Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Hyperkinetic Dog

Mckenzie lives to play.  The AKC sent me a nice write-up on the breed, and told me something I knew long ago: a Gold Retriever lives to play, and that means to retrieve!  Everyday! Outloud! Always!

It is part of our daily regimen, and on rainy days or when the weather doesn't permit it, I am as sad as Mckenzie.  Creating fun activities inside is doable, but nothing replaces the long ball tosses and wide-open back yard that she enjoys to play in.

I've incorporated it into my day, and we head out back to play with ball, ball-thrower, beer and guitar.  As she winds down between tosses, taking time to "check her facebook page" (I like to call it -- i.e., smelling everything in the yard!), I can take a swig of my fav beer, play some jams, and enjoy God's nature.

I am fully confident that her behavior is best described as "Hyperactive," per the information coming next:

Dr. Karen Becker has written an excellent piece on Hyperkinetic vs. Hyperactivity in dogs at huffingtonpost.com.

She states:
Veterinarians generally agree that most symptoms of hyperactivity as described by the dogs' owners, upon closer inspection, are the result of breed characteristics, conditioned behavior, lack of appropriate physical and mental stimulation, or a combination

In clinical cases of hyperkinesis, the dogs are usually 3 years old or older (well past the age of boundless puppy energy) and haven't learned to settle down.


There's a big and important difference between canine behavior that is abnormal and behavior that is actually normal given the dog's circumstances, but undesirable.

Your veterinarian or animal behavior specialist will need a detailed description of your dog's unwanted behaviors, how often she performs them, and to what degree or intensity.

He'll also need to know about how much physical and mental activity your pet gets on a daily basis, including exercise, social interaction, playtime and exploration. You'll also be asked how you and other family members respond to your dog's undesirable behaviors.

All these factors will have bearing on a dog's behavior, including whether the pet is alone much of the time, isn't getting adequate exercise, isn't obedience trained, has been conditioned through owners' responses to use physical activity to get attention, or is punished for bad behavior rather than rewarded for good behavior.


Mckenzie will clobber me most days when I get home from work.  Her desire and need to go play ball is just over-powering.  My wife literally has to wait until she is done 'tackling' me, before we can have our huggy-time.

Although Mckenzie's behavior _can_ be annoying (and we fully accept it), we take it to be normal, but otherwise, Dr. Becker's article could help you if your dog is truly Hyperkinetic.



Mckenzie, saying, "come throw this ball again!"

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