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How do you calm a high energy dog?

How To Calm A High-Energy Puppy

Puppies are a lot of work. At times, their energy seems inexhaustible. Everything is new to them, and they are more coordinated than human babies at this age. They not only have the curiosity to investigate, but the ability as well!

We tend to exaggerate the extent of the puppy’s behavior because we are exhausted. However, there is a difference between typical puppy activity and true “hyperactivity.”

Canine hyperactivity, a condition called hyperkinesis, exists in an extremely small percentage of dogs. Clinically diagnosed hyperactive dogs don’t learn well, cannot maintain a “sit” or “down” even with practice, don’t settle overnight and are overly alert to new things. They may have elevated heart rates, may salivate and bark excessively and could have trouble maintaining weight. Of course, only your veterinarian can diagnose this condition. If you see clear symptoms, make notes and discuss with your veterinarian.

Statistically, it is much more likely your puppy is not hyperactive, but needs appropriate exercise and training. Reset your expectations, and learn the tricks good trainers can offer.

Here are five ways to calm your life once you are smitten with your puppy:

1. Crate-Train

Teach your pup to love “his room” — a place for naptime, downtime, time-outs and those times when you need to get something done without him under your feet. Dog crates are great places for puppies to learn to calm themselves, to feel safe and—sometimes, when we get lucky—to be still long enough to fall asleep. Remember, your puppy needs regular naps and good sleep to stay healthy. Letting the family constantly rev the puppy up to entertain them will not produce the calm dog you want.

2. Cross-Train

Work a little in lots of areas rather than going long-distance in any one. Puppies’ bone structures are not complete for more than a year. Walking for more than a half-mile, jogging with humans or jumping frequently are not good activities for puppies. Explore four areas of exercise: physical, mental, sniffing and chewing.

The best physical exercise for puppies includes short spurts of running and play in safe places like fenced-in yards.

We all know puppies like to chew. Whether exploring the world through their mouths, or relieving the irritation of teething at around 4 months of age, they need safe items to chew. What you choose depends on how hard your puppy chews and whether or not he tries to consume what he chews. Hard rubber toys are good, but should be inspected often for wear. Some dogs enjoy chewing on whole fresh carrots, dried sweet potatoes, dried beef tendons or tracheas, or other organic items. Appropriate chewing outlets tire out your puppy and save your valued possessions!

3. Catch And Reward Good Impulses

New owners often think of catching puppies making mistakes and punishing them. Flip that—look to catch your puppy doing something you like and reward the heck out of that! You can use treats or “life rewards” to reinforce good behaviors. Keep his favorite toy out of reach until he sits or responds to your cue to “come.” Then present the toy and have fun.

4. Manage The Environment

5. Start Training Now! Repeat Often

All skills require practice. Repetition is essential. Repetition is essential. From the moment you bring puppy home, he is learning. Make sure he learns the lessons you want. Enroll in a reputable puppy class and practice skills in short sessions incorporated into everyday life. Channeling his energy into skills you want will turn “over active” into interactive!

Want to know more about bringing up your puppy? Check out:

  • 7 Common Puppy Training Mistakes
  • 4 Essential Puppy Potty Training Tips
  • Crate Training 101

Janet Velenovsky is a past president of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) and Associate Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) with IAABC. She is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA, “knowledge assessed”). Janet owns Kaizen Pet Training & Behavior and is a co-creator of the patented Gentle Leader® “Come With Me Kitty” Cat Harness and Bungee Leash by Premier Pet Products, where she served as Training & Behavior Education Department Manager for almost eight years.

By: Chewy Editorial Published: December 23, 2014

How to Calm Down a Hyperactive or Anxious Dog

While there’s information available about some shelter pets, some may have mysterious pasts, so try to be aware of what may have happened to your pet.

Hyperactive Dog - Excited dog leaning on its owner

Specific breeds often need more exercise to stay happy and healthy.

Dogs are full of energy and love to run around and play. But that energy can sometimes get out of hand and become too much for us humans to handle! If you’re looking for ways to help your highly energetic pup calm down, Hartz has some tips on how to manage your pup’s energy and anxiety, so you can keep them happy and relaxed.

