Are you the owner of a high strung or restless dog? Is your dog easily bored, hyperactive, and always looking for the next challenge? Dealing with a restless dog can be distressing for some dog owners particularly if their dog spends a great deal of time indoors. What makes one dog nervous and restless while another seems calm and content? Certain dog breeds seem predisposed to restless, high strung behavior. Some examples of these breeds are Border collies, Chihuahuas, Vizslas, and German Shepherds. These dog breeds have a strong need to be actively engaged in activity and become bored easily. If you happen to share your home with a dog that’s constantly looking for action, what can you do to soothe the situation and return some peace to your home? Here are some ways to calm a restless dog:
Determine Why Your Dog is Restless
Although certain dog breeds have a tendency to be perpetually high strung and restless, if this is a new behavior for your dog, your dog could be in pain or experiencing discomfort. If this is not typical behavior for your dog, make an appointment with your vet to rule out medical causes for your dog’s restlessness. This will give you the reassurance you need that you’re dealing with a personality issue rather than a medical one.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
One of the most common reasons a dog becomes restless is a lack of exercise. Some dog breeds, particularly working dogs, need frequent exercise to expend nervous energy. A daily dog walk provides an opportunity for both of you to get your blood pumping and relieve the stress of the day. It’s also a great way to bond with your dog. Another option is to get out a ball or frisbee twice a day for a little fast paced activity. If you live in an area where outdoor exercise is difficult in the winter, consider investing in a dog treadmill. It takes a little training to get your dog accustomed to treadmill walking, but once accomplished, many dogs enjoy the stimulation.
Give Your Dog More Social Interaction
Sometimes restlessness comes from boredom and a lack of social stimulation. Restless dog syndrome is more common in homes that have a single dog. When there is more than one dog in a household, the dogs tend to entertain one another. Dogs are social creatures by nature and need frequent social interaction. If you’re not ready for a second dog, consider taking your dog to the dog park several times a week where he can freely interact with other canines. Another option is a day or two a week at a dog day care center. Most dog owners who take their dogs to day care centers say their dog is so exhausted after the visit that they sleep the rest of the evening.
Provide Your Dog with Stimulating Toys
While bones and balls will keep some dogs entertained, others need more stimulating toys to break their cycle of boredom. Two challenging toys are the hide-a-toy series where your dog is challenged to try to remove smaller toys hidden inside and treat toys such as the Buster cube where you can insert a dog cookie or other treat and your dog is challenged to reach the prize. To keep your dog from becoming bored with his favorite toys, don’t leave them lying around. Hide them so you can reintroduce them later. This helps to preserve the novelty factor.
Keeping a restless dog calm can be a challenge but with a little planning you can restore the peace to your home and to your dog.