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Lazy puppy with lots of energy

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by bordernese, Feb 26, 2021.


  1. bordernese

    bordernese PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all!

    Would love some input on a puppy that has lots of energy but doesn't really exercise.

    We've got a 12 week old male Bordernese (border collie/Bernese mountain) puppy who loves attention. He needs a good deal of exercise, but when we take him into the garden he doesn't burn enough energy, which results in him getting frustrated and noisy in the crate, as well as disobedient. It's almost certainly an energy problem as after his night-time zoomies in our very large garden (which is perhaps the only time he does run), he returns happily to his cage to sleep soundly. Though we love to see him frolic in the grass in the day, he spends a lot of time digging and biting objects on the floor and only runs with real prolonged effort from us owners. As much as we love him, we can't run for hours on end! We've tried treats, clickers, balls, the sticks and (safe) objects he finds and bites in the garden, but it never really seems to work. When we do get him back inside the house he does have to stay mostly in his crate because he is still working on associating with the cat in our house. We take him out several times a day for a total of around 2-3 hours excluding bathroom breaks **EDIT: this is just in the garden, please read next phrase**, and for another couple of hours a day he is allowed to wonder around the house under supervision.

    Once his vaccines have started working in a couple of days, we should be able to take him out to parks to run about, but worry he will just lie on the floor as per (especially worried that he might do it near a busy road)!


    Any input into getting him active is most appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Bordernese
     
    #1 bordernese, Feb 26, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  2. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel Banned

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    Are you just putting him out in the garden and expecting him to run about (apols if not but it sounds as if you might be)

    Pups dont need a lot of run around exercise. At this age, all you need to be focusing on is getting a routine in place, getting toilet training well established and some basic training.

    Things like getting him to follow you off lead (in your garden obvs), early recall training and focus training.

    Sit and stay. How to wait nicely in position before released. For example when you open the crate door, he should stay there and wait for your release word.

    I fed my pups wholly in kongs but if you are using a bowl, again you can have pup wait until he hears the cue to go for it.


    Once you get some good structure into his day, he will be mentally tired. Then he can still have his night time zoom and go to bed at night.


    Teach him to chew on kongs filled with his usual food plus some primula to keep his interest.

    That sort of thing.
     
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  3. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    The main thing is: it’s not about wearing puppies out physically - in fact, with puppies, over-exercising can cause long-term physiological problems. They’re musculoskeletal development is far from complete and their growth plates have not joined. So....the rule of thumb is to exercise a puppy no more than five minutes per month of age up to twice per day. In your pup’s case, that’s no more than fifteen minutes’ exercise up to twice per day. That’s exercise that you encourage - lead walking, etc. Don’t worry about him just trotting around in the garden on his own. Avoid ball chasing games and anything causing quick changes of direction (like ball chasing) as that can place stress on underdeveloped joints. You certainly shouldn’t be trying to force him to run - just let him do his thing. I don’t know how big your dog will be, but I assume BIG. If so, the exercise limiting is even more important.
    I hope that helps.
     
    #3 Ian246, Feb 26, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  4. Pricivius

    Pricivius PetForums Member

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    How much mental stimulation are you giving him? On top of what others have suggested in terms of training, have you tried hiding treats or his kibble around a room for him to sniff and find? Have you named a few of his toys and asked him to bring you each one? Then you can hide his toys and ask him to find them and bring them to you. Will be bring stuff to your hand? Will he drop on command? Training tricks or little games will tire out his brain and he will need to sleep to process it all! Lots of sniffing is very tiring...
     
  5. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    You’re expecting a lot from a twelve week old pup! :D
     
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  6. Pricivius

    Pricivius PetForums Member

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    Apologies - missed the 12 week bit! My bad. Things to maybe move on to over the coming months.
     
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  7. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Why would anyone mix these two breeds? I'm no breed expert but the poor puppy probably doesn't know if he's coming or going, and probably never will. Good grief.

    Your mixed breed dog is going to need constant training and mental work, as well as structured physical jobs to do all his life. You'd better plan now to be involved in some kind of agility or something. The coat will probably be a nightmare to care for.
     
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  8. Emlar

    Emlar PetForums Member

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    At 12 weeks hes not just going to do laps of the garden by himself to exercise... you need to be out there playing with him and engaging him. Plus if he is in his crate for most of the day, he's probably going to get quite bored and not getting much mental excercise. Can you not keep the cat out of the room he is in? We tend to keep our cat upstairs and puppy downstairs at the moment, with the cat walking through occasionally, but with us holding the puppy and praising him for not chasing her.
     
  9. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    Are you keeping this puppy in a crate? For how long at a time?
     
