Sprinting games contribute to misbehavior

October 7, 2020

Games or activities that cause sprinting contribute to an increase of misbehavior for dogs that are adrenaline junkies.

In the past six months, we have helped train numerous dogs that were adrenaline junkies. These dogs were continually looking for their next, high arousal fix. The common factor was their loving owners were using those plastic ball chuckers or playing retrieving games that cause their dog to run faster. Their thought was if their dog is sprinting after the ball, they can better tire out their dog.

The problem is it causes a surge of adrenaline. High adrenaline levels are associated with heightened vigilance, anxiety, and dogs may be more reactive to small stressors. Additionally, most dogs get hot before getting tired. So their dog would stop playing to cool off but would recuperate quickly and need to be exercised again. The dogs and people never had the calming benefit that comes with exercise.

Does this mean it is a problem for all dogs?  No!  But if your dog is misbehaving, it is better to be on the safe side.

The solution

The solution is to give the dog a more moderate style retrieve. The ideal speed for exercising a healthy dog, not limited by medical issues, is a jogging style exercise instead of a sprinting style exercise.

Dogs and their people can still enjoy retrieving games. Throwing the ball for shorter distances but for a more extended time will better tired out the dog. Some people will put obstacles (picnic tables, chairs, etc.) in the path, so the dog is slowed down by having to dodge in and out of the barriers.

You can even play games indoors that will tire out your dog.  Check out our Indoor Games that tire out dog’s series.

If your dog is an adrenaline junkie, tell me about it in the comments section.  What problems does this cause for you?


Timber Ogden on October 11, 2020, at 1:11 pm
Wow! Such an incredible concept. Thank you for sharing. A lot of my dogs in the past were raised with chuck its. They were also very anxious dogs. Just by luck so far I hadn’t introduced one to miss Amora. She has had to grow up with a pregnant owner and our activity has to be safe and controlled. Thankfully!

Debbie Schaefer on October 11, 2020, at 1:15 pm
Interesting, thank you for sharing. I agree, keep it safe and controlled.

Yvonne Miller on October 15, 2020, at 8:52 am
This resonates a bit. There have been times when I thought Goonie was overstimulated after playing in the yard. So this makes sense and will require us to shift how we play ball.

Debbie Schaefer on October 15, 2020, at 9:26 am
The good news is he is a young dog and we are forming new habits early in the game.


Author – Debbie Schaefer

Debbie has spent the last 32 year teaching dog lovers how to successfully turn their rambunctious, rude, disobedient dogs into Well-Mannered companions.

That means there are few bad behaviors Debbie can’t tame or troublesome pups Debbie can’t help turn into well-mannered dogs.

With training, your dog can be a great companion, a fun part of your life.