If your dog is asking for more activity than you can offer and likes to compensate by digging holes in your back yard and howling at the moon at night, you might be dealing with a hyperactive dog. This means that he has A LOT of energy that he needs to direct somewhere. Some dogs are naturally hyper and some become like that due to boredom, anyway, yelling at him or locking him into a kennel will not solve your situation (this is not necessarily a problem).
If you’re now browsing the web in order to find out how to calm a hyper dog, then this is the right place. Dogs with excess of energy are a frequent reason why rescue shelters are full, yet, they are not to blame. Their owners are the ones that did them wrong. Read through this article to find a way that will fit your life style, and your canine’s desires and make both sides happy.
Know your breed
Here are the top 5 most active dog breeds that will become hyper destructive or loud if you don’t redirect their energy the right way:
- Australian Shepherd — herding dogs are marked as one of the most intelligent breed but they have excessive amounts of energy and require constant work or exercise.
- Border Collie — The American Kennel Club says that these agile dogs LOVE having a job to do, so make sure to keep them busy and use their energy for the right thing.
- Jack Russell Terrier — the proof that the size of a dog does not matter, these unstoppable creatures are adventurous and durable! To learn a little more about this hyperactive breed, check out this wonderful article on the Jack Russell Terrier.
- Labrador Retriever — one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and the so called «waterproof» breed is able to swim, run, jump and do whatever they are said to, or whatever else crosses their minds if they get bored.
- Siberian Husky — it is no wonder that dogs that are bred to pull sleds for hundreds of miles are one of the most energetic dog breeds. These beautiful, wolf-like canines are almost impossible to get tired, and are ready to go again in no time.
Start with ignoring negative behavior
If your dog does not belong to one of the hyper dog breeds, this may be an easy solution. Dogs are easy to train, yet, they are smart enough to realize how to train us. Don’t believe me? Try imagining this situation: Your dog is chewing and scratching your furniture and you spend 10 minutes yelling at him and talking about how he did a bad thing. He needed your attention, and the goal was achieved.
It won’t take much time for them to realize that behaving bad will result in some time spent with a being they loves the most – you. He trained you to spend time with him whenever he behaves badly and you have never even realized that. Try to ignore his excessive barking, for example, and see the results, you may be surprised.
On the other hand, try doing the same thing your dog did to you. Train him to behave well. Have you ever thought of rewarding your dog for lying calmly in his kennel and playing with his toy? Probably not, because we use that time to focus on something else we had in mind.
Put an effort to notice when your dog behaves the way you want him to, and surprise him with one loud “Good boy!” and reward him with a treat. Like when you trained him to sit, it will not take long until he realizes that being calm and relaxed will bring him your attention and a reward.
Stay calm and be an Alpha
Your dog sees you like the leader of the pack and you need to remain tranquil and positive. Our pets often mimic our behavior, so try representing yourself as a pack leader who controls the situation and knows what he is doing. Negative energy is easily reflected and absorbed by our four legged friends, and it may be a reason why your dog is hyper. Toss away your stress from work, anger at your partner, and body language that reveals an insecure person.
This will benefit both you and your canine, and you will be able to focus on pleasant sides of owning a dog.
Make a schedule of your dog’s activities and train him when to expect a certain event. Feeding time, playing with him, walking around the neighborhood and a nap time should become a routine your dog will get used to. Otherwise, he will be confused and expect a walk when you wanted him to rest.
Give him a task
Now that you have gone through the basics, it is time to put some effort in burning that energy your dog has. Give him a task that will occupy his mind or body, any of those two will make your dog occupied and eventually tired. A tired dog is a happy dog, especially a hyper one.
Make your dog work for his food
Get rid the food bowl and make your dog earn his meal. Think of a brain game for your canine where the goal is to find or earn his food. Every dog will soon accept the rules you’ve set up for the game and search or work for their food. For example, you can hide some kibble behind an object in the house or outside in your yard while your dog is not looking. Start with simple tasks and help him find it, and always add a code word, or command, so your dog will learn what he is supposed to do.
A great help for this are smart dog toys that allow your dog to play and work for his food. You can find these online and we’ve prepared some examples for you:
- Our Pets Smarter Interactive IQ treat ball dog toy
Here’s one fun pet ball that will keep your dog busy both mentally and physically. The product comes in two sizes and different colors.
