If you are a dog owner, you recognize the fact that your dog’s energy levels ebb and flow throughout the day. My Baylie is full of energy early in the morning, is a lazy bones during the day and then goes hog-wild as evening approaches. Early on, I wondered if I had a nocturnal dog on my hands or even it there was such a characteristic in canines. I somewhat discounted that theory because she sleeps soundly through the night. However, placing her in her kennel at bedtime may suppress her nocturnal tendencies, as she is still going strong up until the time I tuck her into her kennel for the night. Left to her on devices and not kennel trained, she may prefer to prowl and pawty all night and sleep during the day.
Surprisingly, certain breeds of dogs have nocturnal tendencies. Baylie’s breed of Great Pyrenees/Border Collie is known to have nocturnal traits. According to the Great Pyrenees Club of America, the Great Pyrenees is naturally nocturnal. They have a guardian instinct as a livestock guardian dog. They prowl at night protecting their herd from predators. Not living on a farm or owning cattle or sheep, I had to find ways to bridle Baylie’s nocturnal tendencies and at the same time satisfy her herding instinct and need for speed. Short walks in the morning and at night are just not going to cut it with high energy breeds like Baylie. They need much more stimuli. Lack of exercise in dogs can result in frustration which can result in behavioral problems such as destructive chewing or aggression.
I’ve found that the solution for a dog that prefers to sleep the day away and pawty all night is tire the dog with plenty of exercise and stimulation throughout the day. That sounds good in theory but not in practice, as most folks are not at home during the day to supervise nap times. Also, during the hot Summer months, especially in our southern climate, vigorous play outdoors in the heat of the day is not safe for a human much less a dog. If it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog. My Baylie refuses to play outdoors in the hottest part of the day and opts for a cool spot she has dug out under the shade of the azaleas to snooze the day away. Of course, the type, intensity, and duration of activity depends on the individual dog.
Even if you are unable to exercise your dog during the day, there are still alternatives to making sure your dog gets enough exercise so that he will sleep like a baby at night. Doggie daycare programs, which are usually reasonably priced and offered by most veterinarian clinics, are a great option. Another option is a play date with another dog. Baylie’s fur-friend, Cinnamon, visits two or three evenings a week for play dates.
Another energy burning activity that really gets Baylie’s engine revving is chasing a laser. When her puppy trainer suggested a cat’s laser toy for Baylie, I was skeptical. A dog chasing a laser cat toy? This proved to be Baylie’s favorite activity and requires no physical exertion on my part!. I can sit on the patio with a cup of coffee in one hand and the laser in the other while Baylie runs laps around the yard chasing that little red dot. What could be easier? We also, play fetch with frisbees, and balls for exercise.
If you feel like you have a nocturnal canine on your hands and feel like you should hang a sign on the front door saying “Do Not Disturb, Canine Day Sleeper”, so no one rings the bell and disturbs your canine sleeping beauty, then you may want to evaluate your pet’s daily exercise plan.