VIPet Monthly Newsletter (Issue 9)

All About Breeds

(1) Keeping up with high-energy dog breeds

High-energy dog breeds make for fun exercise and play buddies - and can also be great “workers” if their energy is channelled into a productive task.

Within any breed, there is some variability in temperament. However, high-energy dogs tend to be:

  • Border Collies
  • Kelpies
  • Cattle Dogs
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Jack Russell Terriers
  • Aussie Shepherds
  • English Springer Spaniels
  • German Shepherds
  • Beagles

These breeds were bred for a specific “job” and want to be busy, so if their exercise and mental stimulation requirements aren’t met, they can develop undesirable behaviours, such as hyperactivity, escape tendencies, anxiety or destructiveness.

Ensure you meet the physical energy demands of your dog each day with activities suited to their capabilities. This can include long-lead walks or runs, off-lead running in a confined area, play with other dogs or ball games. An automatic “ball-launcher” toy in the backyard can also provide great entertainment for those really ball-obsessed dogs!

Mental stimulation is just as important for your pet, so ensure you provide a regular rotation of stimulating food, chew and puzzle toys for them to work out. If you are going to be away for long periods each day, consider trialling your pet at a reputable local doggy daycare facility, where they can have supervised free play-time with other similar dogs.

Lastly, giving your high-energy dog a “job” to do can be a really effective way of providing both mental and physical stimulation. Many busy dogs excel at advanced obedience or agility training, or activities such as flyball.

As a counter to all these stimulating activities, many high-energy dogs also benefit from a program of “conditioned relaxation”, where they are taught to relax on cue. A good dog behaviour trainer will be able to assist you with this.