Engage Your Dog at Any Energy Level
It’s summer! You know what that means - longer days, later sunsets, and unlimited trips to the beach, dog park, or your dog’s favorite hangout spot.
For many owners of high energy dogs, this is true - many even creating strict toy and exercise schedules simply to help them burn some of that endless energy!
For others, this can lead to feeling intimidated and concerned that they aren’t doing enough for their dog.
Naturally, there’s going to be times that your energy doesn’t quite match that of your furry companion’s. You may not be ready to play at 6:00 a.m. after that first walk of the day, or late into the evening after an exhausting week.
What if your dog has too much energy? And you may be wondering...what’s the first step to managing my dog’s energy?
We’re here to help. We’ve created an all-inclusive guide for different ways to engage your dog, no matter what their energy level!
You can use this any day of the year - and deepen your relationship with your dog as you go.
Scanning through? Jump ahead to a specific section on how to help your dog thrive at any energy level:
Get Informed - Assess Your Dog’s Energy Level
Did you know that each dog breed has a different average baseline level of energy that they show throughout the day?
That’s right - no two breeds are exactly alike. In fact, it’s quite the opposite!
Size also doesn’t play much of a role when it comes to energy. In fact, some of the smaller breeds (i.e. Welsh Corgis, Russell Terriers & Beagles) make the American Kennel Club’s list of Top 15 Most Energetic Dogs.
That’s right - your dog may simply be bred to be fast! (And with the desire to go even faster...and play...at 3:00 a.m. 😜)If your dog is considered a low-energy breed (for example: Shih Tzu’s & Pugs) - they need (and desire) minimal exercise. You may need to look for other ways to engage with them and encourage exercise.
Is it normal to be exhausted with a new puppy? If you have a puppy, this can be true no matter what breed of dog it is.
Puppies are naturally enthusiastic and energetic by nature. They are discovering the wide, wonderful world of smells, toys, and their environment.
If you want more information specifically about puppy energy management from birth through 1-2 years, we love Purina’s puppy energy guide.
No matter the category, energy management is a crucial first step to creating a healthy and happy arrangement between you and your best friend.
Once you determine what category your dog falls into, planning activities and scheduling exercise time will get a lot easier.
Learn Your Dog - Follow The Cues
Dogs are very emotionally in-touch creatures. Much like humans, dogs have a variety of body language they use to communicate their needs with each other - and us!
For example, if your dog wants to play and romp with you, he or she may…
- Engage with you - and wait for you to engage with them
- Wiggling the tail and back/rear area, especially while jumping
- Barking, growling, yipping, or any other noise while looking at you
The key here is them attempting to engage in behaviors with you. While there are several guides online regarding dog behavior in play, only you truly know your dog best - and you’ve been around to see and watch behavioral patterns and preferences develop!
No matter your dog’s energy level, you can always watch and read the cues to determine when they want to play - and when they want to stay.
Now that you know how to gauge your dog’s baseline energy levels & needs by breed and behavior, let’s dive into some of the different ways you can engage - together!
Jam Out or Wind Down - Your Dog and the Power of Music
Just like humans, dogs can have physical and emotional responses to music you play around the house! You can use this tool in so many situations - to influence your dog’s moods, help them calm down if they are anxiety prone, or have a dance party with your pooch.
Music has been shown to influence dogs’ quality of life so much that animal behaviorists are in process of formalizing the practice and acknowledge that it is a low-cost way to bring great benefit to your animal’s physical and mental health!
Studies have shown that classical music specifically uses notes that can calm your animal - but researchers advise encouraging variety and avoiding limiting your dog to only one genre of music. Some dogs may even show preference to different types of music - just like we do.
When your pup is in a calmer emotional state, their physical state is more at rest - and can result in them being healthier all-around. Some physiological changes that happen when your dog is calm can be lower blood pressure, and the capacity for rest - which is very important in a growing dog!
Our dogs, Willow and Dilla, love music so much, they’ve compiled a list of their top calming songs just for you and your dog. You can take a look here - we’re sure your dog will love it!
Walks - Turning Routine into Play
Walks aren’t just walks to our dogs. They are opportunities to connect, bond, and learn to read their human’s cues - and they can be one of the top inexpensive choices you have when it comes to managing your dog’s energy levels.
For your high-energy breeds, this affords you an opportunity to help them explore and get out that extra energy while building healthy habits! Encourage them to discover their surroundings and branch out onto new paths and trails - full of new smells, sights, and sounds! Mental stimulation for energy management is just as important as physical stimulation - and can help both of you return home feeling refreshed and ready to rest.
If your pal views walks as more of a chore than an adventure, you can use this as an opportunity to encourage daily regular exercise - greatly benefiting their long term health. If you do not currently have set times of day that you walk, this can be helpful to establish...especially if your dog needs extra encouragement to get out the door.
