I'm used to high energy dogs (I have Border Collies) and give them plenty of exercise.

I also now have a Belgiam Tervuren pup who has no prey drive, so doesn't go after balls, frisbees, etc.

I know he needs to work off some of his excess energy physically (not just mentally, which we do.) It's not practical to walk him for that purpose, nor is hiking every day up rough terrain practical.

I tried to train him to chase a ball (there is a kong toy that holds treats and "folds" into a ball-ish shape), but that was a no go. I tried treats and praise when he even looks at the ball I throw. No go.

He loves to herd my Border Collies, which I let him do, but it's not totally fair to my BCs, so when I chuck for them, I have to leash the little one so he's not overly annoying the older dogs.

The three of them get walks twice daily. I was thinking of agility-type things, but he's still too young (he's only about 4 months old).

We do play a lot in the house, but it doesn't tire him out like running does. And my adult dogs have taken to him beautifully, playing and roughhousing very politely (so proud!)

Any ideas would be appreciated.

2 Answers 2


Agility is what came to my mind as well. Perhaps you can get him into a mild start. Anything on even ground should be doable: tunnels, slalom, bridges with mild inclines, even small jumps should be fine. Once he start finding this interesting, you may get him to actually do some running.

Have you ever tried dog-dancing? I am not sure if this is more practical than the walks, but it is certainly more intense than just walking - for you, too, though.

Do you have a lake nearby? Perhaps he will enjoy water!

Another option: is he interested in the ball while it is FLYING and just loses interest when it's resting? A rod with a toy attached woudl allow you to keep the target moving!

Perhaps one of these will get him tired, and congratulations on a group of apparently well-behaved dogs!

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    Thanks for this helpful answer! He's not interested in balls, etc., at all. Moving on the ground (rolling), bouncing, or flying through the air. :( But I will start some with what you said. Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 23:37
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    Lanya, just thought you might like to know that my puppy is mad about chasing balls now, and has a very, VERY strong herding instinct. Thanks so much for your response. Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 5:44

So this is a short answer, and is only an idea to add to the previous answer, as my mom has her dogs in agility and they love it!

In her area, there is a group that does herding lessons. It's in Virginia, USA, called Keepstone farms if you want to check out their website, just to see what it's all about.

There may be a similar training group, that trains working dogs and works off of their natural bred instinct, which it sounds like your dog has plenty of.

In the months to come, let the Pets SE community know what route you've chosen, and how he's doing, and if it has worked off some of his pent up energy. You can add your own answer later, or comment, even if it's not in the most recent feed, so others can see your outcome. I know I'd be interested.

Good luck!

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    Ohhh, I love the idea of a herding-class. If there is one available, that would certainly be amazing :).
    – Layna
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 7:24
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    Thanks! I have to admit, I would never have thought of this myself! Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 12:50

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