I’m hyper-aware to how Lumen is changing as she grows, and recently, more than ever before, I’m starting to see the changes as she transitions from baby puppy, to teenager. I just need to keep reminding myself that this is a phase, and, hopefully, she’ll grow out of it in time. And, that one day she’s the gorgeous dog I love, and others, she’s a complete menace. I found it really hard to find information through google on what to expect- there was a lot of vague: “your dog will have more energy,” or, “your dog will begin to ignore you”, but not much on how to work through these issues, or how they would manifest exactly. So, I thought I’d keep track of what was happening with Lumen as she reached this… ‘interesting’… phase in her life.
Today’s post is on our newest issue, which is the intense, and boundless energy that she seems to have.
I’ll put it this way. We get up at 6am every morning and go to the park as soon as it starts to get light. We do an intense session of running, sprinting, cik/caps, tunnels, weaves (chasing the ball), etc. Depending on how long that takes, we then go for a 20-30 minute walk, with a bit of a swim and some more ball-chasing thrown in for good measure. Usually I get home by 7.30, shower, get dressed, check my emails, and we both leave to school by 8.
At school, she greets all the kids as they come in- mentally tiring, and then has a nap when class starts. She comes out for yard-duty (more mental stimulation), then has a nap, yard duty again for lunch-time – sometimes for the whole hour, then has a nap until about 4.30 when we head home.
Lately we’ve been going direct from home to the park where we do MORE intense running, tunnels, ball chasing, etc, and, again, more walking to cool down. We’re usually there for about an hour.
We come home. Lumen and Mallei wrestle for an hour. She might relax for a little while here, but by about 8pm she’s up again, restless and needing some way to let out her energy (because clearly she hasn’t done enough during the day!!!)… so we go and take her for a walk or a run for another half hour. By this point, she’s ready to settle.
It’s interesting because her problem is not during the day- she’s quite happily fast asleep on the couch next to me right now, it’s in the late afternoon and into the evening, when she’s ready to go, all cylinders firing.
The issue I’ve been having is that I don’t even have enough treats to try and do some strength and balance tricks to wear her out physically and mentally that way, because I use them all in the morning, at school, and in the afternoon training at the park! Mal has recently hurt his shoulder, too, which means I can’t even rely on him to wear her out like I usually can!
I don’t necessarily have a solution for this one, except to keep taking her to new and interesting places with lots of smells and being able to explore ‘off-trail’, I think beginning to track with her will challenge her mentally in a new way, I need to keep trying to find time to do clicker training, not only because she loves it, but because she comes out of a session puffing and tired, I need to keep taking her to new places with people and noises, but at the same time I’m conscious she’s also going through some fear-stuff at the moment that I don’t necessarily want to make worse so I need to be mindful of that, too. And I think I’ll do more hill running. That’ll wear her out and build amazing fitness!
edit a week after I wrote this, from 8pm last night:
As another example: Got up at 6.15 this morning, took them straight to the park. Did some sends to wraps, some figure-8 cik/caps between two jumps. Took them free running through the bush for 20 mins (and Lumen has started to RUN in the bush… like, she just runs off on me. Seeya! And she’s gone. Don’t know whether to be happy or concerned. Equal parts of both at the moment). Lu stayed home with Mallei today so they probably played and chased birds and dug holes all day.
Came home at 4.30. Went straight to the park. More cik/cap around trees this time. Went for a 4km run (I don’t run fast so she was just jogging). Went to the off-leash bit. Played fetch in the creek – Lu got some swimming. Did MORE cik/cap around trees and she was SUPER switched on and quick (maybe I need to swim her before every session?? Ugh!), some dogs came down, Lu proceeded to wrestle, run and play fort he next 45 mins. Went home after we’d been there for an hour and a half. Came home, did some shaping and especially tricks focusing on strength and balance for about 30 mins. Lu very antsy, bitey, and generally razzed up even after the session. If it was still light out I would have gone back to the park cos she was in a perfect mood for some agility stuff.
Finish all this and she’s still on edge, chasing the cats and generally being a pest. I’m exhausted!! Why isn’t she?!