How to Calm a Hyper Dog
Many owners may be unsure about how to calm a hyper dog or even whether or not their energetic dog is actually a hyperactive dog. Do you have a dog who goes BALLISTIC when he sees certain things in his life?
Does he get WAAAAY too excited around other dogs, animals or new people who come over? If so, then you’ll be happy to know that there are actually seven proven Brain Training games that can help your dog learn to control their OVER-REACTIVE impulses…
Because a dog’s brain is usually most IMPULSIVE around these 7 different types of scenarios:
- Being TOO excited to see YOU (such as if it has separation anxiety)
- Being TOO excited to see other DOGS (or animals in general)
- Being TOO excited to eat
- Being TOO excited to play
- Being TOO excited to chase
- Being TOO excited to meet GUESTS
- Being TOO excited when “let loose”
So in this first article in our Impulse Control series, we’re going to show you the FIRST clever little game your puppy needs to learn if he’s ever going to learn how to contain his excitement around those things in his world that get him WAY too excited.
Important Methods to Calm a Hyper-Active Dog
Having a steady routine will help shape your hyperactive dog’s behavior, make training easier, and reduce the puppy or dog’s stress levels. It can also help your dog adjust to being home alone, and it may even make it easier for you to spend time with your pet when you are home. Just stick to a consistent routine, including feeding and bathroom breaks, and watch how content your puppy will become!
Hyperactivity is often a result of insecurity on the dog’s part. This is especially true of adopted dogs who may have moved around a lot in their past and have had little if any structure in their lives. Dogs, (especially if it’s a puppy) thrive on routine. Developing a daily routine gives your dog an idea of what to expect life to be like and can calm his nerves. A routine might go something like this:
In the early morning: walk, breakfast, a game of fetch, then inside for a few hours while everyone is at work or school.
During the afternoon: Someone, either owner or dog walker, comes to let Fido out and play a quick game with him.
Towards the evening: Family eats dinner, dog eats dinner, then a walk.
You don’t need to write a detailed schedule for how every day will go but having some consistency in your daily life can have a powerful positive effect for your hyperactive dog.
Remember that when dealing with hyperactivity in dogs, you should change only one aspect of your dog’s routine at a time. Don’t try to make multiple changes to your routine all at the same time since it could stress your puppy out. Instead, try to focus on 1 thing at a time so your dog gets used to them.
For example, if you’re going to move to a new home, don’t change your dog’s food or the schedule you’ve kept it on. Focus instead on getting your puppy used to eating and living in a new place.
If you want a well-behaved dog, you need to exercise him. A long walk in the morning, 30-60 minutes, and then a shorter walk in the evening after work is ideal. You don’t need to make it too fast-paced; you can let Rover stop and smell the roses. In addition to stretching his legs, all the fascinating smells will stretch his brain, too. Helps keep him from going stir crazy at home.
During the day, play a vigorous game of fetch or frisbee to really wear Fido out. If no one is home during the day to play with him, consider hiring a dog walker or even a doggy daycare so that Fido doesn’t lose his marbles while you’re gone.
Before Beginning Exercise with Your Dog…
Make sure to assess the exercise needs and fitness level of your pet. Dogs have different exercise requirements depending on their individual needs, e.g. more active dogs may require more exercise each day compared to an average pet dog. Even a hyperactive dog can be out of shape; in fact, oftentimes dogs can be dealing with hyperactivity because they are out of shape and aren’t receiving the proper physical and mental stimulation that they need. Most dogs need a walk or visit to the dog park once or twice a day.
Some dogs with short snouts can find it hard to breathe and exercise can exacerbate their breathing difficulties or older dogs may have joint problems that can slow them down or make it uncomfortable to exercise, so ask your vet about your own individual pet’s requirements. It’s also important to ask your vet for advice about when puppies can safely go to the park according to their vaccination status.
Check the temperature outside. Dogs can overheat if exercising in warm temperatures. A puppy, or any dog, for that matter, only perspires through their pads and they lose body heat through panting, so exercise in the morning or late evening when the temperature is cooler is advisable during the warmer months. Hot pavement or sand can also burn your pet’s feet.
