As someone who owns a dog daycare and has worked in shelters for years that use playgroups daily, I’ve seen a lot of dogs interacting with one another. They usually start off very excited running around the facility in the morning or being heavily active. However, by mid-afternoon even the most hyper dogs are usually much more mellowed out, relaxed and calm. This is because they are tired from playing with the other dogs. Training relaxed dogs is much easier than training dogs full of energy (as anyone with a dog will tell you!).
So when is the best time to train a dog? The answer (you guessed it!) is when they are relaxed! As a trainer who has worked with tons of dogs, I still always prefer to give a dog a nice walk before starting each training session. It calms them down a bit and then they can focus their brain on you more instead of distractions.
A dog with a lot of energy is a dog that can easily be distracted and turn their focus away from you and would rather do something else such as smell around, chase things, play, keep away, etc., instead of listening and paying attention to you in a calm manner. This is natural for dogs, so don’t get discouraged when attempting to train your dog. A dog with a lot of energy is much tougher to get to relax than a tired dog. When dogs have energy, they’re looking to release it and a good dog owner knows how to help them do just that. Dogs release their energy in different ways such as chewing, running around, excessive barking, etc.
Why is it harder to train a dog with a lot of energy? Their mind is too excited to focus on what you are trying to teach them. Think of it as if you were doing jumping jacks all pumped up with loud music playing after you had three cups of coffee versus sitting in a quiet room after you’ve already exercised feeling calm and relaxed. If I were teaching you something, what would be the easiest way for you to learn? The answer is of course when you are more relaxed so that your brain can focus on the content that is being conveyed much easier.
Every dog has a different energy level and with some dogs it is more challenging to find ways to expel their energy than others. Luckily, there are plenty of tools now to help you out. They make dog treadmills, dog weighted backpacks where a fifteen-minute walk can seem like an hour long walk because of the additional weight they are carrying, dog daycares and dog walkers are now in almost every neighborhood and many other convenient tools or services for you to take advantage of to assist your dog in expending their energy.
Again, if you notice your dog is calm and relaxed and not full of energy, then take that opportunity to use as the PERFECT training scenario! A dog that is relaxed is a dog that can give you their undivided attention to learn. A tired dog equals a calm dog. A calm dog equals a happy dog. A calm happy dog equals a happy dog owner!
President, The Pup Camp