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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! This is my first post and I'm new to this forum. I was wondering if anyone could help me out or maybe link me to another thread that would be useful to me.

I have a 13 month Puggle, Olive. For starters, I'm not entirely sure if she's an actual Puggle because she is a puppy mill dog. She's taller and longer than any Pug, Beagle, or Puggle I've ever seen and she weighs about 27 lbs and I don't think she's overweight (stomach is tucked and you can feel her ribs easily enough). I've never had such a high energy dog, and I'm looking for ways to keep her exercised and entertained in my one bedroom apartment.

She walks about 3-4 miles a day, loose leash on the sidewalk. We go to the dog park most days for about an hour to an hour and a half. On most weekends we go to the dog beach or on a long hike. Our hikes are always off the trail and very challenging for us humans, and Ollie is great at climbing rocks and steep hills.

She has a treat puzzle and a few interactive toys, and a lot of nights instead of eating dinner out of a bowl, I hide her kibbles all over the apartment so she can find them. We live with a Frenchie puppy and a mixed Maine Coon rescue that she runs around and plays with all day. We also do solo training sessions to practice her commands and teach her new fun tricks because she's a real entertainer.

I feel like I spend a lot of time exercising her and keeping her entertained, but she is always so full of energy and seems to get bored easily. She digs at the dog park and at home she's always jumping up on me and pushing me with her front paws. I've tried ignoring the behavior, which stops it for a little bit, but it seems to me like she's just got so much energy she can't contain herself. She's not destructive at home at all, even if I am gone for a long time, and I've never kept her in a playpen or a crate.

Do you think that she needs more exercise, more stimulation, or both? She's got a longer face than most Puggles, so I was thinking about getting a bike so she can run on the bike trail by my house. I can't go running with her because of knee problems. Can anyone help me determine if she might be a good candidate for agility training?

I know that when you get a mixed-breed dog, you never know exactly what you're going to get, but I was hoping maybe someone else who knows about Puggles might be able to chime in on this?
 

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I've run into a similar issue with my 6 month old Boston- she has more energy than she knows what to do with and though she isn't destructive she is SUPER annoying to both humans and the other dog she lives with when she doesn't get enough exercise- it takes a 4 mile walk and dog park time before she's ready to nap the rest of the day.

My first thought was to recommend agility- I especially like it for high energy, smart dogs because it helps channel the energy in a structured way, which I think goes a long way towards wearing them out. Flyball is another good sport, although I've never been involved in it so can't speak to it. The only things that would make a dog a poor choice for agility IMO would be if they either didn't like it or it was too physically dangerous/challenging for them (poor hips or elbows or knees or chronic lameness problems or they had extreme trouble breathing or physically couldn't get over jumps like an english bulldog). My Boston just started it but so far seems to love it, and the Boston I had before her loved agility more than anything. There was actually a puggle that competed in Crufts this year; I hadn't seen them in any higher level competitions before so that was a fun surprise.

Biking might be a good thing to try with her; I used to bike with my lab/BC/mutt when she was a puppy (she was another dog that had too much energy, and she unfortunately did get destructive if she didn't run it off). It can take some time to train them to run alongside and I don't think every dog can handle it, though. Definitely go slow and be careful, sometimes dogs will try to dive in front of the bike if they see something to chase and that can be dangerous (it took mine a long time before she'd stop doing that, and one or two times we did both almost get hurt because of it). If you're comfortable rollerblading that's another thing you might try, I find it easier to control the dog on rollerblades than a bicycle.

I personally always recommend structured outlets (like agility or obedience training/tricks that involve moving around) over repetition; dogs like beagles were bred to keep up with horses and can be very high energy (it seems the ones I've met have either been high energy or couch potatoes) and when they are just running isn't always enough because of their natural endurance. Definitely work up slowly to distance running with her, though, regardless.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the fast response! I think that she has a similar energy level as a lot of the Boston's I've seen at the dog park, they're not bad dogs they just have more energy than they know what to do with like you said, and it can be hard to find productive ways to channel it!

With your agility training, I was wondering if you needed to do beginners obedience classes and work up to agility, or can you just jump right in? I've heard of trainers who require you take a certain amount of classes with them, in their facility to ensure that they can follow commands during an agility class, but I've also heard of trainers who will take dogs with no prerequisite classes. I just want to know what your personal experience is.

The rollerblades are a really good idea too, I considered that. My only concern with that is that I'm not very good at rollerblading and I live in a suburb that has a lot of traffic and the sidewalks aren't in the best shape. I would definitely get a pair and take her to a less traffic heavy area to rollerblade with her though. :)

Random question, I've also heard of herding classes for dogs and I'm wondering if you or anyone else has heard about that?
 

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There are herding classes for dogs but honestly I think it would be a waste of money with a beagle/pug- she may go after the sheep but it almost certainly won't be herding behavior. If anything I'd expect some level of prey response from the beagle part of her which I'd think most herding instructors will quickly dismiss from their class. I don't have a lot (really any) experience with it except for what I've read briefly online and on youtube but good herding instructors are concerned above all for the saftey of the sheep. Herding classes are usually used as energy outlets for herding breeds (especially border collies, I think) and used to train herding breeds to herd properly (it is in innate behavior in a lot of them, but it's something that needs to be worked on and structured as they aren't born perfect herders).

I think whether you need basic obedience will depend on the trainer. Personally I wouldn't start outright in an agility class- it's a sport that by its very nature brings dogs to a high level of excitement. A group class with lots of noise, treats, and movement is a very exciting environment and sometimes stressful environment. I'd get her used to that in a basic obediance class first. A lot of trainers will start training the dogs on leash, so you don't really need a good recall or sit/stays or down/stays, but those are three very important basic obedience commands for agility generally. That said, if you don't want to compete and can find a good trainer who doesn't require basic obedience and really want to do agility I say try it.

My personal advice- especially if you have any hopes of ever competing- would be to work on recall, sit, down, sit/stay and down/stay as well as attention behaviors and tricks that teach body awareness (sit pretty, paw, high five, handstands, etc), and to work on agility foundation work. Google 'agility foundation training' and you'll get plenty of things to work through. This includes building core strength and getting dogs used to objects moving under them with things like wobble boards, teaching the dog to always point the same way as you (I use the command "line up" for mine to stand at heel facing the same way as me), teaching body awareness using boxes and ladders (dogs naturally think their body ends at their shoulders and the hind paws are very important in a lot of obstacles so they need to learn about them), teaching things like "back", "forwards", as well as "left" and "right". If you do a class now, before all thing, don't go into it feeling like you're really starting the sport- go into it as a way to run off energy right now and have fun, serious agility training starts with the minute basics.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's good advice about the herding classes, maybe I'll look into nose work classes instead.

Thanks for all your help with agility, I've looked at classes and done a little research on it but no one I've talked to personally has a whole lot of experience. I'm not really looking to compete unless she's absolutely in love with the sport, I'm mainly looking for a way to exercise her mentally and physically and build our relationship and trust. She also has pretty low confidence and I've heard agility can be really helpful for building confidence.
 
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