Don’t exercise your pet immediately before or after they’ve eaten, as this can cause problems such as bloating, especially in deep-chested dogs. Talk to your vet about how to protect your pet dog from paralysis ticks which can be picked up when exercising.
Some Tips for Exercise with Your Pup
Watch out for signs of fatigue, such as your pet panting, slowing their pace, or lagging behind you or stopping. If you notice this, allow them to rest.
Watch for overheating, such as your pet panting excessively, drooling, showing signs of agitation/confusion or vomiting. If this happens, move them to a cooler place and shade immediately. Apply tepid/cool water to their fur/skin, belly and under legs followed by fanning, to cool them down quickly. Then take your pet to the nearest Veterinarian immediately as heat stroke is a life threatening emergency.
If/when you’re walking in the snow or in cold weather, avoid roads that have been treated with salt as they can sting your pet’s feet. If they lick their paws this can also upset their stomach as well. Keep your pet hydrated by offering them some water to drink at regular intervals during exercise. Use a collapsible bowl or a bottle with a special spout for dogs.
- Obedience Training
Obedience training builds a common language between you and your puppy. It’s another way to calm his nerves, as it teaches him how the world expects him to behave. Learning new skills is also a great way to exercise Rover’s brain.
Basic obedience training isn’t just for dogs that compete in obedience, agility, or trick competitions. In fact, obedience exercises are important for all dogs, especially high-energy breeds that need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Simple behaviors like sit, down, stay, come, and leave it are essential for a well-behaved pet.
You can challenge your dog even more by teaching him more advanced behaviors like “go to place,” formal heeling, to roll over, etc. The old adage — a tired dog is a good dog — is not incorrect. However, a mentally and physically tired dog is even better.
- Attention-Pulling Toys
Put your dog’s brain power to good use. Get a few toys that require your dog to think. Toys like Kongs and Buster Cubes allow you to load them up with your dog’s kibble or favorite treats, keeping him occupied for a span while he manipulates the toy to make it dispense his food. You can feed your dog his entire meal this way.
Attention-grabbing toys that require your dog to work also provide good mental stimulation. Provide him with puzzle-type toys for dogs, things that he can work to solve and that will keep his attention.
- Sports and Games
Getting involved in a dog sport, like agility, flyball, freestyle or disc dog is a great way to build the bond between you and Rover. It is excellent for dealing with hyperactivity in dogs, and can be pretty fun, too. It provides physical and mental exercise all at once. However, formal training for some sports can be expensive and time-consuming.
The Most Popular Dog Sports
Canine agility is a competitive dog sport that takes place within an obstacle course. Dogs are trained to make jumps, travel through tunnels, and navigate various walkways–all in a specific order. Each step of the way, the dogs are directed by their handlers (often their owners). This sport requires effective communication between the dog and the handler.
Agility is an excellent form of exercise and mental stimulation, making it ideal for high-energy dogs like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds. However, just about any healthy dog can participate in agility. The intensity and difficulty of the course can be altered to accommodate dogs with limitations or special needs. Teamwork between dog and human is the cornerstone of this sport.
The sport of flyball is a sort of relay race that involves teams of four dogs. One dog from each team runs down a course, jumping hurdles, towards the “flyball box.” The dog steps on a panel and triggers the flyball box to release a tennis ball. The dog then brings the ball back over the hurdles to its handler. Once a dog has completed the course, the next dog is released from the starting line. The first team to have all four dogs complete the course wins. The game is played in several heats.
Flyball is a great way for your dog to enjoy time with other dogs, plus a nice way for you to meet other dog owners. Virtually any healthy dog that loves balls can play this game.
If you are looking for a sport that relies heavily upon the bond between both you and your loyal companion – but doesn’t take as much of a toll on the body – then Canine Freestyle might be the perfect choice for you. Canine Freestyle is a choreographed musical performance by a dog/handler team. Like it sounds, this activity is essentially dancing with a dog.
