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Can a dog be too fit ?(24 Posts)
We have a 5 year old staffy, daughter has same dog but 6 weeks older .
Her dog will have a short walk then relax and just chill for the day .
Our dog gets 3 hours of walks weekends and at least an hour and a half weekdays .usually split into two walks .
But ours just never seems to chill he's always on the the go , we do lots of mental games with him too ,
But he just never seems to relax always gets up when we leave the room in case something exciting may happen .
Just feel I'm not doing my best for him but seriously can't walk anymore and just need him to relax occasionally so I can do other things .
Not sure how 2 dogs can be so very different .
My mum thinks he's walked too much and super fit and needs to be more couch potato 😁
I have a working cocker. I could walk him for miles and miles and all that would happen is he would get fitter and fitter. In fact in the early days I used to buy into the mentality that to tire a dog out you needed to keep walking them. However, I honestly think for each dog there is an optimum walk whereby any more does nothing other than make them fitter and require even more exercise to tire them.
I therefore time my walks and during them I do training exercises so he has to use his mind and not just his muscles. To tire him out I need to mentally exercise him much more than physically.
Too much walking does make mine hyper. I even see him trying to calm himself down when he gets back. This is why I try not to walk for too long as it is definitely counter productive.
There is lots of evidence now that we tend to overstimulate dogs. Many experts are now suggesting that (especially for reactive dogs) a daily walk is too much.
@GobblersKnob can you tell me where I can read about that?
One of mine is way more mentally energetic than physically. Walks don't do it for him in the same way, he likes them but he prefers scent games etc I think. Another one it's alllll about the running. And they are are the same breed, not much help sorry @windydoggy !
I have recently started 1-1 lessons to learn new tricks. This tires him out far more than a run about as he is so muscular and fit. I also try and balance his days when he running about all day at daycare with more chill out days.
🤷♀️ my staffie x is fit as a flea when out and running but can easily miss a day without agitation.
This is a super read, about a man and his v energetic
Let me have a hunt. My behaviourist friend posted some interesting links on fb the other day.
It's not so much being fit that's an issue (super fit dogs can also be super chilled) but too much exercise can make dogs more hyper. This article explains why and is well worth reading.
It could also be that your dog just needs training how to chill out and relax at home. It's not always something that comes naturally to dogs but it is something you can teach. Kikopup on YouTube has a great series of videos called 'Capturing Calmness' (the first one is here) which I'd really recommend.
Thank you all for your very interesting comments.
I did always think just walk him more but to be be honest he's more hyper after a walk than before , he takes ages to settle after a walk , tends to storm around house and chase his tail .
He is our 3rd staffy and other 2 would come home tired and just snooze .
Today he had a 3 hour walk mainly running off lead and all afternoon he's been up and down off sofa when anyone moves in case something is happening.
He's constantly leading me to his coller and lead asking for more .. grr
@Whoseranium Thank you I will check those out .
Like I said after 2 staffys who loved walks but were tired after this one confuses me as I get home exhausted and he's still bouncing off the walks 🙄
he's more hyper after a walk than before , he takes ages to settle after a walk , tends to storm around house and chase his tail
If over stimulated mine will rub himself on one of our rugs and growl. It's the adult equivalent to the puppy zoomies and I know he's done too much and needs some down time.
So should I be shortening his walks and maybe do more mental stimulation.?
He is just so much work at the moment, Lucky for him that we love him so much 😍
I have seen people link to exercises to get them to settle although I have never used them myself.
Try doing some 'tricks' and see how he reacts. I paid for 1-1 training to show me some as I hate trying to follow YouTube videos but if you don't mind them there are lots out there. On walks I will make mine do sit/stay, spins, hunt objects and other tricks for a reward on his walk.
@Whoseranium very interesting link , maybe I don't understand dog behaviour as well as I thought .
My little Lakeland terrier is like this. So I did what I thought was right and started taking him running with me. 5 miles round the countryside. He just got super fit and wanted even more exercise.
So now he gets one longish walk a day, sometimes a second shorter one. He seems to chill out better now.
My staffy on the other hand is lazy 😂 when he's cold and raining he will refuse to walk further than the first field unless I put him back on the lead.
Edition Dog magazine (3rd edition) has an interesying article on the benefits of not walking every now and again. In summary, it allows time for cortisol levels to reduce in dogs that find walks stessful and/or exciting.
I have a staffy who is almost 4, had her since she was 10 weeks old 😊 Monday-Friday she gets between 1.5-2 hours walking/running a day, split into two walks. At the weekend we take her to a park next to us and throw her balls for her which she loves for about 30-40 mins each day! I take her to different places for different sniffs during the week. When she's at home she just sleeps all the time! Unless she's hungry 😃
We also have a 1 year old miniature sausage dog who walks the same as our staffy but when he's at home he's still always on the go! Apart from a couple of naps during the day. I think every dog is different just like humans! Some people are happy to just lay around at home and some have to be on the go all the time.
Thanks all for reply's and links .
@Lozzy25 funny how your 2 live together but are so different .
After posting this I do realise that walking more isn't the answer .
He is a reactive dog and realise now I am making him worse by too much exercise . Won't do too much less but won't feel guilty and do extra walks thinking it will help because clearly it's not .
Absolutely dogs can be overstimulated and over exercised.
Scentwork is amazing for tiring out dogs. It also releases dopamine which helps to make a dog feel good and for a reactive dog is very powerful and calming.
I could walk my dogs for several hours and they would still be up for more but a scent work session will knock them out for a complete evening
A really great dog behavioralist I know told me 1 hr of quality walk per day should be enough for most non working breeds. By quality he meant LOTS of time for sniffing. It isn't about the distance but about the time Ddog spends sniffing and ferreting - this uses their brain. I was walking our dog nearly 2.5 hours a day. It was a huge struggle to make that time and he was still a pain in the arse all day. I reduced the time spent walking abut made the walks slower to give him more time for sniffing. He now gets 40 mins twice per day and is far more relaxed the rest of the time!
My dog lives his sniffy walks! No matter what length walk he's hyper for 1/2 hour afterwards from being a12 week puppy.
The more you exercise, the fitter the dog gets, the more exercise they require.
You can overstimulate a dog and this can lead to 'naughtiness' - akin to an overtired child.
Much better to do a mixture of physical and mental exercise. So go for your lovely long walks but invest in some food puzzle toys, such as Kong Wobbler, lickimat, snufflemats or any nina ottoman toys. teach him some new tricks, play tug etc.
More great advise thank you .
Today had definitely been a better day , he had 30 minutes across fields with husband earlier and I have just got back from an hours walk with him .
I took a different route one where lots of dogs go so plenty of sniffs and walked slower allowing him to stop and sniff all the way round .
I usually let him sniff but pull him away after a time but today I let him sniff and wee as long as he wants .
Great result as only chased his tail for a few minutes when he got home then nicked my spot on the sofa .
Going to find out his kong wobbler too , he always used to like that .
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