A tired dog is a good dog

First let me say that I am thinking about everyone in the East who is in the path of Sandy.  I have the weather channel on 24/7 and will be sending best thoughts your way.  Be safe.


This photo was taken many years ago of Tilley in the Canyon. She was in peak condition here.  

Not only is a tired dog good, they are usually happy as well.  Yesterday Elsa head down to the canyon with my husband and son.  It was the first trip down without Luke; sad, but the torch has been passed and we need to use our heads, not our hearts on this.   So after Steve got back from a nice walk with Luke, they grabbed Elsa and head out.  They were gone a good long time and when they returned I got the feedback.  "She was great, amazing."

Elsa got off leash the moment they got into the canyon and they ran and ran and ran.  Elsa is built for speed; she reminds me of a cheetah, many people have said the same thing.   Although she cannot run at cheetah speeds she runs at high dog speeds and has great endurance.  All three have a love of running so what could be better?  When they got back Elsa was panting but not overly so.  She looked tired but not exhausted which is a great.

All my kids were home for the weekend which makes it tough for the dogs to nap.   Both Luke and Elsa are very interested in the comings and goings of everyone.  So with Elsa having the big run and the activity in the house it was a very big day for her.  Last night as we sat watching the news of the Eastern Storm, Elsa was pretty much a sack of potatoes.  Nice.  Many nights she gets her toy and wants to retrieve until bedtime, not last night.

So how much is enough to make a dog tired and happy?  There most definitely is a too much point and many people get there too often.  Going to the dog park for hours, many people try to tire their dog out on a daily basis but reach the point of exhaustion.  Exhaustion can be achieved by physical or mental stimulation.  Sometimes too much mental stimulus is a bad thing as well.  Dogs who become overly tired can become cranky, just like us.  They can also learn to need more and more.  I use to see a guy and his lab in the park doing chuck it.  They would be there for well over an hour; the dog running crazily after the chuck that was thrown with each return.  I mean serious retrieving with no breaks, it was way too much.

Everything in moderation is how I look at the best way to live.  As you know I am a big fan of exercise but you can over do it.  Too intense for too long is not a good thing.  If an activity is going to be very intense like chuck it retrieving then the time span needs to be cut back.  The lower the intensity the longer you can indulge in the activity.  Dogs also need to learn what down time is; and a good nap does a dog good.  Sure there are times when an event will arise that is longer and more intense but as a rule I go with moderation.

I hate to see dogs who do not get out and have fun.  Seeing dogs have fun can be one of the best activities.  Being able to have fun together is amazing.  Too many dogs do nothing, they see their four walls of the house and yard and that is it.  Dogs need to get out and experience life just as we do.  They need environmental stimulus as well as physical activity.  Now grab that dog sleeping on the couch and go.