Is a tired dog a good dog?

By Saro Boghozian, Expert Family Dog Trainer

Not necessarily. It all depends on the dog and the situation. In my opinion exercising a dog is different than tiring up a dog.

Many dog owners feel the need to tire up their dog in order to get a dog that behaves properly. In most cases that is how it looks. Many of my clients’ state that they see a big difference between when their dog is exercised more compare to when it has not been.

This is because ever since their relationship started, the dog owners have trained their dog a different philosophy, unknowingly. This philosophy tells the dog that “I will drain you out physically to the maximum level so therefore you are not going to be able to do anything after.”

In this philosophy the body gets tired but the mind has not learned anything which is the main reason why the dog misbehaves in the first place.

Let’s say a dog is misbehaving by pulling on the leash, barking at strangers and dogs, jumping on people and is not coming when called. So, one idea is to burn off its energy to tire it up to gain control over the behaviour.

The problem is that bad behaviours are still there no matter how long you exercise your dog. You need to work on eliminating the bad behaviour rather than tiring the dog out. If you focus on tiring out the dog rather than having a healthy exercise, you are building a stronger, fit, bad behaving dog. It is more likely that you will be masking the problem by hiding it under the rug.

Of course, if you get your dog tired, they won’t have the energy to show certain behaviour and that may be for a short period of time, but all the bad behaviors are still there even after exercising the dog for hours. I have seen dogs that can be exercised for many hours and still have the energy to do somemore activities. These are known as the high-energy, hyper dogs that have not learned to slow down.

Just because your dog is healthy and has the energy to run, play and exercise for hours and still be playful does not mean that you should provide more exercise. It is just not a natural thing for a dog to go on for hours. This produces a fit, over exercised and an over excited dog. An over exercised dog will always ask and require more and more as they become more fit.

It all comes down to controlling your dog’s behaviour by training your dog to be responsive to your commands, so you can tell it “to go” or “to stop”, “to slow down” or to “take a break”. If you allow your dog to keep going it will never learn when to call it quits and slow down. Instead, it will stress itself to ask for more and more exercise and excitement since that is all you provide and teach.

Over exercising not only effects your dog’s mental state of mind, but it also raises some physical issues. Over exercised dog’s body is prone to be fragile or creates flaws and injuries that may or may not be visible right away and may pose problems in near future.

An adult dog may have some hidden physical issues that may not be visible and over exercising will cause more damage to those parts of the body. In some cases you may add jogging and biking to your routine to an adult dog, but for a very short time and distance.

A young dog’s body is in its development stages and any overuse of the muscles and joints will have a life long lasting effects. A healthy, young dog needs a regular, short exercise routine that consists of short periods of playing with other dogs, playing with toys, walking and training.

Walking your dog for 40 minutes a day or allowing your dog to play with other dogs is the best exercise a dog can get on daily basis.

Some may say “…but my dog is not social with other dogs in order for it to play with them and exercise.” The answer is that you should work on your dog’s social skills then.

One last thing, you should always include some training routine to your dog’s exercise routine. This way you exercise the dog physically and mentally which is the healthier way of exercising a dog rather than only physically. This will make you and your dog to spend less time tiring each other and mostly train and bond with each other.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info] Saro received his expert dog trainer certification from The College of Canine Behavioural Science and is also a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers and does volunteer behaviour consultation with a number of dog rescue organizations. Saro’s play, praise and reward training classes are always in high demand as are his private one-on-one training sessions. Rather than using treats or gimmicks like shock collars, Saro’s training methods help owners understand how to use a dog’s natural intelligence to achieve success. [/author_info] [/author]