dog. Owners in warmer or good-weather climates can take advantage of having their dog hauling carts, whereas owners in cold-weather climates or seasons can substitute in a sled. Pulling firewood, tools, or even people are all options depending on the dog's size, strength and comfort, so do your best to identify which might work best for your situation. If you live in the city and have fewer options, consider getting a small bike cart they can pull to help you carry groceries, bird seed, or anything else you might use around your apartment.
Step
2
Purchase the harness
To be perfectly clear, most dogs won't be comfortable with a standard harness for simple walks if they're going to be pulling any significant amount of weight. While standard harnesses are generally constructed well, pull-type harnesses are not only reinforced, but are generally wider, more padded, and designed to distribute weight evenly. Make sure you get a proper harness before getting started - which is where the cost comes in. It will help ensure comfort, safety and general enjoyment for you dog. Make sure it is properly sized and that they're okay wearing it, then try it on them and test it out. If there are no setbacks, you're ready to get them geared up.
Step
3
Rig 'em up and roll 'em out
Take your furry companion on a trial run. Make sure when you load their cart or sled to start with something that won't easily break. Some dogs get excited by the idea of being put to work, having something to do or just trying something new, and depending on the build of your pull-able vehicle, may take a spill before a successful run is completed. Once you've ensured the safety of your load, put them to work! Make sure to keep an eye on their comfort, behavior, and energy levels for future reference in efforts to streamline or improve the overall fun for both of you. (A family member of this writer has a Pit Bull mix that both hauls wood and takes lightweight people for sled rides around the farm and the dog both LOVES it and is exhausted by it - the perfect two-for-one activity for the right dogs!)
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Bike Ride

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
10 - 90 min
Items needed
Water
Bicycle
Leash
Harness
Activity description
Some dogs seem almost impossible to tire out, no matter what you try, and many owners end up even more exhausted than their dogs when all is said and done. But one tried-and-true method seems to work well for both owner and dog: bike rides. While it does take at least a somewhat active owner with enough ability to comfortably ride a bike long distances, biking is a fantastic way to get your dog a significant amount of exercise and takes both less time and energy than just going for a walk or run. It's free if you already own a bike (although can be expensive if you don't and want a quality bike) and is best reserved for moderate weather without precipitation, mostly for safety and comfort. If your dog is well-behaved enough to maintain the activity overall, you can go as long as both of your energy stores last.
Step
1
Get the walks down pat
If you're like most owners, you'll probably have to do some preparation before you get your dog on a regular bike ride. Start by training them to be good on a leash during walks and jogs if possible first, as those good behaviors help to make the transition easier (although many owners have reported their dogs being better on bike rides because they're forced to keep pace and stay on track, lest one or both of you get pulled off-course in a painful way - lucky owners with well-behaved dogs may not even need leashes, but that's at the owner's discretion although for ultimate safety, do not let your dog run free).
Step
2
Get your pal adjusted to the bike
Once you've gotten your dog to behave on walks and runs, see if they're comfortable being next to a bike while it's moving. If so, you're ready for the next step. If not, help them get comfortable by treating or praising them near the bike while it's still, like you would any other foreign and potentially-worrisome object. Once they're good with it standing still, try it moving.
Step
3
Free ride
Once they've adjusted to being around the bike while it's moving, start on short trips near your home if possible to see if your pup is prone to any potentially dangerous behavior such as running in front of, behind, or into the bike, or even just hard pulling when they decide to speed up, slow down, or chase someone or something else. Once you've determined they're safe to bike with, start ramping up the distance that you ride with them. Once you're up to a comfortable distance, see how long it takes before you're able to tire them out! Make sure to bring them and yourself some water and make sure to check on them occasionally so they're not overexerted. But once you have everything defined, you've got a surefire way to burn them out and get yourself some exercise in the process!
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Flirt Poling

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
5 - 30 min
Items needed
Thin PVC
String or rope
Favorite toy
Activity description
Generally speaking, there seems to be a fine line between the amount of work most owners have to do and the amount of exercise their dogs get. For instance, running and walking exerts equally as much energy on the part of the owner as it does the dog. While games like fetch surely establish a much better balance of work-to-exercise, they still only keep the dogs running for short bursts - which is where the flirt pole comes in. A flirt pole is essentially a glorified Cat Dancer: it's a dog toy strung to a wand by a rope or string so the owner has consistent control. The best part? You can stand in one place and get them to exert a ton of energy, and they when they get bored you don't have to search the grounds for the leftover toy! It's best for sunny weather outside for obvious reasons but can also be done indoors - a great solution for bad weather days when you can't get your hyper pup outside. Plus, it's cheap (or free with the right supplies), easy to assemble, and can last as long as both of your attention spans.
Step
1
Build or buy a flirt pole
If you're going to buy a flirt pole, step one is as easy as that. If you're going to build one, all you need to do is get a thin PVC tube around two feet in length (no need to be exact) and some string that will hold up once your dog actually catches the toy and tugs. A simple construction for a smaller dog might just take tying a knot around the PVC on one end and around the toy on the other. For dogs with more strength who might pull the knot straight off the PVC, consider drilling a hole near the end of the pole and lacing the string or rope through before tying the knot. Other objects can be used for the wand but generally speaking, anything with some flex and give will go much farther in comfort and safety for both of you.
Step
2
Play away!
Once your flirt pole is constructed, you're ready to start playing. Find a good space with enough room to move for both you and your dog, then start waving the pole and getting them to chase the toy. You can make them run in circles, jump in the air for it, or even drag it along the ground. You can also introduce obstacles they'll need to use to access it, such as benches or picnic tables so they have to think a bit more in the process, or just have them keep them chasing it at top speed to burn them out in record time.
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More Fun Ideas...

Weight Packs

Sometimes adding a bit of extra weight can help tire a dog out quicker. After all, aren't you more tired after backpacking than after simple hiking? Get them a doggy-specific backpack they can wear comfortably and load it up with either supplies (for longer walks) such as water, food, or treats, or just some extra weight to make them work harder.

Chase and Fetch

If you're looking for a low-effort activity that will burn your dog out much quicker than it will you, grab a ball, Frisbee, or other fetch-able item, find some open space and toss away! You'll likely only tire out your arm while they're tiring out their entire bodies!

Swimming

Unlike walking and running, swimming doesn't allow any downtime for resting unless the dog comes out of the water, meaning they're constantly being pushed to keep moving, thus tiring them out much quicker than many other land-based exercise. See if you can find a local pond, lake, or ocean for them to swim in if they like the water enough. If they do, you might be able to train them to do dock jumping as well!

Step To It

For some owners, big cities are tough places to get high-energy dogs an appropriate amount of exercise. For those with a keen eye, cities are full of agility obstacles such as picnic benches and concrete stairs that will tire a dog out quicker than a simple walk. Have them run and jump up, down, and around a series of objects in succession and create your own agility course with minimal work and free of charge!

Conclusion

High energy dogs don't necessarily have to be high maintenance. Knowing how, when, and which activities to have them participate in can be key to having a hyper dog live a happy, healthy life, all without you pulling your hair out. So if you see them getting too amped up, misbehaving, or running in circles, do them a favor and burn them out! Chances are they'll be just as thankful as you are once all is said and done.