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How do you calm down a hyper dog?

How to Train a Hyper Dog to Calm Down

Your doorbell rings and suddenly, your dog erupts in barking. She runs around the house, knocking things over and making more noise than you can stand. You try to hush her and hold her back, but as soon as you open the door, she’s straining at her collar. The pizza guy on the other side of the door shuffles back, sure you have a vicious dog. “It’s OK,” you say. “She’s friendly.” And then you admit to yourself that you have a hyper dog. If only there was some way to get her to calm down.

Defining Tasks

Training your hyper dog to calm down on command is an incredibly useful skill. Hyper dogs mean well. They just have a lot of energy they don’t know how to control. By training your pup to respond to a calming command word, you can teach your energetic dog good manners and protect your guests from being jumped on. Depending on the energy level of your dog, it may take several weeks for you to fully train her to calm down on command.

Getting Started

You want to use high value treats that your dog only gets during training sessions. You can also use a clicker. In the beginning, choose a relatively distraction-free area. However, you want to train your dog while she is excited, but not so roused she’s jumping on you. You won’t see too many results if you try to train your dog as soon as you walk in the door after a long day out of the house. Try taking your dog for a walk or giving her another way to shake off some energy before getting started.

The Settle Method

Get excited!

The first step is getting your dog excited, but not over-excited. Move around so your dog follows you, wave your arms, jump up and down, or make silly noises. You want her to be bouncy, but not jumping on you.

Say «settle»

Once your dog is excited, stop moving, cross your arms over your chest, and say “settle.” You want to use a firm voice, but not shout at your dog. There’s no need to scare her.

Reinforce good behavior

If your dog settles down and places all four of her paws on the ground, you should use a marker word, such as “yes” or “good,” and give her a treat. If she doesn’t calm down, take a step back and wait. Once she settles, you can reward her.

Increase the difficulty

Practice a few times. After three or four attempts, increase the difficulty by only rewarding your dog if she does not put her paws on you. You want to make sure you are training your dog not to jump, instead of to jump and then stop jumping.

Practice a few times a day

You will need to practice in short sessions. The longer you practice, the more difficult it will be for your dog to settle down. Repeat the exercise with your dog about five times a day. You can speed the process by keeping your rules consistent when you are playing other games and rewarding your dog when she jumps but doesn’t put her paws on you.

Train with guests

As your dog becomes familiar with the ‘settle’ command, practice with other people to reinforce the behavior. Have a friend or family member ring your doorbell. Reward your dog when she settles and performs good behaviors, such as not jumping, not pawing, or not nibbling.

Use random rewards to proof the behavior

In the beginning, you want to reward your dog any time she performs a good behavior. After a few weeks of practicing this command, you can strengthen your dog’s ability to calm down by making rewards random and starting to wean your dog off treats altogether. Keep using your marker word and other forms of rewards, such as physical affection, sporadically.

The Clicking for Calm Method

Start slow

This method requires patience. You will start off by rewarding your dog every time she practices good behavior with a click and a treat. Often, the challenge with training an energetic dog is that the treat excites her all over again. By connecting the clicker with the treat, you can gain a moment of calm from your pup and build from there.

Reward moments of calm

Begin rewarding your dog with a click and a treat every time all four of her feet are on the floor at the same time. You will need to be quick. The click needs to happen at the exact moment all four of her feet are on the floor, so she can understand that the calm is what elicits the reward.

Keep working with the clicker

Keep working with your dog and rewarding moments of calm where all four of her feet are on the floor at the same time. After a few sessions, your dog will realize she can control the clicker and get a tasty treat by standing still. Over time, your dog will start repeating the action for you to get a treat.

Make your pup wait for it

As your dog gets the hang of the clicker, you can make her wait for longer periods of time before clicking the clicker and giving her a treat. You can vary the amount of time between clicks, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter.

Add a command word

Keep practicing until your dog will stay still for several seconds in a row. Then you can add in a command word of your choosing, such as “settle down” or “chill out,” which can give a clue of when you want her to calm down.

Phase out the reward

Over time, you’ll want to stop using the treat and clicker as a reward system and replace them with another type of calm praise, such as a gentle massage. This way, you can have your dog calm down without needing the clicker on you at all times.

The Mind Your Manners Method

Exercise before starting your training session

If you have a hyper dog, you want to make sure you exercise him before starting any of your training sessions. This can help your dog focus during training.

Teach your dog a basic ‘no’ command

Keep your sessions short and start teaching the ‘no’ command. When you say «no» or «stop», move your dog away from what he is doing and repeat the command and give your dog a reward.

Start adding additional commands to ‘stop’ or ‘no’

You can use “no” to correct other bad habits your dog has. When your dog jumps or bites, simply say «no» along with the habit, for example «no jump.» Using the same method you used to teach the ‘no’ command, consistently train your dog not to bite or jump. Do not scold your dog for bad behavior. Instead, reward your dog once he listens to your command.

Add in other basic commands

Following the same routine of exercising and then training, add in other commands which can help you control your dog’s behavior, such as ‘sit’, ‘down’, and ‘stay’.

Teach your dog to stay quiet

Use this approach to discourage barking and reward quiet behavior when your dog is likely to get excited.

Be consistent and keep practicing

By consistently training your dog using these basic commands, you can help control your dog’s hyper instincts and instill in them a sense of calm and order.