As implied by its name, in canine freestyle almost anything goes. Basically, any move is allowed unless it puts the dog or handler in danger. Routines typically involve the dog performing twists & turns, weaving through the handler’s legs, walking backward, jumping, and moving in sync with the handler.
Canine Freestyle requires a deep bond between handler and dog as well as a mastery of basic cues, especially the heel command. Before putting a routine together, the dog must first learn each individual “move.” A dash of creativity, plenty of patience, and a positive attitude will go a long way in canine freestyle.
If you want the benefits without getting seriously involved in a sport, you can set up home built agility obstacle courses in the backyard, play Frisbee just for fun, or teach your dog to play games like hide and go seek (especially fun to play with kids).
It’s possible to have a dog who knows all kinds of tricks and obedience commands but is still bouncing off the walls because he never goes for a walk or gets any real exercise. On the flipside, your dog can go for an hour-long run every morning but still be bored because he never gets any other mental stimulation.
To achieve the best results, the above five factors should be put together in a combination that works best for you and your dog. Some dogs need less walk-time but could spend all day learning new tricks. Others would prefer to play with smart toys for hours. You know your dog best: work out a balance that you and Fido are comfortable with.
Now, your hyperactive dog might not just be chock-full of energy. Despite a wealth of productive and encouraged ways to spend your energy, your dog may get locked-on to things, to the point to where he or she doesn’t even seem to hear you when you talk.
Your dog sees the mailman and instantly goes nuts, barking like crazy, jumping up and down and pacing. It’s more than just getting excited. With this, it seems to go further. Your dog starts to go into a sort of craze. Your dog isn’t just hyper. It’s obsessed.
In this situation, it can be critical to teach your dog to look away or ignore the mailman. Luckily, I have an extremely efficient method at solving this issue.
Training Your Dog How To Disengage, Look Away & Ignore Things That Set Him Off
Here’s why this skill is so important…
I don’t know exactly why, but for some reason when a dog, who has not yet learned Impulse Control, locks onto a TARGET… he goes deaf to all your commands… making it impossible to get through to him so he can start behaving again.
- These types of dogs DON’T stop barking when told to be quiet
- They don’t take it easy when they’re owners say “It’s OK”
- They ignore their owners pleas of OFF or DOWN when they jump up
… and I could go on and on.
Which means the FIRST skill you need to teach your dog, before you ever try to teach him to be quiet, quit lunging at other dogs who get to close while out on a walk, or to stop jumping up on you when you come home, is how to NEVER lock on in the first place.
And to teach your dog this skill I introduce to you…
Training Dogs How To STOP Locking Onto Targets That Make Them Go Deaf To Your Commands
Here’s a little video that shows you the first steps for how to train your dog this game:
Or if you’re not the kind of person who likes the ‘Cliff-notes’ version of videos, here’s a little guide we created for setting up this exercise, along with the 3 step process for how to teach your dog the first phase of this game.
But I GOTTA WARN YOU!
Do not make the mistake of thinking that just because this exercise looks simple to train, that it won’t DRAMATICALLY change your dog’s behavior.
In fact, Debbie, the gal in the video above, is a professional Dog Walker by trade who uses this game as the foundation for how she takes her clients completely untrained, reactive dogs, and gets them to walk in packs of up to 10 dogs at a time so well… that they can walk right by other dogs without ANY of the dogs hardly giving the stranger’s dog a second glance… and all without eventually needing to use treats or a clicker.
Does This Sound To Good To Be True?
Welll… It’s not, and here’s a video she sent me that proves it!
Pretty cool, right?
I sure thought so.
Which is why we’ve decided to publish this Impulse Control Article Series, as well as start to release our FREE guides on how to teach your dog these Impulse Control games.
So if you haven’t done so already, click here to download your copy of “The Look-A-Way” game, so you can start transforming your dog’s ability to control his Impulses today.
Or if you’re the kind of person who just likes to cut to the chase, you should check out the course we offer below…