Why is Your Dog So Energetic?

There can be several reasons why your dog is energetic or overactive. It could be as simple as knowing what their breed requires for exercise and play, or it could be something more complex like lack of exercise, fear or anxiety, or a reaction to certain types of food.

High-Energy Dog Breeds

Certain dog groups have more energy than others – and specific breeds within these groups often need more exercise to stay happy and healthy. These groups include:

  • Sporting breeds, such as spaniels, setters and pointers
  • Working breeds, including shepherds, retrievers and terriers
  • Herding breeds, like collies and sheepdogs
  • Toy dogs, such as Chihuahuas or poodles

If your dog falls into one of these groups, giving them plenty of exercise and playtime each day can play a big role in their health and happiness.

Dog Personality and Stress

In addition to your dog’s breed, their personality can also contribute to their energy and stress levels. A few common personality traits that lead to high energy and anxiety in dogs include:

  • Fearfulness and reactivity: Dogs who are fearful or reactive may become more excitable and overactive when they feel threatened or anxious.
  • Intelligence: If your dog is very smart, they may be more prone to boredom and become overstimulated easily.
  • Sensitivity: Some dogs have sensitive personalities and may quickly become overwhelmed or stressed by loud noises, new people or environments, sudden changes in routine, or other triggers.

Calming Techniques for Dogs

Hyperactive Dog - Dog running with orange Duraplay ball in mouth.

Playing fetch is a great way to burn energy and keep your pup focused.

Dogs are known for their high energy levels and love of play. But if it’s too much to handle, there are different strategies you can try to help your pup manage their energy, depending on the reason behind their behavior.

Try Calming Activities

Training sessions are a great way to get your pup’s attention and keep their mind focused. During an average training session, your pet will have to focus on you and obey your commands, which can become a calming routine as you practice day to day. Playing fetch or tug-of-war are great ways to burn energy and keep your pup focused. And if all else fails, cuddling usually works!

Give Them Plenty of Exercise

A tired dog is often a good dog, so make sure your pup is getting enough exercise every day. A good way to tire out your dog is by taking them on long walks or runs, playing fetch with them, or even going swimming if they’re up for it. Just make sure they’re getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.

Feed Them a Healthy Diet

What your dog eats plays a big role in their overall health and energy levels. Dogs that eat processed foods or foods that are high in sugar tend to have more energy and be more hyperactive than those that eat a balanced, healthy diet. So, if you’re looking to calm down your dog, be sure to feed them healthy meals and dog treats throughout the day.

Provide Ample Mental Stimulation

In addition to physical activity, dogs also need mental stimulation to stay happy and well-behaved. Highly active dogs tend to benefit from activities that challenge their minds, such as puzzle toys or training exercises. If your dog is constantly bored, they may start acting out to get your attention, so be sure to give them plenty of things to do.

Spend Quality Time Together

Sometimes, all an overactive dog needs is some quality time with their favorite person. This could be snuggling on the couch, going for a leisurely walk around the block, or just sitting in the backyard soaking up some sun together. No matter what you do, spending some one-on-one time with your furry friend will help them feel loved and secure, which will go a long way toward calming them down.

Sign Them Up for Basic Manner Training

If your dog’s high energy and lack of focus are getting out of control, you may want to consider enrolling them in basic manners training. These classes will help teach them how to behave appropriately both inside and outside the home and can be a great bonding experience for you both.

Join a Canine Sports Community

Hyperactive Dog - Dock diving, yellow Lab dog catching a toy during an event after jumping off a dock

Canine sports, such as dock diving, can get the blood pumping and provide mental stimulation.

If your dog is a hyperactive breed, or if you just want to channel their energy into something productive, joining a canine sports community can be an excellent option. There are many different types of dog sports out there, including agility, flyball and dock diving. These activities will help get your pup’s blood pumping while providing it with some much-needed mental stimulation. Plus, they’re a lot of fun for both you and your dog!

If you have an overactive dog, don’t worry! Lots of pet owners experience this and there are plenty of things you can do to help calm them down. By following these tips, you can help your furry friend lead a happier and healthier life.

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