Do you have a pupper that is just bouncing off the walls? Does excessive barking, whining, biting, digging, scratching, counter surfing, or jumping on people sound all too familiar to you? These traits can be very stressful because you don’t know what’s ‘wrong with your dog’ and stressful for your pup because they’re trying to communicate with you! Once you learn to expend your pup’s energy properly, you will find they are much more relaxed. Read on to find 5 ways to help you calm your hyperactive pup.
IGNORE THE POOR BEHAVIOUR
Your pup is trying to get your attention by displaying negative behaviour, so it’s important that you give zero reward for this. As long as it’s safe to do so (pup isn’t biting someone for example!) give no touch, no talk and no eye contact. A great way to do this is to physically turn your back on your pup with your arms crossed and look to the sky. When the behaviour stops, immediately reward with attention and a treat.
ENCOURAGE CALM BEHAVIOUR
When you see your pup being a good boy or good girl, reward this calm behaviour with lots of belly rubs and a treat. You can even use a cue word such as ‘settle’ as you’re petting them. After a while you will be able to say this cue word and your pup will know the behaviour you expect from them.
REDIRECT THE ENERGY
If you see your pup is overexcited, you need to redirect (distract) them from what they are currently doing. Use a treat that your pup can’t resist, for some this will be food and for others it might be a toy or just praise. When you see your pup exhibiting undesirable behaviour, give them a cue word of your choice (“AAHH!”) and when pup comes to you, reward.
Lots of people don’t realise that mental stimulation can wear a dog out just as well as physical stimulation (which is great when you can’t get for a long walk!)
Snuffle mats are a great way to get your pup to ‘hunt’ for his food. This keeps them guessing where the next piece of food is coming from. It’s also a great way to stop pups who inhale their food! Kong toys are another excellent choice to keep your pup stimulated for hours. You can stuff them with all kinds of goodies. Kong is also a great choice to leave with your pet when you leave them alone for an extended period. Enrichment toys, such as puzzle games are also a great way to get your pup really thinking about how to get their next treats.
To make your treats do ‘double duty’ and wear your pup out mentally by using their portion of dinner for a training session. Give them commands/ tricks to perform and when they obey, give them a piece of food. Doing this at dinner time when they’re hungry will result in them giving you their full attention. Win-win!
We all know that physical stimulation such as walking is so good for your pup, but don’t forget games too. Playing outside with your pet’s favourite ball, teddy or just chasing them around does wonders for their physical health. The time that you need to spend playing with your dog will vary from breed to breed as every pup is different but take your cue from your pet. Are they tired at the end of the day? Then you have done a good job!