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High Energy Dogs: A Complete Guide to Energetic Pups | Pupford

April 19th, 2024

Filed under Pet Parenting

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Are you convinced your dog is actually a bunny – the Energizer Bunny that is?

Having an energetic dog with seemingly endless energy can be overwhelming and exhausting. But it can also be rewarding and a lot of fun.

The difference is knowing how to take your dog’s natural energy and channel it positively and productively.

We get so many questions from dog parents who are wondering how to do this, and how to meet their energetic dog’s needs. So we put together this ultimate guide to help those with an energetic dog raise a happy, healthy pup! Some things we’ll cover:

  • High energy dog breeds
  • Needs of high energy dogs
  • Training a high energy dog
  • Feeding a high energy dog
  • High energy dog activities
  • How to calm energetic dogs

Along the way, we’ll give you the tips, tricks, and resources you need to manage even the most energetic dog’s needs.

Let’s get started!


high energy dog breeds infographic

It’s helpful to know which dog breeds tend to have the most energy so you can know what to expect. Of course, keep in mind that each individual dog will differ based on his or her personality and may not fit this mold.

Most high-energy dog breeds are working breeds and herding breeds, which have the instincts to spend the majority of their day active, alert, and doing their jobs.

But generally speaking, the most high energy dog breeds are:

  • Border Collie
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Weimaraner
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Siberian Husky
  • Dalmatian
  • Boxer
  • Irish Setter

Again, there are outliers for everything, and plenty more breeds we could mention. But for those who are maybe looking specifically for a high-energy dog breed to bring into their family, that list is a good place to start.

🐶 Looking to improve your energetic dog's behavior? Sign up for the 100% free online course 30 Day Perfect Pup. Get started here! 🐶


While it’s true that all dogs have energy levels that require daily exercise and mental enrichment, we’re talking specifically here about dogs whose needs are above and beyond.

These types of dogs need to spend the majority of the day doing physical and mental exercise as an outlet for their energy. A simple walk around the neighborhood likely won’t cut it.

In fact, without the proper outlet for their energy, these dogs might become destructive or develop other behavioral issues from boredom or frustration.

Of course, we don’t want that for our dogs, so the rest of this guide will focus on ways to help your high-energy dog thrive.


While training is important for any dog’s well-being, it’s especially important for high-energy dogs. Training engages the body and mind while giving your dog a “job” to do – perfectly suiting an energetic dog’s needs.

The key to successfully training a dog with a lot of energy is to be consistent with the basics while also challenging them, making them work for their reward, and learning new things.

Once your dog has a handle on the basics, you can incorporate training games that require physical output as well as brain or nose work. Think, long recall work, retrieval cues, trick training, obstacle courses, and more.


how much to feed a really active dog

You may assume that the more active your dog is, the more food they need. We want to shy away from blanket statements like that because it can lead to overfeeding your dog and unhealthy weight gain.

The amount that your dog or puppy eats should be based on their age and size, along with veterinarian recommendations.

What you can focus on (and should be!) is the quality of their diet. Highly active dogs will need extra support for their muscles and joints in the form of protein and omega-3s.

Your veterinarian will be able to recommend food that’s specifically suited for your dog’s needs, but you can help them alongside that with smart supplementation. This can look like:

  • Treats that are high in protein and low in unnecessary fillers and calories
  • A daily supplement like Super Pup has ingredients specifically for supporting healthy joints
  • Meal toppers like Over the Topper add protein, minerals, and omega-3s to your dog’s existing meals.
🐶 Looking to improve your energetic dog's behavior? Sign up for the 100% free online course 30 Day Perfect Pup. Get started here! 🐶


dog doing agility to get out energy for high energy dog

As we talked about earlier, dog breeds with a lot of energy require a lot of physical and mental stimulation throughout the day. But what does that look like?

Here are some activities that your high energy dog will love:

  • Nosework – Sniffing is a great job to give your dog, as it’s a natural instinct and engages their brain. It expends energy just as efficiently as physical exercise while leaving your dog feeling accomplished.
    Try snuffle mats, treat/toy hide and seek, and rolled up towels with treats at various points.
  • Sports and agility – Try a new sport with your active dog! You don’t have to enter the sport competitively, but rather just to give your dog a sense of focus and purpose while expending their energy.
    Try agility courses, dock diving, herding, lure chasing, and structured digging
  • Hikes – We talked about how your standard, short neighborhood walks aren’t enough for high-energy dogs, but you can take it up a notch with hiking. These are typically longer and provide more opportunities for sniffing, exploring, climbing, and other more fulfilling activities.
  • Brain games and puzzle toys – Mental enrichment is so important for dogs with a lot of energy. These toys and games challenge your dog to use critical thinking to solve a puzzle and get their reward.
    Try flirt poles, chews, obstacle courses, puzzle feeders, foraging boxes, and lick mats.


dog with high energy playing

Many parents of high-energy dogs ask us: “Will my dog or puppy ever calm down?!”

For some dogs, energy is at its peak during puppyhood and will eventually decrease when your dog is an adult. But for others, it’s a part of who they are that needs to be embraced.

That doesn’t mean we can’t help our dogs learn to regulate their energy during appropriate times – especially when it is a matter of safety.

Here’s how to calm your energetic dog when you are not actively engaging with them:

  • Crate training and teaching your dog to “switch off” – Crate training can help your dog find their “safe space” to settle in and relax. By teaching them that a crate is a place to “switch off,” they’ll be able to regulate their energy levels, take a nap, and relax happily.
  • Teach impulse control – Behaviors like threshold training, “leave it,” and showing patience around food helps keep high-energy dogs safe in situations where their impulses could otherwise lead them to chase or run into unsafe situations.
  • Encourage independent play – While it’s important to interact with your high-energy dog, giving them opportunities to engage their brains independently through chews, lick mats, puzzle feeders, etc. can help them work their energy off while you tend to other areas of your life.
  • Embrace your dog for who they are! The more calm, positive, and accepting you are when it comes to your dog, the calmer and more positive they will be in return.


Having a dog with a lot of energy can certainly be a challenge, but it can also be a rewarding experience that keeps you active and on your toes. At the end of the day, it’s about finding out what fulfills your dog and giving them plenty of opportunities to embrace that, so they expend their energy positively.

High energy dog breeds really need "jobs", purpose, and things to keep them busy and engaged each and every day!

What are your experiences with your high-energy dog? Any additional tips you’d like to share with dog parents in a similar position? Tell us about it in the comments!

🐶 Looking to improve your energetic dog's behavior? Sign up for the 100% free online course 30 Day Perfect Pup. Get started here! 🐶


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