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Know Yourself, Know Your Dog

We've talked about how feelings can come in all shapes and sizes and how our feelings can influence how we behave. Sometimes we feel energized; we are ready to go out to the playground, for example. Some of us have high energy levels and want to be active most of the time. Some of us don't want to be as active. Dogs, too, have different energy levels. Some dogs may have very high energy levels and constantly jump and run around, while other dogs may have low energy levels and not be as active. They could be called couch potatoes! Be careful not to confuse dog size and energy…some small dogs may have very high energy levels, while some large dogs may have very low energy levels.

  • Can you think of an example of a large dog with a low energy level?
  • How about a small dog with a high or very high energy level?
  • Now, let's try to figure out what our own energy level would be (teacher can select school staff or well-known community figures or even celebrities to illustrate examples of Low, Medium, High, and Very High energy levels).
  • Now think about your close friends…do you share the same energy level?

We often tend to have friends who share similar energy levels or with energy levels that complement our own. It's most beneficial when dog owners have the same energy level as their dogs – or if their dog has a lower energy level than they do. Why might this be? Well, let's think how someone who is very high energy might act? (Be very active – such as enjoy hiking, running, biking, always be on the go). And, what does a high energy dog need? (Lots of exercise, lots of activity). What would happen if a high energy dog had a low energy owner? The dog might want a lot of activity, but the owner might not and that wouldn't be good for anyone!

Objective:

Children will learn to consider both a dog's energy level, and their own, and how this energy influences behavior. Like people, dogs are unique and each one may differ in various ways. One way this is expressed is in energy level; some people, and some dogs, are high energy and active, while others are the opposite, low energy and more sedentary. Dogs are born with certain energy levels including very high, high, medium, and low; at the one extreme, the very high energy level dog is constantly on the move and likes to run, never seeming to lose energy. At the other extreme are dogs who don't seem to engage in or need as much physical activity and prefer to "rest" most of the time. Although energy levels are at times associated with certain breeds, even within a breed there can be variation in energy level. How we interact with different dogs depends in part on their energy level; this knowledge will help children better understand how people and animals interrelate, and continue to set the foundation for thinking about others and developing empathy. It is also a helpful lesson when a family considers adopting a dog.

Vocabulary Words to Highlight:

Energy (energy level), Active, Exercise