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Hello
My 5 year old labrashepherd is still so high energy and has not seemed to have slowed down as she ages! Is there an age where they are less hyper or is this due to holes in our training?

Brief background: obediene training, walk around the block once a day, has a large fenced yard she runs in daily, and regular feeding schedule. She also has car anxiety and gets upset when dogs walk by our house i.e barking/whinning. She is a highly intelligent dog; knows all her commands verbally and with hand signals. Just extremely crazy with people and other dogs! So she does not get much socialization anymore because dogs think she wants to fight with her crazy energy! we just bought a muzzle to help her around other dogs (just in case).

I know we are missing something in our training! Please help any suggestions would be appreciated.

Also wanted to mention when company is over she has to be put out and when she is nervous about something she gets defensive! Nippy behaviour but doesnt actually bite ir make contact, its strange!

Thanks! Sorry for winded post.
 

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Sounds bored! Could be mental boredom as well as physical: even though she runs in your yard, I find with mine that there's nothing like new things/places for burning mental energy. Your yard and "round the block" may both be uninteresting to her. Obedience can get repetitive, too.

With mine, I find trick training helps a lot, new things to learn every week. She is a mix of working breeds too, so she gets plenty hyper given the chance. I also try to go to new places with her as often as possible, and I give her sniffing breaks on walks. Honestly, even if she has yard time, I try to get her at least 2 hours/day of walking or park time. Firecracker Dog | Help for High Energy Dogs has great recommendations for puzzle toys for VERY hyper dogs, and when you buy from them the profits go to rescues.

Best of luck!
 

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Hah, less hyper. Probably not at 5 years old. I kept hoping for that with my own dog, and she'll be 3 soon. It can actually get worse around age 2, which happened with my dog. Regarding training and lifestyle, there are a few things you can do.

Make sure she truly is getting enough exercise. Dogs don't typically run themselves when let outside in the yard; my dog would sniff around and sleep in the sun. Is one walk around the block really enough? One 20 minute walk a day for my dog doesn't cut it, and if I do two long runs versus a short walk, I notice a huge difference in her behavior inside (less barking and running around when she hears noises). So, I would up your walks to two 30 minute walks a day (morning/evening) for at least a week, and see if it helps the behavior inside.

Training away the anxiety can be done, but it takes time, so be patient. :) Basically you have to play calm games where the dog would normally show anxiety, but at a less scary level. If it's the car, give the dog some tasty treats in the car without actually going anywhere. Make it a great experience. After she seems to be enjoying that (maybe a week or two of 2 or 3 minute treating sessions in the car), try turning the engine on for five minutes. Work up to a little drive around the block with lots of treats. If that works, take a longer drive. :)

Training around people and other dogs is basically the same type of thing. You start at a really low level with lots of reward, and build up the triggers over time. I'll post some videos below.

Lastly, in general you can do capturing calmness, where you reward when the dog is actually relaxed. I like to play this game when my dog is in her bed, because she gets the added reinforcement for being somewhere she finds calming already (the bed), and the bed is mobile, so I can take it with me to public places where I know it will help her be calm. It's basically like "relax on a mat" (the "mat" is a texture that she knows and has been rewarded consistently on, so she likes laying on it). I'll post a few videos on that as well.

Anxiety typically stems from insecurity. The more you can reward your dog to build her self esteem and reinforce calm behavior, the less of the anxious behaviors you'll see. :) So, I'll also throw in here that punishing the dog for displaying this type of behavior can actually backfire, because it makes their insecurity worse. ;)






(I would not use a gentle leader; but this is a good illustration of how to counter condition a dog to other dogs - Yin mentions that this is an emergency situation and ideally you would start at a long enough distance to other dogs that your dog is calm :))

Also helpful in emergency situations, but I use a phrase instead of the kissy noise, since the kissy noise is a little too quiet and can be overused by strangers. :)
 
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