How to burn some energy and calm him down
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Thread: How to burn some energy and calm him down

  1. #1
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    How to burn some energy and calm him down

    Hi,
    I've had lots of dogs in the past, but I'm a first time puppy owner.
    My new Airedale has lots of energy and I am struggling to find ways to help him burn it off. I've used lots of toys but he gets board off them quickly and just wants to play fighting.
    I play with him only for a minute before he bites too hard and I have to ignore him for a short time. But even after half an hour he still had bundles of energy. He looses interest in toys and if I do not give him al my attention he starts eating the fence posts.

    He has not had his 2nd jabs and so i cant take him for a walk yet. I do walk him round the garden but after a couple of laps he sits down and refuses to walk any further, or wants to play.

    What can I do to burn some of his energy?!?!?

    Also, When I need him to calm down or when he gets too rough, I have been told to lay him on the floor and hold him down until he 'submits' by staying there on his own. He yelps and protests for a while but ultimately it does work. I just wanted to know if this is cruel and will result in negative behaviour later on?

    Thank you for your time!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member katielou's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    Quote Originally Posted by lewiswalks View Post


    Also, When I need him to calm down or when he gets too rough, I have been told to lay him on the floor and hold him down until he 'submits' by staying there on his own. He yelps and protests for a while but ultimately it does work. I just wanted to know if this is cruel and will result in negative behaviour later on?
    NO NO NO NO NO do not do this ever!!

    You need to give him time outs if he gets to rough playing.

    Also lots of short 2 or 3 minute training sessions throughout the day!

    "If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around."
    - cowboy wisdom

  4. #3
    Senior Member Sendiulino's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    The Alpha-roll (or submission-roll) works for some and not for others. I strongly disagree with the "no no no" of the above poster -- the fact is, it DOES work for some, but not at all for others.

    The main argument is that the practice will bring on aggressive behavior or fear-based behavior in the future.. ie: the dog will start to fear you. But frankly there are hundreds if not thousands of people out there using this technique with no such negative results.

    My opinion? Do what works. I've tried alpha-rolling Sam and it just doesn't work for us. Sam would fight you to the bitter end and even if she does "give up", trust me she's only faking it. So we did that all of a few times max when we realized it was just not the right technique for our dog.

    When Sam gets too rough now, I'll do a couple of things: the first thing people will tell you to do is walk away / ignore the dog / stand still and ignore him / "be a tree" / etc. Guess what? This doesn't work for my dog either, haha. So I've had to come up with alternative ways of dealing with it.

    Usually, if she gets too rough now, I'll send her into training-mode. Rough behavior means we're going to stop playing and start training.. sit, down, touch, and spin are her current commands, and she's working on a leg weave which involves a lot of focus from her. That diverts her attention away from "crazy" and into "focused" mode. It keeps her mind busy -- what people often don't realize is that a dog can get tons of physical exercise but still be rowdy because their mind hasn't gotten a work-out. Most dogs are fairly intelligent to some degree, and intelligence breeds boredom when there's no mental stimulation.

    So work on training.. we use training treats that we cut into tiny pieces so that she doesn't eat too too many, and we always buy high-quality treats (no corn, no [insert ingredient here we don't like], essentially the same standards we have for her food but in a training treat) because we know she'll get many training sessions during any given day.

    The other thing we do with Sam is we just let her play rough. This is something almost no one is going to agree with me on, but frankly we're finding that it works. If she wants to play rough, fine: I'll get a rope, I'll give her one end, and we'll play tug of war all she wants. The only thing is: at the end of the game, I get the toy. Not her. Never her. I never let her pull the toy away from me.. that way she learns who's boss without me having to put her down on her side.

    Another thought: Play ball, this is another thing we do with Sam. It usually snaps the "rowdy" right out of her while she flies after each throw of the ball. When she brings it back, she likes to be possessive and play tug with it. That's fine as far as we're concerned, but just like above, we get the toy in the end whether she wants to give it up at first or not.

    So between time in the yard, time playing games, time training, playing ball.. she gets a lot of stimulation. Still though, there are times when we KNOW she's had a lot of stimulation but she's still not really calming down.