  10. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    My gosh I just caught that. A high energy working dog with conflicting breeds in him, kept in a crate all day and night except for "a few hours" now and then. They expect this 12 week old puppy to entertain himself, already complaining about the"effort" they have to make to play with him.

    @bordernese you don't seem to understand that this dog is going to take work and yes, effort, much effort, all his life. To train and keep mentally and physically active. Using a crate as a babysitter..well you are heading for disaster really. What a shame these breeds were ever put together.

    Sold for huge bucks I bet and most of these pups will probably end up in rescue in six months.
     
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  11. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    It’s worrying that this dog is assumed to have loads of energy presumably because there is a collie in the mix. Equally though Bernese are not a dog that wants to run about all day and it just may well be that what he is doing is natural for him and to what he has inherited rather then you thinking he needs to spend a lot of time running around because he has a collie parent.
    My neighbour has a collie crossed whippet, she has taken more after her whippet side in that she will a few minutes running flat out and that’s it for the day, she doesn’t have the collie stamina.
    As others have said puppies need to be exercised carefully in order to protect the growing bones and muscles, overexercising young dogs could lead to muscular skeletal issues later in life.
    I suspect your puppy is doing as much as he wants physically, what he needs is for you to give a workout to his brain rather then his body.
     
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  12. bordernese

    bordernese PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all!

    Thanks so much for the input! We'll definitely take on board how much exercise he needs and are in the process of purchasing brain games on top of his obedience training. And don't worry, we do actively play with him in the garden! I was just concerned that he doesn't run around as much as he does in the night time and we were told that he needed 15-20 hrs sleep a day (we split the difference at 18 hrs as he spends 2-3 hrs in the garden excluding bathroom breaks (sorry should have specified) and spend another 2-3 hours with him supervised in the house) until 4 months old? If this is untrue, let us know and we'll further change our routine. We are keeping him in a crate for a little longer than we are comfortable with because he is working on associating him with the cat (this technique was suggested by a vet), but once associated we're very happy for him to walk freely around the house, etc. We'll take on board the suggestion by Emlar and try splitting upstairs and downstairs for the time being, but it looks like he's making good progress on the lead with the cat anyway and we won't need to carry on putting him into the crate.

    Sorry if we're being inexperienced -- we're first time dog owners and are trying to do the best for our puppy based on all the advice we have been given. We're more than happy to put in the hours: a happy and healthy dog is extremely important to us and we would not have purchased him without much consultation and planning.
     
  13. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel Banned

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    Generally with a pup this age, it works to alternate between food time, toilet time, supervised play/training and nap then cycle round again throughout the day.

    I had my pup confined to a pen indoors with kongs and toys during the day and only allowed free running outdoors but of course you dont have to do that at all and can have your pup free in the house from the start.

    Attention spans are short at this age so build in nap and rest times just as you would for a human toddler.

    Im not sure if there is any right and wrong way. If you and your pup are happy, it is right for you!


    Good luck:)
     
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  14. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    I think you may be overthinking it a bit, but I understand. :) Do understand, as well, that you’ve got a ‘challenging’ breed there, especially as a first dog. I think that ensuring he is mentally stimulated as he gets older will be key.
    I do think that caging the pup for extended periods is not good. Give him a fenced off area (stair gate in the kitchen doorway or some room you’re happy fir him to be in), but caging him just seems cruel to me, to be blunt. Your cat will work it out - but he/she does need somewhere to escape to if the puppy becomes too much. There are folks on the forum who’ve successfully introduced puppies to resident cats. I may be wrong, but caging the pup is not the way to do it, in my mind.
     
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  15. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

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  16. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Not a breed though. A bizarre mix of two breeds.
     
  17. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    Just to add, the nighttime zoomies is likely a response to over-tiredness / over-stimulation, rather than an indication of how much energy your puppy has. That's why he crashes out afterwards - it's not that the zoomies tire him out so much as he's already over-tired.
     
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  18. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    Yes, absolutely - two challenging breeds for first time dog owners. I’m sure they’ll get there - it’s just going to need some effort. :)
     
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  19. Emlar

    Emlar PetForums Member

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    Please don't be sorry! We are first time dog owners too and have asked many questions and read lots of the advice here. The guys on this forum are super experienced and helpful so never be afraid to ask :)

    When our pup has 'zoomies' that normally means he is over tired and needs a nap, not that he needs to work off more energy so we try and get him to settle then (easier said than done :rolleyes:)

    We have a border collie cross and find that a lot of his energy is used up with mental stimulation, training and just sniffing around and exploring while on walks. A good sniffy walk with lots of new things to see and experience makes him much sleepier than zooming around the garden :)
     
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