Did you know that the majority of dogs that are called hyperactive don't display the true symptoms of hyperactivity? A truly hyperactive puppy will have a series of physical symptoms. An elevated resting heart rate and compulsiveness are just a couple of things that back up the diagnosis. And, of course, they will act like little tornados.
As a dog owner, you can easily change this misunderstanding into a positive. It means that instead of needing medical treatment, you can calm your dog by helping him implement some small lifestyle changes.
Understanding Why Your Puppy Is Hyper
Animal shelters and pounds are full of puppies who irritated their owners. Maybe they barked too much, chewed too many shoes, or dug up a couple of gardens. But these and similar actions don't make a bad or hyperactive puppy.
The key to decreasing hyper behaviors starts with creating a life of balance for your pup. It's important to understand that a well-mannered dog that you have adequately trained can still act out. These actions are often a direct result of not receiving enough exercise and physical stimulation. In other cases, the problem might be due to a lack of mental engagement. For example, you take your dog for an hour-long run each day, but he's still bouncing off the walls.
For this to make the most sense, consider your own human needs. If we don't move around or exercise much, we are increasing our risks of developing anxiety or depression. Additionally, constant boredom is dangerous to both your mental and physical health. In fact, it can reduce your lifespan.
Understanding the factors that contribute to erratic or hyperactive puppy behavior will give you the best tools to help your pet. Pay attention to your dog so that you can to find the best way to balance them out.
Remedies for Calming a Seemingly Hyperactive Puppy
Hyperactivity or lack of focus in a puppy is sometimes a sign of a more serious medical issue. So, if you're having a hard time calming your dog, it's best to start by ruling out medical conditions. You can speak with your veterinarian about testing.
If your dog receives a clean bill of health, look at his activity levels. It’s highly likely that he simply isn’t getting enough stimulation or exercise. One or a combination of the remedies we’ve listed below may help if this is the case.
When trying these new strategies of calming your dog, keep in mind that switching your methods too quickly can cause an increase in his anxiety. With that said, you should try one at a time and give it two to four weeks to work.
Without further ado, here are some innovative remedies you can employ to keep your hyper pup at bay:
1. Get them out of the house
Most of us have busy schedules. So, spending a day or two where we don't have to do much of anything is often viewed as a prize. On the other hand, it is perfectly normal to go a little stir crazy when you've been cooped up in the house too long.
Unfortunately, many pet owners don't make this connection while thinking about their dogs' behavior. If you want a calmer, more well-behaved pup, exercise him.
Take him for two long walks each day. One in the morning and one in the evening. He needs to have 30 minutes or more for each walk. Even if it isn't your favorite part of the day, don't rush him through the walk.
Allowing him to explore the environment, smell the smells, and use his sense of touch will exercise both his mind and body. Also, break his day up with some play time outside. Games like fetch and frisbee that require a significant amount of running wear out active puppies.
If your schedule doesn't leave you with much free time, consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your hyperactive puppy in doggy daycare.
2. Establish a routine and stick with it
Hyperactive behavior in a dog sometimes comes from a lack of security. If you are not your dog's first owner, this can affect him even more. If a dog has moved from home to home, lived in various shelters, or experienced abuse, they are most likely to have hyperactive episodes regularly.
This is why establishing and sticking with a daily routine is important. When a dog is aware of how his day will go, he will have a calmer disposition. No one expects you to plan every moment of the day, it simply isn't possible. But having some structure around your dog's important activities like meal and play times can make a world of difference.
3. Invest in the right toys
Yes, most dogs love playing with balls and squeaky chew toys, but they won't give him the benefits that a boost in brain power can provide. Your hyper pup needs interactive, brain-stimulating toys that can challenge him and help him learn.
There are plenty of toys you can choose from that won't break the bank. Options include interactive puzzles, activity mats, and brain teasers that reward him with treats.
4. Aromatherapy for a hyperactive puppy
Aromatherapy requires the use of essential oils made from plants. The fragrance of certain oils can have calming effects on both humans and animals.
Your puppy will benefit most from scents like lavender and chamomile. They are safe to use and known to help with relaxation, sleep, and calming anxiety. If you are interested in trying different types of oils to see how your dog reacts, make sure you speak to your veterinarian first. Some oils are dangerous for dogs.
When you spray a relaxing oil combination directly onto your dog's skin, you will help maximize its benefits. This way, the oil is both inhaled and absorbed by his body.
5. Evaluate your puppy's diet
Buying things in bulk is one of the easiest ways to save money on items you frequently purchase from toilet paper to your puppy's food. The downside is that most of those extra large bags of dog food are full of unhealthy ingredients.
The bag you're purchasing is likely full of coloring, sugars, fillers, and meat byproducts that your dog simply doesn't need. Not only that, eating such unhealthy food is linked to your dog's behavior. This is very similar to the way overeating junk food can make us feel icky and sluggish.
When you purchase dog food, think about your ostensibly hyperactive puppy. Always read and understand the ingredients label beforehand. You should see real, identifiable foods on the label without the addition of preservatives and fillers.
6. Instill good manners and reward him when he does well
Your dog might seem hyperactive when he jumps all over anyone who walks into the house, or he's constantly barking for attention. But these are more likely signs of bad manners, not hyperactivity.
Just as you teach children to say "please" when they want something, you can teach your dog a similar concept. Instead of using the word "please" as the one that makes things happen, the word "sit" will take its place with your puppy. Whether he wants to go outside, eat, or do anything else, refuse to give in to what he's asking for if he isn't sitting first. Doing so teaches him that a reward follows sitting.
When you are consistent, your dog will learn to assume the sitting position when he wants something automatically. That is sure to be a pleasant change from begging or acting pushy.
Some puppies will do anything for a little extra attention. And unfortunately, they often learn that bad behavior will get it for them. Because of this learning, your dog might act out for the simple sake of interacting with you. To counteract bad behavior, take the time to encourage your dog when he is calm. When you reward him, he will learn a new behavior pattern.
So, instead of making a mess for attention, he will repeat the actions that caused the reward.
Caring for a Hyperactive Puppy
You shouldn't think of your hyperactive puppy as one that has behavioral issues because there's no such thing as a bad dog. Instead, your hyper pup just requires a little extra care and attention.
Keep in mind that just like humans, puppies have different personalities. So, a new puzzle toy might help calm one while another may respond better to dietary changes. Be patient while trying out different calming methods.
Do you have tips for dealing with a hyperactive puppy? Let us know in the comment section below!