    At this point in time, we will sit in chairs and pull our feet up and ignore her to let her calm down on her own. We -never- use time-outs as it stands right now, because we do not want her to associate the place she spends the most time (which is where we'd put her in a time-out situation) with "negative". That isn't good for our situation.

    So we do ignore her.. but unlike most recommendations, with our dog you can't ignore her while leaving your feet on the ground. This is because she will bite and pull at your pants, feet, legs, etc.. so we've determined getting up into a chair and ignoring her is best. Eventually, she quickly learns she must entertain herself, or go to sleep.. usually a nap is then had.

    Just a few thoughts.
    Samantha | Miniature Eskie | DOB: 3/28/2011
    Jasper | Eskie x Papillon | DOB: 6/29/2010


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    Senior Member Charis's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    I disagree with any "alpha" or "submission" rolling for multiple reasons but I won't delve into that now. To address your problem and how I would deal with it.
    One of my dogs is a hyper and occasionally (was all the time) mouthy dog. We use lots of methods for the energy but only a few will work for you since you have a young puppy without all of his shots. Train, train, train. Work his mind...it wears him out as well. Always end on a positive note in training with something the dog can do well and easily. Train for what the pup does naturally to get the ball rolling (I find shaping an already occuring behavior trains faster than one they aren't doing on their own). As an example my other dog would paw at me to get my attention so I started saying shake every time she did and taking her paw in my hand. She learned shake in an afternoon. Learn what motivates your dog. Is it food? Attention? Toys? All of the above? What is he willing to work for. ONe of my dogs takes a good pet as reward enough the other needs something yummy to be rewarded and neither has any interest in toys. Do puzzles - my dogs have puzzle toys (kongs as they are fairly hard to destroy) I stuff them, freeze them and they eat dinner out of a hard plastic kong food dispenser puzzle. We demand good behavior (in a nice way). You must sit before I'll open the door for the walk, you have to sit and wait for dinner, you have to go in your crate before I'll give you your kong, etc. When we started a new routine (sit and wait before dinner) I found giving myself extra time was always needed. If you only have 15 min to feed them dog start earlier because you patience is going to have to out do the dog not following the command. When we started having the dogs sit before we would let them through a door - it literally took 30 mins. for one dog to get it. The other had it down in five. Give yourself more time than you think you need to start a new behavior.
    More later...for now I have to get ready for work...

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    Senior Member +two's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    I know my answer is going to controversial but . . .

    I don't know how old your dog is, but I don't think it is a terrible idea to take your dog for a walk. Sure, there are cases of puppies getting sick from being exposed to germs they hadn't built a tolerance to yet, but there are a whole lot more puppies being euthanized because they were too rambunctious. Also, many shelters spay/neuter and fully vaccinate their puppies before they adopt them out.

    Obviously, don't take your puppy to the dog park or any other area that is highly populated by other dogs or wild animals. If you have to, drive somewhere appropriate.

    When I got Tyler we lived on the second floor of an apartment. There was no grass to speak of and definitely no yard. As a super hyper active, mouthy, destructive puppy I was at my wits end. The thing that saved our relationship was getting O-U-T. We had no other options.

    Its inevitably up to you to decide, but weigh all the pros and cons.

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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    I also strongly agree with the alpha roll. You never know when a negative result will pop up. In other words, one poster said there are many people who do it, but have no negative results, but, just because you don't have any negative results now doesn't mean your dog won't start to get freaked out by it as it continues to go on.

    Also, just because your dog doesn't ACT out in a negative way because of alpha rolling doesn't mean he doesn't have fear issues because of it.

    There is current info backing the move AWAY from "dominance" alpha rolling/pinning type behavior.

    SO, redirect or distract the dog from the overly hyper behavior by starting a mini training session, or asking for a command, and then initiating a game. Build your own home-made type obstacle course to start agility type stuff in your yard.

