IS A TIRED DOG A “GOOD” DOG?
It sounds logical - if a dog is tired from lots of physical activity or environmental stimulation it will settle down and have a good, long sleep which will in turn make our lives a bit easier. Sometimes they will, every dog is different and different breeds have different needs, but sometimes a tired dog may become more aroused, more energetic, behave out of character and make bad choices.
Some of us may be familiar with young children who are hyped up, can’t settle down, behave badly or have tantrums and outbursts often when they have not had enough rest or sleep and are over tired. How do we behave when we are overtired? We may feel edgy, snappy, irritable, less in control of our emotions and more likely to make mistakes or bad decisions. The same applies to our dogs.
Although exercise and stimulation are so important in meeting the needs of our dogs, too much may have a negative effect. Too much stimulation increases arousal chemicals in the brain and body and more adrenaline is produced. Even after the stimulating activity has ended, elevated arousal chemicals can remain high for a day or more. Some dogs need time to decompress to allow these chemicals to dissipate.
Balance is important. Help your dog to decompress by providing frequent break periods, a quiet place to rest and sleep where they won’t be disturbed, calming activities like chewing, puzzle toys, Licky mats, Kongs or go for a slow, calming sniffing walk in a quiet area.