Endless energy
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    Hi, I'm new here and new to the breed. I have a B mix (with Aussie I think) who is almost a year old. When we got her at 5 months old, Lucy had some odd behavior like barking at dust and chasing bugs for hours on end. Lucy was so hyper vigilant I was unable to walk her because she would chase everything (including cars) and freaked out when she saw other people or dogs. She also would not nap or sleep through the night. After talking with the vet we ended up putting Lucy on doggie Prozac.
    Since then we have made some great progress with training and being able to walk. Lucy is more connected and we manage. She had been doing great with training and walks but suddenly it's like Lucy has forgotten everything she knows. I walk her twice daily for 45 minutes each and she gets a mid-day walk when I work. This is not enough. She's been barking at nipping to play after I walk her and waking in the night. She has some interest in toys but it is limited attention. Lucy loves other dogs but will not play much at the dog park. I have bought so many bones and other chew toys with little luck putting a dent in her energy.
    Ideas or suggestions??!!
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  • If the other part of her makeup is Aussie, then that may be where the excess energy is coming from. A friend who has had Aussies has found them to be pretty challenging to calm down, even with ample exercise. Your dog likely needs more than you are giving her, so something like biking or jogging (if you are up to it) might be helpful. Otherwise, I have found it useful to mentally challenge difficult dogs. This can be training or puzzle games if they interest her. Is she food motivated? Making her work for her daily ration is one possibility, but some high energy dogs, e.g. Border Collies, are not particularly tempted by food. Clicker training might be a good route to take. You are only limited by your imagination in what you can teach her to do, and with some dogs the mental stimulation will tire them out as efficiently as physical work. Worth a try.....

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    Before we had Lucy I had a border collie and a aussie/border mix. They did not require nearly the amount of attention as she does. I just feel like I am not able to get to the "thing" that will calm her. The other challenge is Lucy broke her leg running after a car so she is not able to jog.
    We are clicker training and have worked with a trainer. She has limited interest in toys. She engages in about 5 minutes of ball or chase before getting bored or disinterested. Her limited attention makes it hard to train her. ...

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  • You don't mention whether she is food oriented. I was thinking more of puzzle games than straight toys, i.e. the dog has to figure out how to access the food. A roller ball is a simple example, but there are quite elaborate puzzles to challenge the dog's mind as to how to obtain the reward. Does not work if the reward isn't salient enough. For some dogs, figuring out the puzzle is the reward!

    My next door neighbour had several Aussie shepherds, and although fairly high energy they were reasonable, not frenetic. The friend I mentioned who currently has a difficult Aussie has had one previously that was not like this, but from anecdotal evidence it would seem that such difficulties are becoming common in the breed, or perhaps the combination of Basenji/Aussie is to blame. I have not known Basenjis to be unreasonably active, but perhaps I have been lucky.

    It's too bad the leg issue prevents you from giving her more physical exercise, but the alternative is to work on her mind. I recommend teaching the generic command "pick it up". From that base, you can teach the names of various objects. The way to go about this is fairly simple and I can elaborate if you wish. With patience you can grow your dog's vocabulary and make her a more interesting and useful companion. Asking her to find various objects hidden around the house might be one game you can play together.

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  • Wish I knew what to add to Shirley's recommendations but she's covered most the bases. I would get a full thyroid panel (absolutely can cause behavior changes and energy ups or downs), and talk to the vet about prozac dosage. (btw, prozac is prozac.... my dog is also on it. Coincidentally I had just posted about her and then next unread was yours.) I would like to also give a bit of encouragement ... your pup is young... at a year to 2 often they are at their wildest, most destructive and most demanding. So if you can just survive another year or so, he may chill out some. :)

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    @eeeefarm
    Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate all of the ideas. Lucy is most motivated by things that move, socks, stuffed toys and then sometimes food. She was going into my kids rooms and getting toys then taking off like a bat out of h$ll. I taught Lucy a to do the same game with a new toy. She's very bright. I probably haven't been doing enough mental play.
    I taught her a new trick today and it did curb her energy this afternoon. I think I would like to expand her vocabulary (and yes, I would love some insight into teaching her to find named toys). And then get her into agility in a few months!

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    @DebraDownSouth
    Thanks for taking time to respond. I am going to touch base with the vet and try a few new things. I appreciate your responding!

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  • @neve said in Endless energy:

    @eeeefarm I think I would like to expand her vocabulary (and yes, I would love some insight into teaching her to find named toys). And then get her into agility in a few months!

    This is how you proceed. First, teach "pick it up" as a generic term. Use a favourite toy. You can clicker train this behaviour easily, moving from clicking proximity to touching to picking up the toy. Perhaps she will offer picking it up without going through all the steps, but you don't want to throw it for her, just have her pick it up from the floor. After she is doing this reliably (and not before!), add your cue words "pick it up" so she understands the meaning. Once she is reliable you can generalize the behaviour with other objects and in other places.

    When she is reliably picking up anything you indicate, start again with one object. This time say "pick up the ______" (whatever it is). Get her doing this reliably, change to a different item. Again, use "pick up the ______" but with the new name. Then put both items together. Start with the one you know she prefers, and ask her to pick it up. If she gets it wrong, don't reward, but ask again. A few repetitions until she is getting it correctly, then ask for the other one. Again, don't reward until she gets it right. Practice until she differentiates with the two objects, then add a third and name it.......and so on. Don't go too quickly, give her time to understand.

    Once she is reliably managing to pick up the correct item by name, you can gradually move to having her find and bring you the item you desire. I like Charles Eisenmann's methods, so I would start using full sentences and let her find the meaning, e.g. I could say to my boy, "I sure wish I had a red bone right now", and he would go find it and bring it to me. Or "I wonder where the frog is?", and again, he would search for the item requested. Makes for great games, especially when you hide the items around the house! :)

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