“He really needs to run and run and run to blow off steam!”
“We need to exercise him all the time because he is so restless.”
Does that sound familiar? OK: so let’s think about this…
Being restless and hyperactive is not exactly comfortable for the dog or the owner.
If you highly reinforce that extremely self reinforcing behavior you are actually creating a dependence on it. Just like a person with running/ exercise addiction.
It also reminds me of my old violin teacher who stated that so many people seem to want to practice stuff that they are already good at. However it’s not going to make you a better violinist if all you can do is bounce your bow at lightning speed but you cannot play a sweet melody!
This is true for behaviors also.
If you want your dog to calm down you have to reward him for being calm and practice that instead of running him more and more until he practically collapses with fatigue. I promise that when this dog wakes up all the dog wants to do is be even more excited and blow off steam.
The good news is that dogs are not only very smart they can also quickly adjust and learn that if they get rewarded for calm behavior to show off that behavior to earn kudos. Mental activity and rewarded calm behaviors are far more useful to help your dog be happy and calm.