“In the morning we go on a 2 hour bike ride, after lunch we take him on a walk for 1 hour and then in the afternoon we have an agility class which alternates daily with our man trailing class and then in the evening we go for another bike ride.”
Phew! I nod along as she informs me of her extravagant entertainment program for her Australian Shepherd. We’re making our way across a huge field with my two puppies, her Shepherd and her friends’ Vizsla. The only one acting insane and not able to calm down? Surprise! Her over-stimulated Australian Shepherd.
Now don’t get me wrong, most (sadly almost all) dogs are stuck at home all day, under-stimulated and lacking adequate exercise. Especially breeds like Australian Shepherds and Border Collies, etc. Dogs that are bought “just to be pets and be cute”, should most definitely be getting more exercise and training. But is it possible to be doing too much with your dog? Yes! It is all about what kind of exercise and jobs/sports you are offering your dog and how you go about doing them.
Dogs need a surprising amount of sleep – two thirds of the day or somewhere between 14-18 hours daily (depending on the breed and temperament). What happens quite often, is that people hear that their dog needs to have a lot to do and they take on too much. The dog never learns how to calm down!
Believe it or not, teaching your dog to be calm, disciplined and polite will get them more tired than running around all day. It takes concentration which can be very exhausting – especially with young dogs. Do fun things with your dog that causes them to think and use their nose to get them tired – anything that can also help them with self control.
Dogs need to learn to be calm. Most dogs who are doing too much aren’t really as happy as we might believe. A dog who is used to going on long bike rides and hikes every day (perhaps even multiple times) will need that, go crazy without it and only get more and more fit as time goes on. You’ll never be able to get your dog tired…
Most dogs I come across are physically as fit as an Olympic athlete, but have no self restraint and don’t listen to their owner at all.
So don’t put you or your dog under too much pressure to always be busy. Enjoy relaxing together as well as doing things like Dummy or trick training, for example, for fun. Never underestimate a nice long walk in the woods, perhaps with a doggy pal for your dog to play with.