Got a high-energy dog? Trainer reveals 5 mistakes you might be making (and what to do instead)

Excited Cocker Spaniel playing on his back
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re the pet parent of an excitable dog, then you’ll know how much hard work it can be. No matter how much exercise you do or how many games you play, they’re always ready to bounce back again with, what feels like, unlimited energy. 

High energy dog breeds can also be fun, especially for those who enjoy staying active in the great outdoors. But for anyone, there comes a point when you just need them to settle down and relax - which isn’t always the easiest thing to achieve.

If you can relate then you’ll want to keep reading, because the experts at Calm Canine Academy have just shared five mistakes you might be making with them. If you’re guilty of any of these (common) things, fear not, because we’ve also got some tips on what to do instead:

1. You’re overwhelming them

Calm Canine Academy explains that excitable dogs are usually more sensitive to environmental stimuli. If they’re feeling overwhelmed by a situation or their surroundings, it could be the cause of their unwanted behavior. By controlling their indoor environment and carefully choosing where they go for walks, you can help improve their regulation.

2. You’re overexercising them

To tire out a dog, you have to exercise them as much as possible - right? Wrong. This might seem like the best solution for your pup, but if they’re doing the wrong exercise too much, it will actually have the opposite effect. Instead of a calm, relaxed dog, you’ll be left with one that’s even more excited than before. When it comes to exercising, you need to provide a varied activity schedule. This should include downregulation activities, including sniffing, chewing, or problem-solving - you could start with these 5 activities for a hyperactive dog

3. You’re waiting for them to grow out of it

If your dog finds normal situations challenging, then the best thing to do is get help from a trainer as the problem could grow.

The trainers at Calm Canine Academy say: “We want to be intervening young to break the cycle of hyperactivity, not letting it rehearse and strengthen.” 

4. You’re punishing them

Although it can be frustrating to handle a high-energy dog at times, you should avoid punishing them as it might just be a sign of an unmet need. Instead, try to find the root of the problem to help you find the best solution. 

5. You’re not doing anything about it

It’s easy to settle for unwanted behavior and get “stuck in patterns of frustration and reactivity”, but you shouldn’t leave the problem unaddressed. After adopting a suitable training method, you’ll see a world of difference in your dog over time. 

Want more advice like this? Here’s how to calm down a hyper dog and how to deal with a badly behaved dog

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Megan Milstead
Staff Writer

Megan is a Staff Writer on PetsRader, covering news, features and buying guides. She has a wealth of experience looking after animals, having grown up with dogs, cats and horses all of her life. She’s particularly interested in pet happiness and behavior, which she loves to research in her spare time. You’ll often find her watching webinars on reactivity in dogs or researching cat body language. She loves going the extra mile for her cats Chilli and Nala (who also help out with testing the best products for our buying guides). 

Megan studied BA Journalism at the University of Westminster, where she specialized in lifestyle journalism and was editor of Smoke Radio’s online magazine. She also graduated from West Herts College with a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Journalism. Before joining the PetsRadar family last year, she worked on the editorial team at Harrods and has spent most of her career writing for specialized titles, like RunningShoesGuru, Licklist and Mr. After Party. 

Megan works alongside qualified vets and accredited trainers to ensure you get the best advice possible. She is passionate about finding accurate and helpful answers to your pet-related questions.