    Play hide and seek, or other interactive games that make him think, do the training, agility stuff, training, but you don't need to roll.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Greater Swiss's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    We have had similar problems with our puppy. One thing that I've found helps burn energy in the house is use a laser. You can get them at pet departments, office supply stores etc....the cheap ones are just a high powered light I think, but it does the same deal. Point it at the floor and let 'er rip just don't get it in the eyes. Outside we have been using leafy branches off of some of the trees in the back yard.....our pup will chase those like crazy while we wave it around! heck....sacrifice something safe that you don't need.... A friend of mine leaves crumpled up balls of paper on the floor for her dog to shred when she goes away (the dog never goes for regular, uncrumpled paper)....it works! Of course if your puppy is still prone to swallowing everything that goes in its mouth this may not be good.....

    One other thought, any physical confrontation with our pup riles her up more,she thinks its time to play harder (so alpha rolling is a BAD idea for that reason too!), but we have found a way to restrain her that seems to work fairly well without being too forceful or riling her up. I know most people won't like this technique, since it does restrain but sometimes you have to do something to spare yourself. Our girl gets all riled up (she is 5 months old, and getting larger) and starts jumping and biting at us, taking skin etc.....too painful to take, but can't get away or hold her back sometimes. What I do is put our legs on either side, hold her collar from above and keep legs JUST close enough together to keep her from jumping or squirming out easily, but not enough to hurt her at all or restrict breathing. Its hard to describe it exactly.....but trust me, it isn't as bad as it might sound, and it certainly doesn't involve pinning her to the floor and is better than losing your temper and doing something worse! I have neck and shoulder problems so it spares me more damage as well. We talk to her soothingly (despite bruises and tooth marks), and she'll usually calm down enough to be able to take her inside, or tether her in a way we can get away. Often she'll just calm down, she gets a treat, then we do a few "drills" sit,down, etc....Lots of treats when calm. I'll say again though, we ONLY do this if it is a situation that we have NO way of getting away without her taking more flesh and nothing is close enough to encourage her to chew instead! Trying to hold her by the collar she'll twist her head around, choking herself and bite us more....not a good scene. This is the only thing we could do since she is very strong....I'm sure smaller dogs give much more gentle possibilities.
    Just a couple of thoughts and suggestions....I'm sure the restraining bit will get some negative reviews, but like I said, we do it extremely rarely, and it has worked for us in those exceedingly violent playtimes.

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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    Hello,
    my little rescue dog is also a high energy dog. All the advice so far is what I'd suggest, but will try and make this short (with bullets).
    o have also heard alpha roll not so good - as can result in your being bitten
    o highly recommend obedience classes - helps with socialization and you learn lots too
    o good book: High Energy Dogs - ISBN 978-0-7938-0670-6
    o Tugging could lead to nipping - so at our home - we avoid this
    o Run with the pup, or have them run to chase balls
    o Any training will stimulate the mind so dog does not get bored (several short sessions)
    o Join a local Meet Up for Dogs - so can walk with others, and get great tips from locals

  10. #9
    Member Dani323's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    I strongly disagree with using an "alpha roll". It came from studying wolves and how a submissive wolf would roll on it's side for the dominant wolf. No one forces the wolf on it's side and holds it there. This is where negative reactions from dogs can come into play and it can just make a dog very unsure and fearful.
    To answer your question though have you tried playing "go find" with treats or toys around the house? I find with my puppy anything that makes her think tires her out much quicker then just tossing a ball. Although fetch is an easy way to burn off energy at first and then go into some training.
    Try teaching sit, down, and stand. And when you do them quickly one after the other it really tires them out. In the training class we attend they call it puppy push ups and Chloe tires quickly from them.
    And lastly I also agree short walks in a less dog populated area would probably be fine. My parents live on a huge piece of property with a wooded area so I walked her there at the beginning because I know that there is hardly anyone back there.