The process is simple — fill the ball with treats, and let your dog play with it. While it rolls, the ball will release some food and make your dog play with it more and more. The difficulty level may be adjusted as your dog learns how to earn his food. The cost of this toy is 8.92 $
- PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug meal dispensing dog toy
This interactive dog toy provides multi-sensory appeal to keep your pet engaged and it is made of durable non-toxic material that withstands prolonged play. It comes in 4 sizes and the price is 9.69 $.
- PetSafe Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble meal dispensing dog toy
This one randomly dispenses treats while your dog plays with it, easy for cleaning and can hold 2 cups of kibble. It is sold for 11.26$
Take your dog for a walk
Every dog must be taken out for a walk. That is something you should have known before even thinking of getting one. Now, if you have a hyper dog, taking it outside for a walk will redirect his energy into something positive.
During a walk, your dog will sniff around as well as leave a mark of his own, do his business (don’t forget to clean up after your dog) and explore everything he finds interesting. It is up to you and your dog’s level of obedience whether you will walk him with or without a leash, but always beware of people, other dogs and the traffic, do not endanger your dog and your surroundings. In case you don’t have time for taking your dog for a walk, you should consider hiring someone to do that for you.
Take your time and play with your dog. This is one of the best ways to spend that superfluous energy, and also to bond with your dog. It is always entertaining and amusing time both of you will enjoy. There are plenty of well-known games you could try, or you may think of a new one. Depending of what your dog prefers, use a ball or Frisbee to play catch, try tug-of-war or just play chase.
Unless you are an Olympian, you will get tired before your hyper dog does, so choose a game where your canine will run more than you. Another great idea is to let your pet play with other dogs. Whether your friends bring their own dogs, or you take him to a park, it is a great way to burn that energy that may ruin your couch, and to socialize your dog even more. Whichever method you choose, it will provide quality time for your dog, and result into a calm, happy pet.
We all want a dog that obeys our commands. To achieve that, we need to equip ourselves with knowledge about how to train, tons of patience and hard determination. Obedience training will activate him both physically and mentally, and result into a well mannered dog. Is there anything more to ask? However, you should not make these sessions too long or boring as your pet will lose interest and the results will not be as expected. You should train him few times a day for 10-15 minutes.
An alternative remedy is to provide your dog with natural ingredients that help to calm your dog down. You can read more about them in this article on how to sedate a dog.
Accept & use
Maybe the most important advice we could give you. Instead of going mad every time your dog behaves bad and thinking of giving it away or punishing it for what he has done, try accepting your dog’s nature and use it for mutual benefit.
There are many sports out there where dogs compete on their own or with their owner. Depending on what kind of dog you own, and what type of energy he has, direct it into something beautiful. Here’s a list of sports you could try:
- Canicross — this is a sport where a person runs with one or two dogs attached to them. Originating in Europe, this sport became popular worldwide for both competitive and recreational purposes. Any kind of dog can take part and enjoy this activity.
- Dog agility — this is the sport where your dog is competing, and you are just directing him through the obstacles. It requires lots of practice, but it is very rewarding once mastered.
- Bikejoring & Skijoring — bikejoring is a sport where a dog or a team of dogs is attached to a bike while running and pulling it. The dogs are attached with a bungee leash and a pulling breast harness. In this activity, both the owner and the dog(s) are putting effort into going as fast as they want, and it is a perfect way of exercising your dog and yourself. It is practiced during spring and summer, and can be done in both urban and rural areas.
The most popular breeds for this sport are Siberian Husky, American Pit Bull, Samoyed, Alaskan Malamute, hunting dogs and pointers, but any dog breed can be trained for this sport. Dog scooter can also be used instead of a bike. Skijoring is the winter version of this sport.
- Carting & Sledding — sledding is suitable for the people who own several large sized dogs that are trained to pull sleds on snow. A team of dogs, that can count up to 22 members, are attached to sleighs and pull the cart or people that handle them. The dogs are divided into roles, and the most common are wheel dogs, team dogs, swing dogs and lead dogs. The position is chosen according to dog’s temperament and strength.
The most famous competition is Iditarod Trail sled dog race where participants compete on a 1600 km long trail. Carting is the so-called «dry land mushing» and is similar to sledding, mostly used to keep the dogs trained during off season.
There are plenty of other methods you can employ in this great article on natural solutions for calming a dog.
To conclude, owners of hyper dogs need to invest more energy and time, but it is far from impossible to deal with their hyperactivity.
One or more of the methods above will definitely solve the situation you are facing and make both you and your dog happy.