Steps to Manage a Dog’s Over-Excitement
Steps to Manage a Dog’s Over-Excitement
Have you ever experienced all of these things in the same brief time period?
It may have been a while for some of you because as humans we are expected to contain our emotions, most of the time.
But think back to when you were a kid.
Perhaps there was something that you really, really wanted to win or to have and you thought you were going to get it, but you didn’t or you had to wait for what seemed like an eternity?
Now, did you move through all of those feelings?
I know I did, when I was a kid for sure.
Sometimes, I still feel that way if I don’t get what I wanted or expected or think I deserve.
But, I don’t have the mentality of a toddler.
Your dog, has the mental capacity of a toddler, and he doesn’t understand why moving through all of these emotions and then to agitation is not an acceptable way to act!
So hopefully, now, at least you can understand it just a little bit better, from your dog’s perspective.
I have found that understanding your dog and the “whys” helps monumentally to control your frustration when you work with him.
Dogs aren’t furry people, it is important to understand that they come with a whole other level of instincts and needs.
So let’s get to the steps of managing your dog’s over-excitement.
1. Don’t Get Excited
One of the biggest problems that people fall into is also getting excited or irritated.
Dog sports or sporting events or even exercise and hiking often bring out the excitement in humans and their dogs.
Dogs feed off of our emotions.
Don’t get me wrong you could be super chilled out and still have an excited dog, but if you are over excited or have a habit of being loud and excitable chances are your dog feeds off of you.
Use a super high pitched voice, or your excited tone and speak to your dog quickly and clap your hands… your dog will mirror your behaviors.
I believe that if you are calm, your dog is also more likely to remain calm.
When You Get Mad
And, when you get mad, dogs fly into an over excited appeasement display trying to cheer you up and wondering why you are angry.
Even if your dog is embarrassing you or acting a fool, losing your temper and getting angry isn’t going to help you, your dog, or the situation.
Remain calm and think!
After all, you are the thinking animal.
2. Teach Your Dog Some Calming Techniques
I have written several articles on massage therapy and dogs.
I like to reach down and rub my dog’s ear when I want him to relax himself.
It is a lot like biofeedback and meditation for people.
It certainly takes time, but in my opinion it is well worth it!
Wouldn’t you like to be able to reach down and touch your dog or give a command to him and have his body instantly begin to relax?
Also getting your dog’s attention will allow you to use some other calming techniques.
Yawning slowly and with purpose can help show your dog how relaxed you are and hopefully he will follow suit.
Blinking slowly as you make eye contact can also help.
3. Attention and Distraction
My go to is always attention and distraction.
Recognizing that my dog has the attention span and intelligence of a toddler gives me the upper hand when I am training and working with him.
Imagine taking your human toddler to an amusement park, but then having to wait in line for rides for what seems like an vast amount of time.
How would you keep your toddler from becoming over excited and then working themselves through those stages without becoming frustrated or agitated?
You would probably bring their favorite game, favorite toy, or let them use your iPhone, right?
The idea rings true for your dog, too!
The problem is, that a lot of dog owners don’t know the equivalent of the iPhone for their dog.
For some, it is food or treats.
For some a ball.
For others a tug toy or a game.
Essentially I want to be able to be in charge of any situation.
I want to control the thing that my dog wants MOST!
How Do I Do That?
I control when they come out for play (so they are exciting).
And, I PLAY WITH MY DOG.
Then I teach my dog that if he listens to my dog obedience commands that he will be rewarded with his toy and what he wants.
He learns to control his impulses!
This way I can control my dogs’ over excitement by giving them something else to think about until it is our turn or the distraction is gone.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.