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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my dog has gone from playing 30/45 minutes and crashing for 2 or 3 hours, to playing constantly whenever we're home. She can't play by herself without being destructive, and she actively seeks us out to play with her, so it's been a little intense. I want to give her the exercise and stimulation she needs, but it's been seeming excessive.
This has started when our schedules got back to 7 hour days at work (yesterday and today), where she hasn't been able to settle at all when we're home. We put her in the crate sometimes when we're home, too, so we can take a shower, cook dinner, etc.
An example of how the day has gone, is get up and walk her, do some playing and a tiny bit of training while I eat. I left, my fiance stayed with her and played for about an hour, but also put her in her crate for a bit so he could get ready. He left, I got home 1/2 an hour later, showered without letting her out, then took her on a walk, did some training and playing for about an hour. then took her out again and put her in her crate and left. 7 hours later my fiance got home and did some walking, playing, and out of the 5 hours between the time he got home and when I got home he let her rest in her crate for about one hour. When I got home she was still going strong, and did not want to rest. I played with her for about 1/2 an hour, and then put her to bed (crate right now).
So my question is, what's reasonable to expect her to need for play time, both at a time and over the course of the day? Is 45 minutes straight of Tug-of-war and having her still want more active chewing/playing normal? Should I give her cool-down time in between if she doesn't take it on herself to rest?
 

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How old is this dog? Sounds like you need to work on a settle. Aayla was very restless when she hit about 3 months. She got walked twice a day, several training sessions, lots of playing with toys and by the end of it she was pacing the house, bugging the older dog and us. I was trying to keep an eye on her, but the wandering was driving me crazy. I felt like I couldn't tire her out.

So I stopped trying to tire her out and worked on teaching her to just relax and enjoy laying down. After making sure she got both physical and mental exercise I did two things. It started with tying her up. We would put something on TV to watch, and I tied her to our ottoman. I gave her a toy so she didn't chew on her leash. She started trying to walk around, figured out she was tied and then just sat down. She got up and down a few times but then within 10 minutes she just fell asleep and napped. So I started doing that on a regular basis.

Another thing I did was starting to reward her when she was just laying down and relaxing. Or if she chewed on a toy while laying down. Things I wanted her to be doing. So I walked around with treats in my pocket, when I saw the behavior I liked I put a treat between her front paws.

Now at almost 5 months I get people telling me all the time how surprised they are at how calm she is. I've used this technique for the car, sitting at diners, around the house, outside while I do yard work and everywhere I can think of. Aayla is a high energy dog that has a good settle. Here is a video that may be helpful as well!


 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's great! My pup's papers say she's 7 months, the adoption bio said 5 months and the foster said 4 months. Given her size, I'm thinking she's 7 months. We're going to start clicker training soon, and hoping we can click for a settle and then slowly add the word "settle" in.

Mostly I just don't want to do wrong by her. If she's not getting enough exercise or stimulation, I don't want to ask her to settle, but if you think that a walk, some training, and some play time are enough to merit a bit of settle time, I'll go for it. Thank you for how reassuring you've been on all my posts!
 

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Mental stimulation is harder/more tiring than physical. Teaching just about anything where your dog has to think will help :) If she doesn't have basic obedience, you could start there-but there's tons of fun tricks you can teach, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, and we've been doing a lot of that, but what I'm having trouble with is that no matter how much we do with her, she still wants more energetic interactions. If I feel confident that she's getting enough, I can insist that she settles for periods of time in between play/training/walks.
 

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I actually am not a huge fan of using a clicker with the settle. I have found that it creates an excited response which is opposite of what you are trying to reward. I don't use a marker word or even talk at all, just put a treat down calmly like a surprise. Treats just magically appear when you lay down in relax! So I also never put a command to it either. I just want it to happen. With Aayla, adding commands and using markers just makes her more excited.

It does sound like she is getting enough physical exercise. I will echo Kwenami as she had a wonderful point of making sure to try and add more mental stimulation. Try hiding toys and treats for her to find, feed her in puzzle feeders, and give her stuffed kongs. Aayla gets all of her meals either in a frozen kong, a kong wobble or her puzzle feeder. Trick training is great for this as well as working on basic obedience.
 
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