Why Your Dog Goes Nuts in the Evenings.

Please Play With Me!

Please Play With Me!

You’ve walked your dog, played a little in the yard or let him run with her dog friends on a long walk. You’ve also worked all day, tidied around other humans in your house, or exhausted yourself trying to get them to tidy behind themselves. Dinner has been served, eaten and cleaned up. And now, you’re pooped – ready to sit down with your favorite beverage and watch something on television.

Then, just when you thought everyone was tired and happy, even getting ready for bed – your dog goes nuts! In your face. Romping around. Bugging you about playing with a favorite toy or provoking rough play with other pets (or people) in your house.

What the heck?

It all goes back to biology: dogs are crepuscular animals. This means their wild cousins and ancestors could count on getting prey in the dusky hours of the day, when small mammals scurry about. A very productive time for a last hunt of the day, right? After all, your dog is, evolutionarily speaking, an efficient hunter – not just some slouch who waits to be fed in a bowl!

But our dogs don’t need to hunt in the evenings, so here they are, wonderful bundles of eons of evolutionary energy. You love your dog and want to satisfy this hard-wired need for prey-related activity. What’s a tired owner to do?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Plan a quick evening playtime with your dog’s favorite toy. At our house, we play catch (inside) or a long-game of chasing the Chuck-it Ball (outside) at this time – it satisfies that need for interaction and prey-capturing skills. My preference is the inside game, but we mix it up so no one gets bored.

  • Even better - start a game between your dogs – get a favorite toy, start a game of tug or toss, then leave them to their own devices.

  • Use this burst of brilliance and do a little obedience training, with really yummy treats. We do sits and downs in the kitchen, food-catching in the air and practice leave-it.

  • Try a couple of searches. If your dog hasn’t been to a nose work class, email us and we’ll help you get started.

Fortunately this need for evening activity doesn’t last long, but for those 20 minutes your dog will be happier in the long run (and sleep better) if you use the energy burst rather than fight it.

Then you can get back to whichever series of NCIS or reality tv you’re really interested in!

Beth Ann Sabo