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.

Amy Techau on April 24, 2022, at 7:47 am
Chip does love to play fetch. He also loves to run like the wind! Our yard isn’t very big, but we will try throwing the ball shorter distances so he doesn’t get over-stimulated.

Debbie Schaefer on April 24, 2022, at 9:52 pm
I know you will do what you can

Rhonda Farfan on Oct. 30, 2022, at 12:34 Pm
Wally, as you know, is something of a wild boy. Even after a game of Frisbee, he seems to have more than enough energy to go crazy looking out the window at the outdoor critters! This is undoubtedly the over-arousal that you talk about. Lately I’ve been trying to take him down to the orchard and let him just snuffle around more. There’s some running going on but not so much sprinting. I’ll maybe toss the frisbee a few times but reward him with a few bumps of dog food thrown into the grass, which he has to find. I think he does seem a little calmer.

Debbie Schaefer on Oct. 31, 2022, at 2:47 pm
Pretty amazing!  I fought this concept for a long time.  I love watching dogs run fast.  But like not all exercise is good for all people, that same holds true for dogs.


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Author – Debbie Schaefer

Debbie has been successfully teaching dog lovers how to rambunctious, rude, disobedient dogs into Well-Mannered companions since 1987.

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.