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Ask A Vet: Why Are Some Dogs More Hyper Than Others?

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We see dogs all around and it is easy to notice that some of them seem to have boundless energy, while others are more laid back.

Some dog breeds are selectively bred to be high energy. If you consider the job for which the breed was developed, you can probably surmise the use for an energetic nature.

Herding breeds can be pretty wound up. They instinctively seek to herd people and other animals and sometimes can be frustrated by our sedentary lifestyle. Any dog that has herding heritage, like Heelers, Australian Shepherds, Collies, Sheepdogs, Corgis, and others may seem to be highly motivated. Terrier types were bred to hunt and kill rodents. They tend to be feisty and hyper. Some people think that the smaller terriers are even busier than the larger terriers. Dogs bred to be hunting dogs can also have a lot of inner drive. These are Retrievers, Beagles, Spaniels, and the like.

Just like people, dogs can be individually different too. Some dogs are just laid back by nature and others are vigorous and full of life. Younger dogs and puppies naturally have more energy. Older dogs can mellow with age, but some dogs stay enthusiastic for their whole life depending on their health.

If your dog is a little too hyper for you, ask some important questions. Is your dog spayed or neutered? Sometimes sex hormones can create a restless energy that can be overwhelming for a pet parent with no intention to breed.

Is your dog getting daily exercise? Just having access to a fenced yard is not enough. Energetic dogs need channeled exercise and one on one time with you as their favorite friend. If your dog is one of the breeds or has a disposition that is high energy, it should not be difficult to find an engaging game for you both.

Make sure your dog is getting a balanced diet. Too many carbohydrates can sometimes create extra jitters and be sure that your dog is resting sometimes. Exhaustion can make us all a little punchy. An unbalanced diet and lifestyle puts your dog’s entire system out of whack.

If your dog is getting all of these needs met, but is still a little too “true to his breed,” he might benefit from seeing a veterinarian, just to make sure all is well.  There are endocrine disorders and other issues that can create restlessness and hyperactivity.

Once you are certain all is well medically, the two of you may also like to see a trainer (choose one who is a Fear Free Certified Professional) for strategies to redirect and harness his energy. Feeling extra feisty is not a bad thing and hyper dogs are often very intelligent and love to have tasks. They will work very hard for you and with you and the sky is the limit for what they can do!

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