A hyperactive dog can cause havoc, racing around the house, knocking things over, and throwing themselves at people, they can also be dangerous if they start biting, scratching or breaking things. When they are in this manic state it can often be difficult to calm a dog down.
This kind of hyperactivity can be terrifying, especially for young children, and many owners facing this problem quickly get to the point of thinking they need to re-home their dog because they just can’t cope with these dog behaviour problems.
What Makes a Dog Hyper Active?
There are a few health problems that can cause hyperactivity, as well as some dietary causes, but most dogs are simply reacting to what is going on their environment, sometimes mildly and sometimes in quite an extreme way. There is almost always a point to their behaviour, but that is not always easy to work out.
Anxiety in dogs, attention seeking and unruly behaviour are all potential reasons behind a dog’s hyperactivity, so it is important that you try and discover what lies behind your dog’s problem before you decide how to approach solving it. Observe your dog over the next week and try and notice what triggers the hyperactivity, how you react to it, and how they respond to you and then try some of the dog calming methods below.
Different Ways to Calm a Dog Down
Be calm yourself. Dogs will often take a lead from the feelings they pick up around them, so if you are stressed out, or other people around your dog are stressed, they will be picking up on it which can then intensify their own anxiety. If you’re calm you may find your dog calms down too.
Make sure your dog knows that you are the pack leader. Hyper behaviour can be caused by anxiety, or by unruly behaviour from a dog that thinks they are the boss. Either way, establishing yourself as top dog will help as it will give confidence to an anxious dog, and allow you to impose your own house rules on your badly behaved dog. There is no need to do this through dominance or force though; it’s more about demonstrating that you are the decision maker.
Train Your Dog and Change his Behaviour
Start by re-assessing the training you have already done with your dog. Do they need more training or do you need to tighten up on the rules in one or more areas? Being consistent in your expectations of your dog is very important, so don’t allow them to do something one day and not the next as they won’t understand how you want them to behave.
If your dog is suffering with anxiety, use desensitisation training to build their confidence around the things that cause the anxiety and remove some of the triggers that set it off. This training combined with demonstrating that you are pack leader can be very effective. Find out more about dog anxiety by watching this free video series by professional dog trainer, Tony Knight.
Try giving your dog a consequence for hyper behaviour so they learn that this behaviour is unacceptable. That doesn’t mean hitting or punishing them, a quick 5 minutes time out in a crate or alone in a room where they can’t damage anything may be enough.
Indulge Your Dog in the Right Way
Make sure your dog gets some stimulation and exercise every day. It doesn’t always need to be a long walk, as games and other activities at home can be just as beneficial. However, keep the games under your control by deciding when the game starts and stops. If the game gets out of hand and the dog starts to get hyper at any stage, stop the game immediately as this is another way of giving them a consequence for bad behaviour.
Don’t pay your dog any attention while they are hyperactive. Walk away from them if possible or go in another room and don’t speak to them, touch them or give them any eye contact. If they are acting this way because it gets your attention, they will soon learn that it doesn’t work and should stop their manic behaviour.