How to Make a Puppy Less Hyper

Exercise with your dog to expend energy and promote calmness.

Exercise with your dog to expend energy and promote calmness.

Your excessively hyperactive puppy probably gets on your nerves, which can interfere with bonding and proper training. For the sake of your puppy's relationship with everyone, remedy hyperactivity as soon as it manifests. Otherwise, it'll get worse and become harder to correct over time.

Don't Reinforce Hyper Behavior

It's easy to inadvertently reinforce behavior you want to change. Often, a young dog is hyper because she wants attention. If you give it to her, you teach her that acting hyper earns the reward of attention. Instead, completely ignore her. Don't talk to her, touch her, make eye contact with her or toss a toy in an attempt to get her away; just ignore her until she calms down for a few minutes. Then, when she's not being hyper or seeking your attention, give her some happy attention. Whatever you do, don't give in after a while of trying; if you do, you reinforce that she should be persistent with her hyper behavior to get attention.

Provide More Exercise out of the Home

Pent-up energy and boredom are frequently at the root of a dog's hyper behavior. A puppy has lots of energy to burn and lots of curiosity about her world. Short, sedentary walks with your puppy don't cut it. Play actively with her outside -- in the yard, at the dog park or wherever you can. This is far more beneficial than leaving her out in the yard on her own; she won't be nearly as active as she will if you're playing with her. This activity wears her out at appropriate times so she has less energy the rest of the day. Also, consider enrolling in a puppy class where she'll romp around and socialize with other young dogs. Plenty of exercise and occasional changes in scenery go a long way toward making your puppy less hyper.

Provide More Activity in the Home

Your little fur ball needs stuff to do inside, too. Without it, she'll be understimulated and bored, and end up hyper and with other behavioral problems. Give her toys, including puzzle toys that will challenge her intellect. Play hide-and-seek with her; lay out trails of tasty morsels for her to sniff out and chomp on. If you have a clear hall or stairway, play indoor fetch, tug-of-war and other games to help her burn up energy. Don't keep your puppy isolated; make time for one-on-one play every day.

Train Your Puppy

Training teaches your canine companion how you expect her to behave; it's a mandatory part of keeping any dog and, other methods notwithstanding, is your best bet for helping a hyper dog come under control. With clicker training, you could teach her to become calm when she's hyper by clicking the clicker and offering a treat for the right response. Timing of the click, the behavior change and the treat offering is important. Eventually, your puppy will figure out that it's a break in her hyper behavior that triggers the treat. Gradually increase the time she must remain calm before clicking. Also, train your puppy to respond to basic commands, including "Stop," "Sit," "Down," "Stay" and "Leave it." Use one of these to interrupt her when she's getting hyper. Remember, positive reinforcement of desirable behavior -- not punishing undesirable behavior -- is the key to successful training.

 

About the Author

Eric Mohrman has been a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on travel, food and lifestyle stories. His creative writing is also widely published. He lives in Orlando, Florida.

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