Written By: Lily Velez
A hyperactive dog can make any pet owner’s life a bit more challenging than you want it to be. In fact, anyone with a hyper dog will tell you that it can be downright stressful!
Whether your dog keeps chewing on your favorite pair of shoes or whether he has random explosions of energy throughout the day, misbehavior coupled with hyperactivity can really test a person’s patience.
If you’re at your wit’s end, you may be wondering how to calm down a dog or puppy.
Often, the cause of excess energy in dogs is the simple fact that your pup’s physical, mental, and/or social needs aren’t being met. Another factor that might contribute to your doggo’s bursts of energy is his breed type.
Luckily, hyperactivity in dogs can be addressed with simple techniques and holistic options that can easily be integrated into your pet’s daily routine.
Why Do Dogs Get Hyper?
Having a dog that’s hyperactive can be exhausting. Sometimes, it could have potential danger too. Hyper pups could potentially put themselves in danger of getting into an accident, whether it’s inside the home or off-leash at your neighborhood park.
So why do dogs get hyper in the first place?
As previously mentioned, it’s usually due to the fact that the dog isn’t receiving enough physical, mental, or social stimulation. Just like people, dogs have needs that need to be met as well, such as being able to exercise outside, enjoying mentally enriching activities that challenge their minds, and building bonds with their ‘pack’ members, a.k.a. you and any other pets you might have at home!
When these needs aren’t being met, there are no outlets for all that pent-up energy, resulting in hyperactivity.
It very often happens that these dogs need a lot more physical activity than their owner can provide.
When breeds like these aren’t given ample time and space to exercise, play, and run to their heart’s content, they can quickly become bored, which may lead to hyperactivity and destructive behavior.
Behavioral changes such as hyperactivity could also be an indication that your pup is stressed out by something.
There are many external stresses that can affect a dog, such as changes to your household or changes to the dog’s normal routine.
Your dog could simply be mirroring your own stress too. When we’re stressed, our dogs pick up on it, and our stress then becomes their stress.
Separation is also an issue that upsets many dogs. Our four-legged friends love us so much that being alone for long periods of time while their humans are at work can make them nervous, scared, lonely, or stressed.
A lonely dog might start to show destructive behavior like scratching your furniture, barking incessantly, or biting anything they can get their teeth on.
Tips for Calming a Hyper Dog: 5 Easy Strategies
First thing’s first: you may want to consider visiting the vet just to make sure your dog’s hyperactivity or behavioral problem is not caused by an underlying medical issue.
Some pet parents also opt to consult with a dog trainer to learn more about calming down a dog or hyper puppy.
There are several simple techniques you can easily adopt into your dog’s daily routine, however, to help curb that hyperactivity and allow you and your dog to enjoy a more fulfilling and relaxing bond.
Physical Exercises for Managing Hyperactivity
It’s always a great idea to get your energetic dog outside for some physical exercise.
A vigorous dog walk during which your pooch gets plenty of play time might just do the trick to burn off all that excess energy.
Essentially, you want to allow your dog to get enough exercise so that he’ll be too tired to jump up on everything at home. If he has the chance to let go of excess energy, he will be better able to relax when he’s supposed to.
Consider how much exercise your dog might need. Remember, some breeds need a little more exercise than your average dog. High-drive dogs like a Border Collie will likely need more rigorous exercise. In fact, for breeds like these, you might even want to consider hiring a professional dog trainer to coach your dog.
Some people with high-drive breeds will also enroll their dog in a sport like Flyball or Agility to help them burn off all that energy. Of course, any breed can participate in sports like these and others, so it’s worth it to explore these activities for your own pup. It’s a great way to give your dog something fun to do while also opening an opportunity for you and your dog to bond further.
Alternatively, a simple game of fetch or Frisbee in your backyard can do wonders in keeping your dog active and entertained. Swimming is another option and an activity that many dog daycares offer these days. Of course, you’ll want to be sure that your dog is adept at swimming first. If he isn’t, many pet centers offer swimming lessons specifically for dogs.
Additionally, if you want your dog to socialize a little, you could take him out to a dog park so that he can have fun playing and interacting with other dogs. Dogs are social creatures just like us and enjoy spending time with each other. Plus, all those games of tag are sure to leave your pup feeling ready for relaxation once he’s back home!
Mental Stimulation for an Energetic Dog
There’s no ironclad rule or standard for how much exercise your dog needs, but when you have a pooch who simply won’t settle down, he most likely needs to get a bit more active. However, “exercise” doesn’t refer to physical exercise alone.
You can also help your hyper dog vent some energy by playing mentally stimulating games with him. These days, there are plenty of dog toys and interactive feeders on the market that provide ample mental enrichment for our canine companions. Some of these toys are like puzzles that the dog has to solve in order to enjoy a treat. Others, like sniffing mats, put your dog’s nose to work as he tries to find his favorite biscuits.
Mental stimulation in the form of games has more than one benefit. While it helps you to keep your dog’s exercise requirements on par, it also provides your dog with the mental stimulation that he needs to be happy and healthy.
Additionally, when you play games with your dog, you are spending one-on-one time with him. This is especially meaningful to dogs, who often spend long days at home without their owners and crave connection with their humans.
Teach Your Pooch Manners
If your dog barks at you when he wants to be fed or he keeps interrupting you for attention, then your dog’s hyperactivity might just be nothing more than bad manners,
If your dog exhibits inappropriate behaviors like these, you will need to teach him some good canine etiquette, especially when it comes to impulse control.
A professional dog trainer is a great resource to consult in helping you to correct your dog’s unwanted behavior so that he can act more appropriately.
Reward Your Dog for Calm Behavior
Promoting calmness in your dog isn’t just about meeting his physical, mental, and social needs, however. You also want to be sure to reward your dog whenever he exhibits calm behavior. Positive reinforcement helps him to understand what behaviors are acceptable and encourages him to keep repeating them.
One of the first things you can teach your dog is to ask politely for a treat by sitting on command. You can also teach him to sit before you throw him a ball or put down his food bowl.
When your dog does as he is told, reward him with what was promised. You need to make him feel that you acknowledge the times when he is acting appropriately or calmly.
Remember, if you only engage with him when he is being naughty, you are basically teaching him that he needs to act like that in order to get your attention.
There are several holistic options that can help calm down a dog.
Some of the supplements that may reduce hyperactivity and promote relaxation in dogs include melatonin, L-theanine, and L-tryptophan supplements. Herbs like Ashwagandha are also commonly used to help dog’s manage normal stress and maintain a calm disposition.
How to Calm Down a Dog: A Final Thought
Having a hyper dog on hand can certainly test anyone’s patience.
Usually, a dog’s hyperactivity, however, is simply a result of your pup not receiving enough physical, mental, and/or social stimulation. Breed type can also play a role in your dog’s energy level.
But by creating a new routine for your dog that incorporates ample exercise, mentally-enriching activities, canine etiquette training, and positive reinforcement, you can help promote calmness in your dog for the long run.
And by adding holistic options like supplements or CBD, you’ll be well on your way to a more relaxed pup, allowing you to better enjoy your time with your four-legged best friend!
How to Calm Down a Dog or Puppy FAQs