Exercise to Solve Behavior Problems?

Let’s talk exercise and behavior issues, we often get reactive, pushy, hyper dogs and the first thing owners mention is how much exercise (or lack-thereof due to the reactivity/pulling etc.) they’ve been recommended to give their dogs and how they don’t have the time to exercise them for a longer duration of time.

Here’s the thing, no amount of exercise is going to stop unwanted behavior especially when it comes to fear, anxiety, brattiness or the reactivity that can come from it. All you’re going to get is a reactive dog that can bark and pull for 10 miles rather than two. Sure, your dog might at some point tire out to where there’s less of an explosion but it isn’t practical for owners to exercise their dogs to the point of exhaustion just so their dogs will be calmer in the house or react “just a little less” when he comes across another dog or person.

Setting clear and concise boundaries and consequences for unacceptable behavior is what stops it. Dogs who could “never calm down” or went nuts on walk, when given structure and rules at the get-go suddenly start making better decisions and start to think rather than acting on impulse. This is about making it as easy as possible for the owner to succeed while holding the dog accountable so their world can open up together.

These are dogs who run every single day for hours but their owners can’t enjoy a calm walk around the neighborhood or take them to a cafe. Yes, exercise is and should be an important part of the relationship you have with your dog but this shouldn’t be used to resolve issues that are rooted in too much freedom, pushiness or anxiety. Along with exercise - focus on duration work, respect at thresholds, manners in the crate, and calm in the house. All these little moments add up quickly, and will give you more leverage when it matters.