I'll be honest. As someone who's spent a lot of time training working dogs there's not much that makes me heart go giddy more than a really active, one might say, boisterous dog. I love a dog who charges about the place, pulls on the lead and has an unending supply of energy. I do, however, appreciate that in the pet dog home a hyper-active, boisterous dog can be a problem. So here's our top 5 tips on how to better manage the behaviour of a naturally boisterous dog.
5) Mental stimulation is very important to most dogs but for some it can be the deciding factor between them living a happy fulfilled life or being a strain on their owner’s health! If you decide to own a breed which is known to need lots of mental stimulation as much as physical exercise you absolutely must be in a position to give it or the dog may become a genuine problem in the home through no fault of their own.
If you want a quiet, easy going pet dog then do your breed research well and don’t buy a Border Collie, Springer Spaniel, German Shepherd, Flatcoated Retriever for instance. Look at more sedate breeds who will fit well with your own lifestyle.
4) Does your dog have a serious behavioural deficiency? Some dogs like some people can be born with either too much of one chromosome or too little of another etc to the extent that you, as the dog’s owner might have done absolutely everything you possibly can, by the book and as well as you know how only to end up with a dog who you fell ‘ain't wired up right!!’. In such circumstances you simply have to be prepared to enlist the help and experience of a suitably qualified canine behaviour expert who will be able to take a look at your dog and advise you on how to have a better life together.
By all means do lots of research, read lots of books and speak to as many other dog owners as you can but it is not advisable to let serious behavioural problems linger and grow to such an extent that they can become almost incurable.
Your sleepless nights could be ended with just a few comforting words from a genuine dog behaviour specialist. A few good places to look for a behaviour expert or dog trainer would be the Association of Pet Dog Trainers www.apdt.com, www.petfriendlyworld.com or use forums for recommendations.
3) The great balls of fire debate! With male dogs there is a school of thought that says having them neutered may decrease their boisterousness. This is fairly controversial area with many pet behaviourists pointing out that a medical procedure is not necessarily going to be the answer to a problem that may be deep-routed in the dog’s brain rather than his b***s!.
Instead of advising to have Fido-fixed for his boisterous behaviour we strongly suggest you speak to a vet and a behavioural expert for a couple of professional opinions. If you’ve kept a diary of your dog’s behaviour this will be very useful at this juncture.
2) A dog’s physical, nutritional and mental requirements are directly related to the way they behave. High energy dogs tend to have high metabolisms, can be more prone to stomach upsets and mood changes and can also lose condition at the drop of a hat. It is absolutely essential if you own a boisterous, high energy dog that you know exactly what is needed to ensure their boisterousness and energy is converted positively.
Learning to understand pet food labels is a great start (see K9 Magazine issue 7 for a full article on this subject or delve further into www.k9magazine.com). Knowing that you own a high energy you need to make sure they are receiving the most suitable diet, training regime and lifestyle possible. Accepting the fact that your dog may well need more devotion than your friend’s sleepy Cavalier King Charles is important. Look on it as a special challenge and embrace it.
Don’t let your special dog end up in a shelter or get caught up in a vicious cycle of going from new owner to new owner because they were born with high energy. High energy nearly always translates to high personality and accepting your dog for how they are in conjunction with expert advice of how best to look after him or her will reap countless rewards for you both.
1) Get into dog training in a big way! If you’ve got a boisterous dog not only well they NEED lots of training they will positively thrive on it. You may have pictured a life with your dog where he or she was trained and behaving perfectly by the time they were seven months to a year old – if you own a naturally boisterous, high energy dog you can pretty much forget it. They need regular training sessions, lots of attention, lots of challenges and lots of stimulation.
Look for a dog training club or get together with some friends and make dog training a part of your and your dog’s life – you’ll find it rewarding and stimulating and you’ll live with a much more contented canine companion as a result.