Hyperactive Dog

      Question from Linda

      I have a Maltese dog who is very hyperactive. I take him for walks, but he seems to be bored & stares at me all the time to entertain him. Fortunately for him, we are retired, he has a huge yard, but prefers to be inside. He is just over 1 yr old, 10 lbs. Doesn't have an appetite- eats half a handful of food. We have no family, so it is just me mostly taking care of Buddy the bored Maltese. Any suggestions on how to wear him out and get him to eat more? The Vet said he is healthy & not to worry.

      Jennifer's Answer

      Hi Linda,

      Thank you for contacting me! What a lucky dog!

      Here are a few things you might try to keep your lucky Maltese entertained!

      Mental Exercise

      • Stop feeding in a bowl! Seriously. Use food carrier toys such as Kongs, Treatsie Rolls, or Tricky Treats, toss food all over the floor or out in your yard for hours of scavenging fun, create your own food carrier toys using boxes or paper bags (with the handles cut off), or use your dog or cats food for training.

      • Feed good healthy food. If you're not sure what that is do some research. Or visit the Healthy Pet in town.

      • Novelty is good, so wash and regularly rotate toys.

      • Rotate chew toys such as bully sticks, rawhide (American made, pressed or rolled are my preference), Nylabones, marrow bones, and Snook's sweet potato dog chews are a few of my favorites.

      • Hide toys/treats around the house for your dog or cat to find while you're away (use this game with caution if you have a multi-animal household).

      • Teach your dog a few tricks, just for fun!

      • Take a group training class even if your dog doesn't "need" training.

      • Massage your dog for a few minutes every day. (this will also help you detect lumps or suspicious growths early)

      • Turn on the TV. The noise can help mask ambient noise and provide company and mental stimulation. There are specialty DVDs you can buy just for your dogs viewing enjoyment.

      Physical Exercise

      • Hire a dog walker or pet sitter to come in and walk your dog.

      • Snuggle, pet, and relax for a few minutes every day.

      • Try a dog sport such as agility or fly ball.

      • Adopt a friend! Not all animals love the company of another furry critter in the house, but sometimes adding a friend can do wonders for their physical and mental well-being.

      It's also a good idea to work on relaxation exercises, it's pretty easy for dogs to get wound up and excited, but can be difficult for them to calm down. This isn't something that all dogs do naturally, but you can train them to do it. There is an exercise I teach called settle on a mat which is a great way to help dogs learn how to relax and chill out a little. I've attached it for you to look over. Let me know if you have any questions, Jennifer