In a blur of flying legs and black fur, the excited four-year-old Labrador Retriever tears across the yard in pursuit of a bouncing tennis ball, a spray of dirt and grass in his wake.
"My arm is getting tired!" laughs PAWS Behavior Lead Kristi Binau. She has been throwing the ball for JR and Annie, two of the larger dogs currently in care at PAWS, to give them some extra exercise and playtime.
"We want to make sure the animals are getting sufficient exercise, especially our high-energy dogs," says Binau.
Just like people, dogs have individual personalities and traits. Certain breeds tend to produce high-energy types (such as Pointers, Setters, Fox Terriers, and Huskies). Labrador Retrievers like JR are among these high-energy breeds that can develop undesirable behaviors unless they receive a balanced amount of food and plenty of exercise.
If you have a high-energy dog at home, or are thinking of adopting a typically high-energy breed, here are a few helpful hints:
- Avoid too much alone-time.
Try not to leave your high-energy pet home alone for long stretches of time. If you must leave your dog for eight hours or more, make sure they have lots of toys with which to occupy themselves, and that the room you leave them in is dog-proof. Another good option is to hire a dog-walker, pet sitter or neighbor to play with your pup during the day while you are at work.
- Establish an exercise routine.
Create a reliable exercise regimen with twice-daily walks, a jog around the neighborhood or playtime at an off-leash dog park before and after work. "It is important that dogs get at least 30 minutes of heart-pounding exercise each day," says Binau. "So visiting the dog park once a week is great, but should not be the only means of exercise." A regular, consistent exercise routine will teach your dog to relax during the day when you aren't home
- Sign them up for school.
For puppies less than six months of age, choose a puppy kindergarten or “good manners” class that will get you started in obedience training and help channel their energy. For juveniles or adult dogs, try a flyball or agility training course.