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    Senior Member Greater Swiss's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    Quote Originally Posted by Dani323 View Post
    I strongly disagree with using an "alpha roll". ........This is where negative reactions from dogs can come into play and it can just make a dog very unsure and fearful. .......Try teaching sit, down, and stand. And when you do them quickly one after the other it really tires them out.
    Some great advice...but the OP might be having a similar problem to the one I've had (and still have occasionally). Some days the puppy just wants to play hard or is teething making biting even more appealing, (or a young puppy doesn't quite grasp sit, down and stand, or gets bored of the puppy push ups), and gets WAY out of hand. Although a big key to dealing with this attitude is catching the first signs of it and trying to redirect to something energy burning other than eating owners lol....easy signals to miss sometimes. I think the reason the idea of the alpha roll appeals is to control those outbursts in a direct way so the biting and bloodshed stops NOW.....of course the alpha roll can cause more problems, which is why I suggested my method which I hope isn't quite as dominating and aggressive and does protect the owner for a second or two so they can gather their wits and find a solution or redirection. If anybody else has ways of "neutralizing" a hyper bitey puppy without causing problems I'm sure they would be helpful!

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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    We tried to leave the room whenever Chloe got to mouthy like another Poster suggested but it didn't work for us, it was like she barely noticed we left the room. So for about a week we kept her leash on and whenever she would get to crazy with the biting or did anything we didn't want ( digging on the carpet, chewing on a couch cushion) we would make a loud "oh uh" noise and take her into the foyer. We would ask her to sit and as soon as she did we walked back into the living room. We only had to do it for a week and now if she gets too crazy all we have to say is "uh oh" and she calms down, well most of the time anyway.

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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    The Millan method and the Alpha roll have no basis in science. It's a short term solution that degrades the relationship, as can other force based methods.

    1. When he nips you, trying Yelping to mark the behavior, then ignore him. There's an entire process called "Bite Inhibition" (See the Sticky: The Bite Stops Here) that's effective for most people, although it can take 3 days before you see progress. If you're interested, I can post more detail.
    2. Talk to your Vet about Parvo and Distemper in your area, but I believe that you can invite older pups over to your house, who have had their 3 sets of shots, and let them tussle. If you can find one compatible wrestling partner, I believe that both you and the other owner will be happy with the energy drain.
    3. Training is a terrific way to drain energy. You can teach him to Sit, Down, Shake, Come, etc. when he's 6 weeks old ! And, you can start on Fetch. These are as good as a daily walk for a young pup.
    4. See the two free books for other ideas: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads

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    Senior Member Greater Swiss's Avatar
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    Arrow Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    We found a good one the other day, and since the OP originally was talking about burning energy I thought I'd share it:
    We got a rubber squeak toy (a rubber chicken actually lol), hung it from a large hook that was in our ceiling (dunno why it was there, but it was convenient :P ) JUST above Caeda's head level, squeaked it and swung it for her. She jumped and batted at it for quite a while and it wore her right out If you have a "no jumping/playing" in the house rule, or flooring easily scratched by puppy claws its a bad idea, but she had a blast, didn't nip at us once. This might be a bit much for a really young puppy, but Caeda is only 5 months and it was fantastic (just make sure she cant' actually get the thing down and chew on it...it isn't the best chew toy)

    Anyway, I know training can tire a puppy, and sniffing etc....but sometimes, they just need to play!! We've been looking for ways for her to play sort of hard without getting overstimulated outside every time (or dealing with 3 day downpour of rain constantly), and this one helped.

    Good luck!!

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    Senior Member zimandtakandgrrandmimi's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    for an easy exercise outlet, google "flirtpole".

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    Senior Member +two's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down


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    Senior Member Greater Swiss's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    Quote Originally Posted by zimandtakandgrrandmimi View Post
    for an easy exercise outlet, google "flirtpole".
    A big 'ol leafy branch will do the same things we live out in the boonies and have an abundance. It is an easy outlet and burns ours out too!

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    Senior Member minihart's Avatar
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    Re: How to burn some energy and calm him down

    From my own experience, I find mentally-stimulating activities are the best for draining energy.

    Our pup is a huge social butterfly, and could spend hours in the dog park or trotting around the neighbourhood saying hi to other dogs. When we put his brain to work, however, he tends to conk out faster and for longer.

    Try some quick training exercises and break them up with playing. The harder his mind has to work, the more tired he will likely be.

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