Any one of my readers with terriers knows that the energy is endless. As in bouncing off the walls endless. But I’m here to say, that in the interest of science, I have been conducting experiments on this matter. And I can now say, with certainty, that it is possible to tire out a terrier. I mean tire them out to the point of having them crash for most of the evening and sleep through a good part of the night. Here’s the trick. Terrier energy seems to be adapted to stop and start — huge bursts of energy interspersed with a stop with lots of panting. Lather, rinse, repeat. Break that cycle and you are on the winning side. This coincides with a lot of science which says that humans’ great advantage over almost all animals was the ability to keep moving over long distances at a steady state. Prehistoric humans used to run game to the point of exhaustion by simply traveling at a lope over several days. Even antelope couldn’t keep up that pace.
Luckily, with terriers, back-to-back Marathons are not necessary. For the last several weeks, I’ve been experimenting with walks around San Jose’s Rose Garden. It’s flat and dogs have to stay on a leash. Which forces the dogs to walk at human pace, which, while not as fast as a terrier mad dash, is steady-state walking with no breaks. Between 3.5 miles and 4.5 miles is the sweet spot where you can get terriers tired to the appropriate level. Surprisingly, this is more effective than hiking out in the hillsides. In Sonoma, when we are hiking off-leash, the terriers rush up hill and, by the time the humans reach them, they are recovered and ready to go. But keep the pace steady — even at a relatively slow pace — and the human can trump the terrier.
On average, I’m getting at least eight hours of complete terrier exhaustion and sleep out of one walk.
Terrier owners of America, you can thank me now.