Above all, safety is our number one priority when walking our dogs. But, no one ever said that safety measures have to be boring! Walk the streets with your friend in style in our one of our custom dog collars. Available in 5 different colors, each collar is color-customized & engraved with your dog’s name and your phone number to ensure that they’ll be safely returned if they get loose.SHOP NOW
Soft to the touch
Leather Dog Collar & Leash Set
Beautiful leather padded collar and leash for the pup in need of something simple and fashionable for their daily walkies. Available in 5 vibrant colors: Seafoam Green, Steel Blue, Dragon Fruit, Pink Flamingo and Milk Chocolate.
Alternatively, if your dog isn’t the collar-loving type (or if he or she’s an escape artist,) you’re in luck!SHOP HARNESS
Prints so Sweet
Yummy Dog Harness & Collar Set
Fun, fashionable and functional makes this the perfect summer harness, collar and leash set for your little angel. Available in 4 prints: Strawberry, Cherry, Watermelon and Fruit Salad.
Toys, Toys, & More Toys
For so many busy owners, playtime presents its own set of challenges! You want to energize and exercise your pup, all while mentally enriching them and connecting emotionally. At the end of a long work day, this can sometimes weigh heavily on your to-do list as just another task…
...but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Read on to see some of our highest-rated toy recommendations for your dog - and also some time saving solutions you’ll love that will keep your pup busy, happy, and ready to sleep when night comes! Let’s get your dog toys they’ll love.
Sourcing Toys & Resources for Owners
Playtime doesn’t have to look like you running to the pet store every weekend! Gone are the days of early rising, only to realize that your pup has chewed through the last toy in the house.
BarkBox has come up with the solution that every pet owner needs...and it comes delivered to your doorstep every month. BarkBox offers monthly subscription themed boxes full of toys, clothes, and other goodies that your dog will love.
This is especially helpful if you go through toys quickly in your house, or if you have multiple dogs.
With an array of options for owners to choose from, selecting the perfect toy is easy for your pup!
If your dog is a “super chewer” and could chew through a wall with little hesitation, there are additional options on the market that we know you’ll love.
For bigger and chewier breeds, Bullymake entered the market with one thought in mind: out-tough the chews! All of their Nylon, Ballistic, and overall “chewy” stuff is made in the USA with dog-friendly materials.
If your dog is a fan of those post-exercise treats, Bullymake can deliver those (along with some high-durability chew toys) to your door on a rolling monthly basis. Currently, they’re offering 10% off any box plan you purchase - so if you’ve been wanting to surprise your pooch for playtime, now is the time!
Toy Safety - Keeping Your Dog Safe
By now, you likely have a few ideas of what toys your dog will love to play with in the upcoming months - and just like humans, dogs have preferences.
Some love ropes, others love chewies or stuffed animals, and some love the “treat in a trap” types of toys.
Unfortunately, not all toys are created equal...and dogs across the globe have fallen victim to low-quality toys and the medical maladies that can come with them.
When planning your dog’s energy management plan, be sure to pick up toys that align with our few safety tips, outlined below. This will help you keep your play time safe and fun for everyone involved - and minimize trips to the vet.
Toy Size & Proportion Matters
Always be mindful of your dog’s proportions to the size of the toy. This is an often overlooked trap that owners fall into when selecting their dog’s next toy. This is generally an issue less concerning in smaller breeds, as many smaller toys are already appropriately sized for them.
For medium to large breeds, toys you may assume are safe can easily get lodged in their throat or esophagus - requiring immediate veterinary care. Please be especially mindful and avoid anything throat sized for their toy options. Bigger is always better to stay on the safe side.
Wash Those Trap Toys
Trapped meat puree and peanut butter can pose a safety and health risk to your dog (and to your carpets!) Hidden decaying food can reside in the nooks and crannies of Kong-type toys. Keeping a separate toy-cleaning brush with firm bristles can be a great cleaning asset if your dog uses them regularly.
Dog-Proof Your Dog Toys
Often, many mass-market dog toys are not quite safe for your dog...especially if they are fans of chewing the toys or ripping at the toys. Stray strings, cords, buttons, and more can pose massive digestive and choking risks to your dog. It is always better to assume that a toy is not safe to use until you make it safe, and look at any mass-purchased toys with a critical eye to ensure your dog is not at risk the way he or she plays with the toy. You know best!
We love to consult the Humane Society’s Safe Toy resource when we’re in doubt. You can access it here.
Each dog is so unique in their energy levels (and their exercise needs!)
You can consult this guide to keep your pup healthy and happy all year round.
Whether you’re just starting out with energy management, or you’re looking for new ways to engage and connect with your dog, it always comes down to our universal language of play & behavioral cues!
You’ll be reading your dog’s cues in no time, and communicating with some of your own - helping you build your life of adventure and play with your pup.
Thanks for reading our guide. We hope it helps you through each phase of life with your energetic furry friend!
Until next time, thank you for reading!