How to Handle Your Dog's Witching Hour

No matter how much exercise your dog gets during the day, it seems as though come nightfall, the energy returns with a vengeance. What to do? The Dog Trainer has some easy tricks to handle your dog's witching hour.

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,
October 16, 2013

A common complaint of people with puppies and adolescent dogs (and, okay, plenty of people with adult dogs, too) is that even though Zippy gets plenty of exercise early in the day, come 7 or 8 pm, he starts bouncing around the house, barking, jumping, looking for things to do.

Usually, a couple of things are going on here: The effects of the morning exercise have worn off. Zippy’s excited because his people are home from work or school (and maybe having dinner, too, yum yum?). And the icing on this behavioral cake is that dogs are “crepuscular,” meaning that they’re most active at dawn and at nightfall. What to do?

Plan ahead!

Hey, if Zippy reliably comes alive at around the same time this evening, you know what’s coming, so you can preempt it. Take 10 minutes – even 5 minutes! – before the witching hour starts, and spend that time clicker training. You’ll polish up Zip’s manners and tire his brain as well. Or play a quick game of Fetch or Tug – by the rules, which again polishes Zip’s manners but tires his body as well as his brain. Or, if you’re knackered yourself and just can’t find the energy to burn off Zippy’s steam, then set yourself up for success by prepping some interactive food-dispensing toys over the weekend, to have ready for those busy weeknights when you’re tired and Zippy’s. Just. Not.

Dog at night image courtesy of Shutterstock.



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