When you consider a dog’s energy, you may think of how much physical activity they need. While physical activity is definitely essential, dogs require a lot more than exercise to exhaust their overall energy. They also need to engage their mental and emotional energies. Addressing all three of these energies is key to ensuring your dog is happy, healthy, and well-behaved.
Many of us think a walk or a run, or maybe a visit to the dog park, will keep our dog calm, but that’s not always the case. However, a short burst of exercise once or twice each day is actually enough for your pet, but then again, there’s a lot more to it than that!
Essentially all dog owners are aware of their animal's energy needs. While the physical exercise a dog needs will vary based on breed, age, and overall health, the consensus is that an hour of daily routine will keep a dog fit. What happens, though, when you exercise your dog, they get tired for a few moments, and then immediately, your four-legged friend reverts back to old behaviors? Maybe they're often barking, or whining by the front door, or even jumping when you walk by.
This might mean that even if the dog got plenty of exercises, they have yet to exhaust their mental and emotional energies.
We've said it once, and we'll repeat it: Jogging for five miles with your dog by your side, or throwing a tennis ball over and over again while you scroll through your phone, might only satisfy your dog’s physical energy.
Games are plentiful in this way. You might introduce your dog to a new toy or even a new dog or two to hold their attention, improve their focus, and exhaust their mental energy.
Interaction and commands will help fulfill your dog’s emotional energy needs.
If you’re on a walk, or playing tug or fetch, you'll want to have your dog periodically stop the play. It would then help if you had them practice an obedience skill in a calm voice before letting them resume.
For instance, you might use the command “Down” during fetch and only allow your dog to retrieve the ball or stick when you give them the go-ahead. Or, during a walk, you might use the “Sit” command occasionally and then praise them for listening.
This will make your dog feel great and meet their energy needs. It’s a win-win. As your dog keeps active, connects, listens to you, and anticipates what’s to come during play, they can simultaneously exercise their physical, mental, and emotional energies. They’ll be happier, better-behaved, and more balanced before you know it.
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