Got a Cranky Dog? I May Know Why!
Have you ever played or worked so hard that it literally makes you sick and cranky?
I swear when I am overworked and I can’t sleep (i.e. I am too tired) I get a little looney.
I need rest and sleep in order to be successful in life, it is one of those fundamental puzzle pieces I need in order to survive.
I have friends and family that can function on very little sleep and rest. 4 hours or less works for them.
I am not that person.
I need rest and relaxation more I suppose.
Dogs Are the Same Way
Dogs can be the very same way!
Some dogs need a little rest or else they get really cranky.
I have seen dogs in doggy daycare that play so hard and want to play so long (because they don’t know when to stop) that they get very irritable.
I used to have a puppy like this, many years ago.
He would play and play and play in doggy groups, until he needed to pass out from exhaustion.
I would see him shade seeking (looking for a shady spot to lay) and I knew it was time to get him out of the play group.
He needed rest.
If I left him, he could get extremely aggressive with the dogs he had just played with 2 minutes previously.
He was social, but I think his body and mind had its limits!
Kind of like mine.
My ex-husband used to get really, really cranky if he didn’t eat every few hours.
Dogs Have Limits
All dogs have limits.
Some of them don’t listen to their limits because they are easily over stimulated and they have a desire to still work, play or train.
I have seen police working dogs have seizures because they couldn’t stop working in the heat.
Thankfully, that is rare for most dogs!
But, you may have a dog that gets cranky when he gets tired.
How Do You Know
Actually it can be hard for some owners to tell.
The dog can get possessive over his toys, treats and things (even his water bowl) or his place in the shade.
Sometimes these are the dogs that snap at owners, children, and other animals when they are bothered while they are sleeping.
If another dog poked my puppy after he found his piece of shade and settled in, he would get furious almost immediately.
He is just genuinely irritable after a long day, even though he is fighting sleep.
I have another dog who gets cranky and snarls at the other dogs when we have a long drive or a long training day!
What to Do?
So you have an irritably cranky, over exercised dog, what do you do?
Dogs need exercise!
In my opinion, no exercise is much worse to your dog’s mental state than over exercise or over activity.
Dogs need exercise and mental stimulation, above anything else.
So whatever you do, don’t stop letting him play or exercise!
Not all dogs are alike and not all situations are alike.
My dog can trot next to my recumbent trike for 5 miles or more, but 20 minutes of HARD play and retrieve and he is sucking wind.
Watch his tongue.
A long tongue is one of the first signs of overheating and being overstimulated and over tired.
If you are hot he is hot!
If hanging out outside throwing his ball is getting toasty for you, chances are he is too hot!
I used to work with a vet who said anything over 70 degrees (especially in the heat) can cause heat exhaustion and danger.
If you are exercising your dog in the heat (above 70 and in the sun) he may need some water to dip his feet and body into.
If you don’t have that available, get a kiddie pool and put some cool water or ice water in it. This will help him cool down when he gets overly hot.
If you think he looks tired, he probably is!
When my dogs start running and moving a bit slower, their tongues are long, and they seem tired, chances are it is time to stop for now.
I work on endurance and adding more exercise to his life, but when he is tired or hot he needs a rest.
I Used to Live with a Police Dog
When I was in my 20’s I lived with a police dog in training.
He was a NUT and needed almost constant stimulation, unless he was tired.
So I would hook him up to a scooter and let him run laps around our neighborhood until he was pretty tired.
I stayed close to home so that we could go home when he needed to, but we would make laps until he looked like it was nap time!
Then I would let him nap, which is what I needed for sanity.
And, he had a great physique when he started his new job!
So make sure he gets exercise, play, and stimulation! His mind and body need it!
If it is sunny and over 70 stay close to a body of water if you want to exercise him and make sure he has drinking water.
Watch him for signs.
As you get to know what he looks like tired, just before exhaustion, then make sure to stop him and let him rest.
You can take him out again, after a nap (like we do with the dogs at daycare) but allow him to rest his body and mind for a bit.
Exercise builds on itself.
Exercise increases stamina and builds on itself (if you do it right and consistently), so that means what exhausted him 2 weeks ago, he can now do with little problem.
So work, play, train and exercise together, just make sure you put an end to it before you have to deal with the cranky dog!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.