Is your dog an adrenalin junkie? Do they have boundless energy, always on the go, barking, counter surfing, attention seeking, jumping up as soon as you move, have to be involved in everything?
Adrenalin is a chemical which rushes through our bodies when we are excited, stressed or anxious. It can make us feel good and we can even get addicted to this feeling. Increasingly, I’m meeting dogs who can’t relax or settle, who are ‘on duty’ all the time. Often these dogs are well exercised – but they just can’t switch off.
The common denominator in these cases is that your dog may well be an adrenalin junkie. The more excitement they get, the more they need. The more you play fetch, the longer they want to play. They learn to enjoy the adrenalin rush which makes them feel good and so it continues.
Often the owner will try to solve the problem by increasing the exercise, but this just makes the dog fitter rather than wearing him out.
If this sounds familiar here are five things you can do to help your dog.
Give your dog adequate ‘time out’, preferably in a covered crate for them to settle down and relax. Giving your dog a chew toy will help to calm him too.
Increase structured activities - brain games, interactive toys and obedience training done calmly and quietly rather than a frenzied game of fetch. Mental exercise will wear your dog out faster than physical exercise.
Retrain your dog to react differently to triggers that cause excitement - homecoming, children playing and visitors for example. Only give rewards for quiet controlled behaviour.
Teach your dog self control - ask for a sit and wait, building up the time they can stay in place gradually.
Consider enrolling on a Tellington Touch course -you will learn how to calm your dog using specific massage techniques.
It can be very tiring having a ‘full on’ dog but it is possible to change their behaviour. If in doubt do speak with your vet or contact a local trainer for advice.