How to Calm A Hyper Dog in 5 Easy Steps
While every owner wants their pooch to live a happy and active life, it becomes a problem if their excitement levels get too high. Signs of overexcitement include behavior like jumping up and down, spinning around in circles, and barking excessively. Often, these point to your dog having excess energy which they are trying to release in any way they can. Unfortunately, many dog owners don’t fully understand and appreciate this, and they end up encouraging the bad behavior, which is never going to be the best course of action. In fact, it could end up leading to future worse behavior such as aggression.
Calming your dog down and preventing overexcitement are two important actions which any owner can take. So, we are going to provide you with five easy steps of exactly how you can do this.
Step One: Make Sure Your Dog Gets Plenty of Exercise
If your pooch is physically exhausted, it is much less likely that they are going to have the energy that leads to overexcitement. The amount of exercise that each dog requires varies from breed to breed, as well as each dog individually. Of course, one of the best ways of doing this is by making sure that you take your dog out on regular walks, letting them interact with other dogs and allowing them to take in all the sights and smells around them. Part of the pleasure of going on a walk is coming home once again with all their energy expended and the chance to simply relax and unwind.
You can also provide some physical stimulation at home and in the garden as well. Games of tug and fetch are always going to be classic ways to let your dog work off their excess energy. If no one is home during the day to entertain your dog, you could consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to stop your pup going stir crazy when you are out of the house. If your dog is still displaying the same problem behavior, there is every chance that they are still not getting enough exercise. To ramp up the physical activity, you could get them involved in agility or lure coursing, which are particularly tiresome activities for any pooch.
Step Two: Give Your Pooch a Mental Workout
The body isn’t the only part of your dog which needs a workout; you also need to provide them with mental stimulation as well. And unlike physical exercise where you tend to need plenty of space, mental workouts can be done easily at home. Perhaps you can invest in some new toys. There are plenty of different varieties out there. Some give you the option of increasing the difficulty level, so your pooch is less likely to get jaded and bored with them. Also, there are the treat-dispensing toys, which offer an extra incentive for your hound to keep using them. Improving your dog’s problem-solving abilities is one of the best ways of leaving them exhausted at the end of the day, meaning that they are less likely to display the problematic overexcitement tendencies.
Another way that you can work closely with your dog to mentally exhaust them is by teaching them a new trick. Of course, this is going to take plenty of time and patience from both of you, but it is ultimately a rewarding and fulfilling activity. Plus, you can show off what your dog has learned the next time you have friends round! Often, teaching your dog a new trick involves offering them treats when they are doing something well. However, you should only do this when your dog is calm, as you don’t want to inadvertently reinforce overexcited behavior. Which overlaps nicely into the next point…
Step Three: Don’t Reinforce Overexcitement
When your dog gets into that overexcited mood, you don’t want to do anything which encourages it. Remember, your behavior will have a big knock-on effect on the way that your dog behaves. If you offer affection or attention in this situation, you will be telling your pup that you like what they are doing, and you want them to do it more. The message will be that getting excited will get them a reward.
If your dog is jumping up and down, spinning around or running around the house, the best course of action is to simply ignore them. Don’t touch them, talk, or use eye contact. If they try to jump up on you, you should try to turn the other way or gently push them back down again.
Manner’s training can also help with the problem. Before you do anything that is likely to provoke excitement such as getting out their leash or putting the food bowl down, you should ask your dog to sit. The moment they do this, you should reinforce the behavior by rewarding them with whatever action they are trying to get you to perform. Ultimately, you need to be consistent with this behavior or your dog is not going to get the message. Over time, your dog should start getting in the sitting position without needing to be asked.
Step Four: Encourage Calm Behavior in Your Dog (And Act Calm Yourself)
The natural progression to the previous point of not encouraging bad overexcited behavior is to reward your dog when they are exhibiting calm behavior. It is important to encourage these calm moments, so you can get your dog to repeat these actions more often. If you only give your dog attention when they are demanding it, you are never going to be able to reinforce the chilled out behavior that you want from them.
Perhaps your dog is resting in bed or just sitting quietly next to you. If you give them a bit of love and attention on a regular basis when they are in this state, you make it more likely that they will want to continue doing the same thing. Of course, you don’t want to stimulate them to the point where they feel overly energetic once again, but a gentle pat and some quiet words of praise can go a long way. Ultimately, you are going to have to make a concerted effort to ensure that good behavior sticks.
As we discussed earlier, it is also important that you look at your own behavior. If you are not exhibiting calmness, how can your dog be expected to do the same? You should be able to stop your dog’s overexcitement with a quiet command or a fold of the arms rather than getting angry and yelling. The only time you should need to shout is if your dog is in direct danger. You are the leader of your dog, and the best leaders are able to do so using energy and body language alone.
Step Five: Reconsider Your Dog’s Diet
Every dog is different, so you need to choose the food which provides proper nutrition and suits their individual needs. The old saying ‘you are what you eat’ certainly applies to your dog as well. If you just buy cheap food off the shelf, you are likely to find that it is loaded with ‘filler’ ingredients, which are not going to provide any direct benefits to your pooch. A few examples of these include byproducts, artificial flavors, and colors. Imagine if you only ate a diet of junk food and think what this could end up doing to your energy levels. For example, food which is laden with sugar can lead to energy level spikes – during which hyperactivity is likely to occur – followed by crashes.
Choosing a high-quality dog food which is specially suited to your pooch can help significantly in controlling their behavior. If you feel overwhelmed choosing for yourself, you can always get advice from your veterinarian.
It’s a Balancing Act
Ultimately, dogs are creatures which thrive on routine and stability. You need to be consistent in the actions that you are taking, as well as being especially careful not to inadvertently encourage the behavior that you are trying to prevent. Ensuring your pooch gets plenty of mental and physical stimulation, understands that calm behavior will be rewarded, and enjoys a balanced diet will go a long way towards controlling their hyperactive tendencies. You will need to be patient to ensure that your actions take effect.
If you are concerned that nothing seems to be changing about your dog’s overly excitable behavior, it is worth having a consultation with your vet. It is possible that there may be some underlying medical issues which are causing the problem such as hyperthyroidism or some sort of neurological condition. But in general, hyperactivity is an issue which can be treated at home with the right steps. Following the five above can go a long way towards sorting out the problem and leading to a better home life for you and your furry friend.