If you've been living with a puppy for several months, you may be wishing you could find your furry friend's slow-down button. The good news is, he'll likely move from overdrive to a more manageable second or third gear eventually. The change will probably come in phases, though, and breed often determines when -- or if -- your puppy switches to peaceful Zen master. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help move the process along in your puppy, or turn your older dog down a notch or two.
Once your clumsy puppy learns to keep his legs moving like they should, he has a brand spanking new world to explore. Even something as simple as sniffing your shoes may send him running in circles as he takes a whiff of all the places your feet have traveled recently. Couches and chairs are lumpy mountains demanding exploration. The backyard is a paradise of scents, sounds and tastes he must investigate fast, fast and faster since it might disappear at any moment -- or at least go away for a while when you take him indoors after his potty break.
It will go easier on you and your pup if you get a handle on how his breed is wired and gear your expectations toward his personality. Your Jack Russell terrier, for instance, may slow down a bit by the time he's 8 years old. The clumber spaniel loses puppy energy at about 1 year and, like the tortoise, prefers steady strolling to rushing through a long walk. A mastiff will probably greet your visitors with a rumbling burp before returning to the nap the doorbell interrupted. Your people-loving golden retriever, however, will need some training to settle down when visitors come since he usually considers every person he meets the best friend he'll ever have.
Whether you've got a puppy or an older pal who moves through life at full speed, exercise releases stored energy. A brisk walk around several blocks, a high-speed game of fetch or a supervised swim in your pool is often enough to calm your pup down, as long as you repeat the activity daily. Large-breed puppies, however, should not go on long runs or participate in athletic events that require a lot of jumping, such as fly ball, until they've reached 18 months. These activities can damage developing bones and joints.
Your pup also has an active mind that needs exercise to prevent boredom, which often leads to destructive behaviors. Basic obedience training will engage his brain and show him the manners you expect; and it's never too late to start training a dog to sit, stay or heel. Learning an advanced obedience skill such as “settle” essentially teaches your pup to calm down and behave. Agility trials, herding events and other canine sport activities are also positive drains for the excess energy that may be preventing him from snoozing in front of the fire in the evening.
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