by Janine DeVault
Incessant barking, destructive chewing, obsessive digging, a general atmosphere of chaos and destruction — does any of this sound familiar? If your high-energy dog is driving you bonkers, you’ll be relieved to learn that there are possible solutions to your anguish.
When dogs lack sufficient exercise or mental stimulation, they often end up letting out their excess energy in destructive ways. Fortunately, simple training games and a regular exercise program might be all it takes to offer you and your pup some relief.
In this article, we’ll cover some simple methods to help calm your dog and restore order to your household.
Challenge Your Dog with Training Games
For many dogs, mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Engaging your pup in a training game is a wonderful way to challenge his mind while also bonding with him. There are countless training games to choose from, or you can come up with your own.
Try teaching your dog a new trick, such as shaking a paw or standing on his hind legs. Or, you may wish to teach him to play a game like hide-and-seek or to find a hidden treat.
Many dogs love training games, but remember to keep sessions short so neither of you grows frustrated. Typically 5 or 10 minutes is sufficient, but it will depend on your dog’s patience level.
Always end the session on a high note so you continue to build positive associations with these games.
Burn Energy with Regular Exercise
There’s no question that exercise is imperative for dogs. If your pup is young or a highly active breed, physical exercise should be a priority for both of you.
You will be amazed at what a difference a steady exercise routine will make in your dog’s behavior.
To add some mental stimulation to your daily exercise, be sure to switch up your walking routes. Alternate walks or hikes with trips to the dog park or games of fetch in your backyard. This will ensure your exercise sessions never grow stagnant for your dog.
Stimulate Your Pup with Puzzle Games
Puzzle games are another fantastic way to stimulate your dog’s brain and distract him from destructive or unwanted behaviors. There are all kinds of puzzle games on the market. Most of them are toys that enable you to hide treats inside. When your pup solves the puzzle, the treats are released!
These games are often a great option for pets who spend extended periods alone while their humans are at work. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, or just has tons of energy to burn, a puzzle game may be a positive distraction for him.
CBD Tinctures or Chews May Help Relax Your Pup
In some instances, exercise and brain games may not be enough to calm your dog. In those cases, you may wish to look into CBD chews or tinctures.
Early research indicates that “CBD has shown therapeutic efficacy in a range of animal models of anxiety and stress.” With this in mind, CBD chews may be a way to help keep your pet calm and relaxed, especially for days when exercise or brain games are just not an option.
Of course, it’s important to speak to your veterinarian before administering CBD products to your pet. Your vet will be able to help you make an educated decision about what is best for your pup.
Experiment Until You Find a Solution That Works
You may have to experiment with some or all of these methods before you determine what fits your dog’s needs. There are likely to be plenty of ups and downs as you search for the right combination of activities and products to calm your dog. However, with consistency and effort and plenty of trial and error, it’s entirely likely that your excessively energetic dog will transform into a low-maintenance pet in time!
Janine DeVault is a pet care writer, animal rescue advocate and former celebrity dog walker. She lives in Mexico with her three rescue pets, Maia, Fozzy and Kesi.