A High Energy Goldendoodle Learns to Calm Down to Behave Better

By: David Codr

Published Date: February 17, 2015

Charlie (Goldendoodle)

Charlie is a nine-month-old Mini Goldendoodle who is overexcited, doenst always get along with his owner’s other dog and gets into things he shouldn’t.

It took all of 60 seconds to see that Charlie had an abundance of unspent energy. He was constantly jumping up or moving around and his owner told me it was pretty rare for him to lay down unless he was asleep.

I started out by going over some non verbal communication methods. When you have an over excited dog, you can add tot heir excitement and anxiety by speaking in an excited or frustrated way. By communicating using body language, physical and eye movement its easy for the dog to understand what you want without adding to the dog’s excitement.

In discussing the situation with his owner, I found out that he had only been out for a few walks in the last month. For most puppies, I recommend 30-45 minutes of constructive exercise every day. For a higher energy dog, the exercise may need to be even longer. Now his owner was encouraging him to run outside in the back yard and while that will help, it is no long term substitute, especially for a dog who is in a kennel 8 hours a day.

Most of the behavior issues that Charlie showed had a direct correlation to his pent up excess energy so I suggested that hey get a daily walk of at least 30 minutes. I even suggested a few indoor options since the weather in Nebraska this time of year is miserable. While Home Depot and Lowes are not locations that usually come to mind, they are both dog friendly stores. These large box stores offer a great alternative to a walk in the elements.

Next I went over a leadership exercise that helps introduce the concept of boundaries, elevates the authority or rank of the owner and ives the dog practice at restraining itself. It took longer than usual to get the dog to understand what I was doing but I stuck with it and 10 minutes later he was starting to communicate to me that he understood what the exercise asked of him.

When I caught his owner shooting a “can you believe that” raised eyebrow look to her boyfriend, I knew we were making progress. Charlie seemed calmer and was more responsive to everyone’s corrections and commands.

I coached his owner through the exercise to ensure that she could practice it for the next week or two to really help Charlie master the related skills. At first his owner was a little slow to react and her body language didn’t quite match what was needed. But as we practiced, she started to relax and once she did she started getting better results. It will be very important that her owner practice this exercise a few times a day for the next week for the changes we saw to become permanent.

I suggested that his owner add in some basic rules and limits to help him see and respect her as being an authority figure. Simple things like asking Charlie to sit before being allowed to go in or our the door to the back yard, waiting for permission to eat, keeping a respectable distance from humans when they are eating will go a long way toward redefining the leader follower relationship.

I also advised her to pause any time that Charlie starts to get excited. By consistently stopping when they dog starts to get worked up, we can communicate that the only way to move forward is by remaining calm. This will be infinitely easier to accomplish once his owner starts taking him for regular constructive walks.

We had been working primarily alone with Charlie for most of the session so we brought out his roommate Giambi, a two year old Dachshund that Charlie constantly chafes and roughhouses with. It was pretty obvious that Charlie was attempting to release his unused energy by playing with Giambi. Because the Dachshund is less than half Charlie’s size and no where near his energy level, this arrangement is not healthy for either dog. Giambi had taken to staying near his owner at all times and had a stiff body language and small or little movements at best. He was clearly trying o stay invisible to Charlie.

As soon as we brought Giambi in, Charlie darted over and started to wrestle with him. I made a sound to disagree with the behavior which got Charlie’s attention for a moment, but only so. When he turned his attention back to Giambi I stood up and marched over to the dogs. This movement startled Charlie and he moved away so I continued discussing things with his owner. Within a minute Charlie was back at it so this time I got between the two dogs and kept walking towards Charlie until he moved away.

It took about 10 minutes, but eventually Giambi was able to lay in the middle of the floor chewing a bone while Charlie laid nearby. Charlie was looking at Giambi, but not in a jealous or otherwise inappropriate way. When his owed told me she couldn’t remember the last time she saw Giambi laying on the floor with a bone while Charlie was calm, I knew the session was a success.

Charlie is a good dog, he just had a lot of pent up energy getting in the way of good behavior. Now that his owner has the tools to communicate what she does and does not want, regular walks will go a long way toward curbing unwanted actions and behaviors. With some time and practice, Charlie laying near Giambi while he chews a bone will be the norm and not something to raise an eyebrow at.

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