Active Dog Advice

General advice for owners of hyperactive or active dogs

Why is my dog so hyperactive ?

We all know the senario, you walk your dog 3 times a day, each dog walk lasts for 30 min to 1 hour but still your dog wants more or you have been playing in the garden with a ball but nothing seems to wear your dog out.

On this page we hope to help you find suitable advice, and to give you ideas on how to help calm an active dog.

If it is just products for a hyperactive dog you are looking for, then you have come to the right place. At 4activedogs.co.uk we have just what you are looking for.

Agility is often a great way for your dog to get fit and to stimulate their mind, but if dog agility is not your thing, well there are many other activities you and your dog can do. (If you are looking to purchase dog agility equipment click here )

DOG GAMES & ACTIVITIES

Lively dogs need both physical exercise and mental stimulation to keep them satisfied. If you don’t do enough to keep them occupied, you may end up with a dog who is hyperactive and always up to mischief. Many bad habits such as pulling on a lead, nuisance barking, chewing etc can be helped by keeping your dog both mentally and physically active. Some of these ideas involve little or no specialist equipment. Please feel free to email us with any new ideas or games we can add to our list.

Select from the green links below

General Advice
Dog Teaser
Tug of War

Fetch
Hide and Seek
Doggy in the Middle
Tracking
Water Play
Walking With a Backpack
Cycling
Jogging
Running
Agility
Scurry or Bounce
Fly Ball
Long Jump Dash and Splash, Jetty dogs or dock dogs
Dog Tricks
Healwork to Music or Doggy Dancing
Gun Dog Trials

General Advice

If you are complaining about owning a hyperactive dog, the first thing to do is look at your routine. If you are the type of person who manages to fit in a dog walk a couple of times a week because of your other commitments, and then when you do find time to take your dog out he then pulls you down the street so it’s not even an enjoyable experience, then you need to read on.

Most fit and healthy dogs need to be walked for at least 40 minutes every day without fail. Try to get into a routine of going for a walk every morning and / or evening, (get up a bit earlier if you need to!!) Regular exercise in itself will help to calm most dogs down. Once you get back from the walk, your dog should find it easier to concentrate so this is a good time to spend 10-15 minutes doing some training with your dog. By teaching your dog a new trick, or practicing obedience, your dog will be using his brain too. You should then be able to have a few hours with a relaxed dog.

Most dogs need to go out in the garden approx every four hours, but rather than just opening the door and letting your dog out for a wee, go outside with him and have a game. It’s amazing how much a 10 minute game of fetch with a fling ball, a tug of war or a play with a dog teaser can tyre your dog out.

Try to involve your dog in as many family activities as you can. At the weekend you can take your dog out on a long walk with a backpack on so he can carry his own water and toys, or go for a cycle ride with the whole family including the dog. An hour at the local park can incorporate many games with your dog such as ‘hide and seek’ or ‘doggy in the middle’ and if you enjoy jogging or running yourself, then there is no need to leave the dog behind.

DOG GAMES

Dog Teaser

This is a great way of tiring a lively dog out in even the smallest of gardens. All you need is a bamboo stick with a piece of string tied to one end. On the other end of the string tie something light (A sponge or soft toy will do the trick.) Move the bamboo cane, so that the light object wriggles across the floor. Once the dog is interested in the object and is trying to pounce on it, you can then start flicking it up in the air, which will make your dog jump for it. If your dog is not interested to start with, try smearing something smelly on the object such as kong paste. For safety reasons it is best not to let the dog come into contact with the stick or the string. 

Tug of war

Playing tug of war with your dog is good fun. Choose a specially made dog toy for this purpose (Either a rope toy or a tough rubber tug toy).

Fetch

Take a game of fetch to a new level by purchasing a ball launcher. These come in various, shapes and sizes, but all have one thing in common; your dog will have to run a lot further to fetch the ball back to you. A game of frisbee can also be great fun for you and your dog.

Hide and Seek

There are two versions of this game that can both be played indoors or better still outside.

1) This involves two or more adults or children, plus a playful dog and is great for helping with recall training. One person distracts the dog while the other goes and hides. The hiding person then calls the dog and when found, the dog is rewarded with a treat or a quick game with a toy. Meanwhile the next person should go and hide and then again call the dog to them, again reward the dog when he finds you. This game can continue, in the same manner until you run out of hiding places or get bored. It is best to keep the hiding places simple, until the dog has got the hang of the game.

2) The second version involves hiding food or toys around the house or garden. Either shut the dog in a room, or let someone else distract the dog while you hide your dogs favourite toy or treats, or a mixture of the two (e.g. a stuffed kong). Then release the hound to go and find them. While your dog gets the hang of this game, you may need to encourage him to hunt around for it, but once they become experts, you can hide the toy or treat in more challenging places.

