By nature, working dogs are meant to work. They’re typically high energy and require a big time commitment to keep them happy and healthy. Born and bred to keep going until they have no energy left, the working dog can be found in many breed families. Shepherds, pointers, and retrievers are all examples of this working class of dog, though one of the more common breeds that people tend to gravitate towards is the Golden Retriever. Praised as the ultimate family dog, the Golden Retriever is found in many homes throughout the world. They get along well with children of all ages, are receptive to obedience training, and often form steadfast and strong bonds with their owners.
Despite their pristine reputation, they still fall under the name “retriever”, and as such, require plenty of maintenance to cut down on behavior issues that may crop up from an excess of energy. Golden Retrievers can be hyperactive and bouncy when left to their own devices, but luckily there are ways to help owners channel that energy.
Every dog needs some sort of mental or physical stimulation to be happy and healthy. Depending on the breed of dog, they may need one type more than the other, but Golden Retrievers are very dependent on physical stimulation. Beginning this type of activity early on when they are puppies can help curb poor behavior later on, but having a hyper or overactive Golden Retriever is not the end of the world and going for mile-long hikes is not the only way to tire one out.
If you struggle with your Golden Retriever’s energy level, there are multiple ways to get him to calm down. These methods work for a dog of any age, though it may take some extra work to help break your Golden of bad habits if he is a little older. Your Golden will likely need about two weeks to a month to adjust to a new routine for him once you get started, so consistency is key.
To begin, you’ll need to establish a daily routine for your dog. This routine should consist of regular physical activity, obedience training, and some type of free play time to create an even balance. With a routine in place, your Golden Retriever will eventually know what times of day are reserved for being calm and relaxed while the rest of the time should be spent working off that energy.
If you work or are busy most of the day, consider hiring a dog walker or sitter, or think about asking a neighbor or friend to come by to take your dog out for a while. Leaving your Golden Retriever in a crate or small room all day will guarantee that he is nicely wound up and excited when you walk in the door and will make it harder for you to get him to calm down.
Hi! Shelby is 2 years old and is constantly crazy. She never seems to calm down, jumps on everybody that walks through the door, and is crazy for tennis balls. I’ve tried basic calmness training on her and nothing seems to work. What can I do?
Hello Corinne, Her energy probably won't change until she gets a bit older but you can teach a dog to stay still on command for long periods, listen better, not pull, not jump, ect...which helps manage the energy. Also, when you exercise her focus on things that also challenge her brain. Mentally stimulating exercise has been proven to wear a dog out better than physical exercise alone. Tricks, games that incorporate obedience, agility, and commands that require a lot of focus and self-control. When you take her on walks also require her to heel beside you and focus on you so that she is working for you during the walk - stop and work on commands like Down Stay and Sit Stay periodically - she is more likely to be calmer when you get back home from that type of walk. To help manage the energy and teach better manners and self-control I highly suggest working on the following commands with her (be patient and very consistent): Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo For the jumping check out the article linked below and focus the most on the Step Toward Method. You may need to use the Leash method too with guests. When she will not jump on you when you come home anymore, then work on acting really exciting, like doing jumping jacks and making funny noises to get her excited, then use the Step Toward Method if she jumps then as well - this is to teach her to not jump when she is excited as well - since guests will be especially exciting. Jumping: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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