Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to deal with evening wackiness

With Star, and with every young foster dog in recent memory, there is a period of time in the evenings where I just don't know what to do with the little thing. Forget about getting a moment's peace to read a magazine, eat dinner unmolested, or attend to the other dogs. 

These young dogs have a need for near-constant activity for those hours between about 5:30 and 10 in the evening. Generally I get home, walk all 3 dogs, then bring Fozzie and Star in the backyard, let them play together if I'm feeling brave, throw balls for them, and go back in.

That sounds like plenty of activity, right? Nosireebob. I've had to get a bit more creative with this little thing. 

Like positive trainers always say, mental engagement is just as tiring as physical activity. Plus Star needs a bit of training in impulse control and manners--OK, a lot of training--so we've been working hard to tire out that fevered brain of hers with positive learning.

Every night, we work on skills with all three dogs at once. We work with all 3 so no one gets jealous and all 3 can learn to be calm around each other, and that good things happen when they're in proximity to one another. 

I ask Fozzie and Star to sit on the two dog beds, while Lamar gets to watch from his perch on my bed. 

Lamar gets treats just for remaining calm (senior privilege) while Fozzie and Star have to sit, down, stay when I stand up, roll over, do push-ups, and/or gimme five.

I'm not sure how seriously Star takes the whole thing, 

but she is learning her skills rapidly and seems to love it. 

She learned to give me her paw in a flash and now its one of her favorite things. She is still working on giving me just one paw, and not both of them, plus much of the rest of the dog, in my lap, before I give the cue, but those are just details.

I do think trick training is important for all sorts of reasons, but Star's progress on Down and Stay--learning to control her impulses and not bounce up and run around every 30 seconds--is a proud accomplishment for Star and something that will serve her well in whatever life holds in store for her. 

When we're done with our training session, Star is generally still not done blowing off steam so I break out a toy.

Amazingly, she is capable of amusing herself for a while. Yes, she'll spend a good session engaged all by herself flipping a toy over her head, whipping herself over the back with it, doing these incredible aerial leaps. I was so happy when I discovered that.

After a few hours of madness, finally Star is tired and is out like a light until morning.

Do your dogs go nuts in the evenings? How do you manage those blasts of energy?


  1. Hawooo wooo, little brofur NukNuk is crazy in the evenings...me, I just like to snooze BOL!!


  2. Your routine seems to be very effective. My guys are older and more settled so we usually work on verbal skills. :-)

  3. Our dogs are a bit older now, and I've forgotten about those bursts of energy! I like the part where they all train side-by-side doing push-ups.

  4. It sounds like your routine for them is working. We just put our feet up out of the way at night while Fred does his zoomies through the house for a good five minutes every night and then crashes! LOL!

  5. Hurley goes all crazy dog for an hour or so each evening. It's hilarious to hear all the noises he makes playing by himself in the dog room. And then he comes out and riles up the girls into a good game of tug & bitey face. It happens just about every night. :)

  6. They sometimes get the zoomies, or the urge to play but it's usually after an event such as one of us arriving home, or coming in from outside. We just usually stand back and watch. :-)

  7. Not any more, thank goodness. I remember (with fondness now that it's way behind me) the days when Georgia would need a MINIMUM of 3-4 hours of walks and playtime in the park and attention almost all the time at home. She would nap for minutes and be ready for more. No calming techniques or even prescribed meds worked on her. So .... I hope you're having fun because it will all disappear one day, maybe suddenly as with Georgia, and you will miss it! LOL. Maybe by then, Star will be with her new family x

  8. I'm sort of glad that Freedom, Casper & Nikki are out of the young pup stage. We get occasional wackiness, but thankfully not every night. I love reading about your training adventures.

  9. The photo of Star crashed asleep is wonderful. I miss Diva and Ralph Waldo doing their zooming while the rest of us were settling down. Finally, RW would want up on my lap and then Diva would jump up and over my bed, wrapping her wee body around my neck like a stole. They are doing fabulous in their new home, BTW :).

  10. Interesting that there is that evening time of craziness. That's when our pack settles in for the after dinner and before bed nap! Once dinner is completed, that's about it. Naps and cuddles, even the young one Breeze, who is eight months old.

  11. Good job! I used to have to do this with Kaya when she was a puppy. After hours of physical exercise, I finally realized 15 minutes of training would wipe her out, duh. Now my dogs seem to have an internal clock, even if we don't do anything all day, they pass out after dinner. Oh, and Norman loves to roll over on his back too when I am trying to do a serious training session. But it is too cute to ignore!

  12. Madden certainly goes nuts in the evening! She especially likes to let loose when we crawl into bed. I tend to be annoyed with her over it, which probably isn't fair. We had tried feeding her dinner out of a Gatorade bottle which we should probably start doing again. Reading your post reminded me it's about time to start that up for her. Hades and Braylon tend to be incredibly chill at night which is great.

  13. Evening wackiness? How about 24/7 wackiness!

    Stop on by for a visit


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