Dogs should be alert, energetic and always ready for action, but when a dog’s energy levels are uncontrollable or unpredictable, there’s a problem. Fortunately, you can tame your hyper dog using a combination of simple adjustments to his daily routine. Changing your own behavior may also help curb hyper behavior.
Give Regular Exercise
A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Hyperactivity stems from a need to use up excess energy. Regular walks, interspersed with lots of stimulating play, should go some way to getting rid of that energy. If you know your dog is going to experience a period of isolation, for example if you have to take a trip, walk him before you go. Dog trainer Cesar Millan recommends exercising your dog to the point of exhaustion so all he wants to do is relax. For big dogs with lots of energy to burn, tire them out quicker by fitting them with a heavy backpack before walks.
Redirect the Energy
Boredom can lead to hyperactivity. You don’t need to be on hand to entertain your dog 24/7, but it’s also not fair to expect him to sleep every minute you’re not doing something. Food puzzles and chew toys will keep his mind focused while you’re busy.
Establish a Routine
Dogs enjoy routine. If you feed at irregular times, walk when it fits with your schedule and make him wait too long to get into the yard to eliminate, your dog can become unsettled. Don’t structure your day around your dog, but factor in his needs so you know you can always meet them. This way, you can always make time for high energy activity, such as walks and play.
Discourage Hyper Behaviors
Ignore your dog when he is acting hyper. It’s possible to inadvertently reinforce hyper behaviors by simply trying to get your dog to stop. Chasing after Lucky if he’s dashing around the house becomes a game for him. Where possible, act like he’s not there. In cases where his behavior may be too disruptive, use distraction techniques to divert him. Call his name or clap your hands to get his attention. If he knows the "sit" command, use this to interrupt whatever he’s doing.
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Your own energy levels may be playing some part in encouraging Lucky to be hyper. If you’re constantly running around, in a rush or simply bursting with energy, Lucky will try to mirror that. Lead by example by conducting yourself in a calm, passive manner. There’s a time and a place for high energy behavior, in the yard or at the park when you and your dog are exercising.
Alter the Diet
Don’t feed human treats that contain sugar. This gives your dog a short burst of energy then causes his energy levels to come crashing down. Read the label on his pet foods. Avoid anything high in preservatives, colorings and additives, as these can lead to hyperactivity too.
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.