If that adorable puppy breath doesn't knock your socks off, the joyful exuberance of your cuddly canine baby at play surely will. Puppies are a bundle of energy, but there is a time and place for everything. Employ a few calming strategies to keep your wild canine child from getting over-excited.
Create a daily exercise routine with your pup. Walking is a great start. Jog, toss a ball, explore trails or give him a selection of toys he can play with all by himself. Without all that pent-up energy, he'll find it easier to relax. A tuckered puppy is a good puppy.
Keep your comings and goings a low-key affair. Your pup can experience both anxiety when you leave and rabid enthusiasm when you come home. Ignore him for 10 minutes before you leave and for 10 minutes when you return. Praise him when he is calm and relaxed. He will soon learn that his doggy-style zen behavior gets the reward.
Ignore your puppy when he is hyperactive; he may be seeking attention from you. If you acknowledge him in an excited state, you reinforce the behavior and, to him, it's a reward. Instead, turn away from your dog, divert your eyes and keep your arms tightly to your sides or folded across your chest until he calms down. Reward him with affection or a treat when he has chilled out.
Create a timeout spot for your pup when he's overly excited. Place him in a dark and quiet crate or room for a few minutes. Remove any toys or outside stimulus that can stir up his energy in his alone time. When your pup has calmed down, let him come out.
Quiet your manic pooch with a gentle massage. Touch is important to dogs and they respond to a calm voice and a soothing touch. Press and release his muscles -- he'll let you know when he's had enough. Stroke or pet him while he's quietly laying on his bed or in his crate to increase this positive association, according to Dr. John C. Wright, America's foremost pet psychologist.
Have your pup maintain focus on the pack leader: you. With treats hidden in one hand and a leash in the other, quietly wait for your dog to catch your gaze. When he does, say "Yes!" enthusiastically and treat the pup. Repeat this until the pup knows that staring at you is very rewarding indeed.
- Ain't Misbehavin': John C. Wright, Ph.D., et al
Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.