By Christina Gunning

Published: 02/20/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

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Training Questions and Answers

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My puppy has so much energy that she won’t listen to commands that she already knows. She like to jump on guest, and tears up everything she sees.

Lexi May’s Owner

Caitlin Crittenden — Dog Trainer

1133 Dog owners recommended

How to Calm Down a Hyper Dog

Is your pup a big bundle of energy? While occasional barking and jumping are normal behaviors, overexcitability can become a disruptive problem for dog owners.

If your hyperactive dog is affecting the mood in your home and annoying the neighbors, it’s time to take decisive action. Fortunately, we’ve put together a guide about how to calm a hyper dog.

Need help understanding your dog? You can chat with us to better care for your pup!

What Causes Hyperactivity in Dogs?

Symptoms such as an inability to relax in any environment, excessive barking, clinginess, or overreacting to everyday stimuli suggest you may not be addressing your dog’s physical and emotional needs. Dogs require regular stimulation, proper behavioral conditioning, and a diet brimming with nutrients to help them be their best lovable selves.

Many dog owners believe hyperactivity is an unchangeable part of their pet’s personality. While it’s true some breeds have more energy than others, hyperactivity isn’t something you have to put up with. Like humans, dogs’ personalities are determined by their upbringing and environment, as well as genetic makeup.

If you’ve adopted a poorly trained dog with behavioral issues, you may need to spend more time addressing their hyperactivity than you would a new puppy. Rest assured, however, that your furry friend is capable of changing with the correct care and attention.

Dog jumping over log.


Wondering how to get your dog to calm down? Here are our top tips for how to calm an overstimulated dog:

Don’t Encourage Excitability

While it may feel tempting to smother your gorgeous pup with love and affection every hour of the day, rewarding an excited dog with attention will reinforce their poor behavior. If your dog is barking and jumping up and down, try to ignore them. Don’t talk, make eye contact, or touch your dog unless you need to push them down.

We appreciate it can be difficult to ignore an excited dog, particularly if they’re whimpering or putting on their cutest expression! If you’re struggling to handle your emotions, try moving into another room or distracting yourself with music or a podcast. Over time, your dog will learn what types of behavior you’ll accept and which you won’t.

Reward Calmer Behaviors

One of the golden rules of calming a hyper dog is to praise peaceful behaviors with treats and rewards. Feel free to shower your dog with love when they’re resting on the couch or walking calmly through your local park. You may even choose to reward them with some tasty treats to help ease the process.

Be wary of overfeeding your dog with delicious kibble, however. As well as risking your dog’s health, overindulgence may breed a sense of entitlement in your dog and cause angry outbursts when they’re refused treats – thus defeating the point of your rewards! Remember – moderation is the key to success.

Provide an Outlet for Your Dog

Dog smiling and standing

Dogs are naturally active and sociable creatures. As such, owners must provide physical and emotional stimulation to keep their dogs happy and healthy. So, how can you get your dog to calm down through safe and accessible outlets? Firstly, we recommend scheduling regular playtimes involving simple games like fetch. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could even create your own obstacle course or hide a treat somewhere in your backyard. Feel free to get inventive and get your friends and family members involved.

At the same time, you must establish behavioral limits when playing with your dog. If they start to get too aggressive or destroy your favorite patch of petunias, you should stop the problem in its tracks. Discourage overly excitable playtimes by ending games when your dog gets too aggressive. You can resume the fun once your dog has calmed down, as this will clearly demonstrate what types of behavior are acceptable.

Release Your Dog’s Excess Energy Through Exercise

If your dog paces around during the day and has trouble sleeping, you may not be providing them with enough opportunities for exercise. You should walk your dog at least once daily unless they have mobility issues. Some larger breeds require longer and more frequent walks, so it’s up to you to do your research and ensure your dog is getting enough time outdoors.

Encouraging your dog to walk briskly and explore your local area will ensure they’re feeling worn out and contented at the end of the day. What better way to spend the evening than curling up on the couch with your sleepy canine friend, a cup of hot cocoa, and a great film? Bliss!

Engage Your Dog’s Sense of Smell

Wondering how to get a dog to calm down quickly and easily? Some pleasant fragrances like vanilla and lavender can instantly encourage your dog to relax, especially if they associate the smell with calm memories.

To make the most of your dog’s excellent sense of smell, why not place a scented air freshener by their bed and bring it out when you want them to calm down? Just make sure your dog isn’t allergic to the scented products you’re using. It’s also a good idea to find a scent you’re happy lingering in your home.

Dogs are Watching You, So Remember to Stay Calm!

Dogs are sociable creatures and react to the people around them. If you spend the day in a stressed or excitable state, your dog will pick up on your mood and start mimicking your behavior.

If you need to vent, do it somewhere away from your dog and try to keep your voice calm and measured in their presence. If you’re struggling to discipline yourself, it’s worth trying some mindfulness techniques such as meditation. Hey, it may work wonders for your own mental health!

Your Hyper Dog is No Match For You

As you can see, there are plenty of simple tips and tricks for helping your dog relax. However, if you’re still wondering, “how can I get my dog to calm down?” after failed training attempts, Mayvn is here to help. We’re on hand to offer expert tips and advice and make the job of owning a dog much easier. Get in touch today to find out more!

For more information, talk to one of our Pet Experts and get customized advice by submitting a request through one of the following:

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