Doggy in the Middle

This is a great game that 2 or more adults or children can play with a dog, as long as the dog does not get too over exited (always supervise young children when playing with a dog.) Make sure you have a stash of several tennis balls. Start throwing the ball to each other and the dog should run backwards and forwards between the throwers. Every so often, throw the ball up in the air so that the dog can catch it. Once the dog has the ball, continue the game with a new ball, rather than trying to take the ball away from the dog. It is a good idea to touch the dog occasionally when he runs past, so he knows he is still included in the game. If the dog gets over excited and tries to jump up at you, stop the game immediately and walk away.

Tracking

If you have a dog with a good nose that enjoys sniffing, create atrail for him to track. Leave your dog in the house or get somebody to keep him distracted while you make a trail. Drag something across the ground that smells of you e.g. an item of clothing that you have been wearing. At the end of the trail, leave a toy or a treat. Retrace your steps, then you can release your dog. If your dog is a natural tracker, It wont take your dog long to get the hang of it.

Water Play

In the hot weather, playing in water is great fun for your dog. If you are lucky enough to have a safe place for your dog to swim nearby, either a large pond, a river, or even the sea; invest in water toys.  These can be thrown in the water for your dog to fetch. The toys will float and are usually brightly coloured so your dog can find them easily. For the garden, you can invest in a solid plastic paddling pool / sand pit, fill it with water and throw toys in for your dog to fetch out.

Walking with a backpack

If you have a lively dog that won’t tire when you take him on his daily walks, why not make him work a bit harder. Try walking him with a dog back pack on his back. He can carry his own bottle of water, fold up bowl and some toys. Start of with a light backpack until he gets used to wearing it, then load it up with an equal weight on each side. If you think your dog may suffer from back problems, get him fully checked out by a vet first.

Cycling

If you are a keen cyclist, there is no reason to leave your dog behind. We sell purpose made bike distance keepers, which attach to the saddle bar of your bicycle. There is a spring on the end and a stretchy lead which attaches to your dogs collar or harness (A padded harness is safer). Your dog must be well trained to voice commands before attempting to cycle with your dog. Choose a safe, quiet cycle route to use while your dog gets used to running along side the bike.

Jogging

If you enjoy jogging with your dog, there are several types of jogging leads that can make life easier. Hands Free Jogging leads, which attach around your waist, and have a stretchy lead for your dog, mean that you have both hands free to hold dumbbells etc. If you prefer to hold your dogs lead, Ruffwear have produced a specially designed lead for jogging, you can even buy elasticated couplers, for jogging with two dogs.

Running

If you would like to take jogging with your dog one step further, how about CaniX. You can take part in specially organised competitive events that are dotted around the country, most consist of 2.5km or 5km runs.

Agility

Is a great way of keeping an active dog busy. There is a large range of agility equipment which can be purchased for the garden, and joining a local agility club is a great way of meeting like minded people with dogs.

Scurry or Bounce

If you have a dog that loves to jump, a great way of improving your recall, and having fun at the same time is the bounce or scurry. Teach your dog to jump over a single jump first, then place 3 or 4 small jumps in a row. Have one person at each end of the row of jumps with treats, and take turns calling your dog so he jumps over the row of jumps and comes to you for a treat. Some dog shows have scurry competitions and this is also a good way to start training for Flyball.

Flyball

Flyball is a great way of keeping your dog fit, and socialising at the same time as it is usually done as a team sport. The dog is sent down a row of jumps, touches a target with his front paws to release a ball, then once the ball has been caught, the dog must race back over the jumps to the handler. Find a local flyball club for more details.

Long Jump

As the name suggests, this is an activity that tests the length of your dogs jump. It is carried out at some fun dog shows, but it can quite easily be practiced at home. Using bamboo canes, or pieces of plastic pipe, raised a few inches above the ground, encourage your dog to jump over them. To encourage your dog to jump, a tennis ball can be thrown for your dog to chase, or a second person can call the dog from the other end of the jump. You can gradually add more poles, to make the jump longer. Don’t forget to measure the distance between the first and last pole to see how far your dog can jump.

Dash and Splash, Jetty Dogs or Dock Dogs

These are all various names for the same doggy water sport. Your dog is taught to run along a ‘Jetty’ and jump in to the water below. The length of the dogs jump is measured, with the longest jump pf the day winning. These are often found at dog shows dotted around the country, so if your dog loves jumping into water, keep an eye out for a show local to you.

Dog Tricks

Lively dogs will often settle down if they are encouraged to use their brain more. Teaching your dog to do various tricks from rollovers to tidying his toys away or weaving in and out of your legs as you walk, can be great fun for you and your dog. These can be taught using clicker training, or any other method of positive reward training.

Healwork to music or Doggy dancing

If your dog enjoys learning tricks, you can put these into a sequence accompanied by music and you and your dog can dance. There are many shows where you can compete in heelwork to music, or you can just do it for fun.

Gun dog trials

If you have a gun dog breed, you can train your dog to carry out the job that they were trained for. This combines a mixture of obedience, tracking, retrieval and recall training

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