Just like people, dogs have individual personalities and traits. Certain breeds tend to produce high-energy types (such as Pointers, Setters, Fox Terriers, and Huskies). Within each litter of puppies there is also a variety of personality types—some lively, others laid back. If you adopted a dog who exhibits a high-energy personality, the following information will be helpful in establishing your new relationship.

Traits of a high-energy dog

  • If left alone for long periods of time, the high-energy dog will get into trouble. She may bark, whine, dig, jump the fence or chew. She may turn to self-mutilation (such as excessive chewing or licking of herself) to release energy.
  • Without proper training, the high-energy dog may injure small children in her exuberance. When meeting new people, this dog often jumps up on or knocks over people.
  • Without something to do or direction in which to do it, the high-energy dog is easily bored. Again, this can lead to an outlet through problem behavior.

Living with a high-energy dog

  • Adopt a high-energy dog only if you are willing to make her an active member of your household. These dogs do not do well if isolated for long stretches of time. This includes being left alone in the backyard while you work all day. If you have a high-energy dog and must leave her alone for eight to 10 hours, make certain you have a dog-proof area in which to keep her, such as in the house or garage. Also make sure that she has lots of toys with which to occupy herself along with proper chew toys for chewing.
  • Before you leave and when you get home give your dog some good physical exercise. Play fetch, go on a jog, or take her to a securely fenced-in dog park. This dog needs to use up her energy. If you establish a daily exercise routine—two to three times a day for 10 to 30 minutes—the dog will learn to relax during the day until it’s time for her outing.
  • Create hobbies for your dog such as hiking, flyball or agility training.
  • Do not feed an adult dog high protein dog food. This type of food makes some dogs even more high-energy. A good quality, lower protein food will help maintain the dog’s weight and help calm her down. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on brands.
  • This dog needs direction. Obedience training can work wonders and should be a part of your dog’s daily routine. When the dog becomes excited, often a simple “down-stay” can give the guidance necessary to help the dog relax. Plus, the mental exercise of learning new things will help burn some of that energy as well.

High-energy dogs want and need to work. They need mental as well as physical exercise. These dogs require a lot of your involvement and without it they can, and will, become problem dogs. Given the right situation and guidance, these dogs can become wonderful additions to your home.