Most dog owners know the so-called “crazy minutes” of their four-legged friends. But some dogs don’t seem to be able to calm down at all. Similar to children with ADHD, these dogs find it difficult to concentrate or lie still. Find out how to bring down hyperactive dogs and what you can do to prevent this from happening.
When is a dog hyperactive?
It is well known that dogs need a lot of sleep – and rest. But many a dog can hardly manage to lie still for five minutes. At the slightest noise they jump up again, at the slightest stimulus they can no longer concentrate and even so they seem very energetic.
Maybe you are thinking: “Well, I like a lot of action with my darling”, but unfortunately this is not healthy in the long run.
Causes of hyperactive behaviour.
- Genetics: The origins of restlessness can be found in the womb. For example, in poor breeding conditions or street dogs that are under food shortage or stress, the puppies are likely to be more susceptible to stress. This is how they are adapted to the upcoming living conditions. However, a high level of activity is also desired in the selective breeding of some breeds, such as the Malinois or the Border Collie. These breeds are supposed to perceive and react to the smallest movements, such as those of a flock of sheep.
- Rearing: The first weeks of a puppy‘s life are crucial for its later life. If the puppy is over- or underchallenged during this time, it will not know how to react appropriately in certain situations later on. During the socialisation phase, too, attention must be paid to balanced learning and rest phases.
- Education: It is also important that a dog learns patience. For this, he must develop frustration tolerance and impulse control, i.e. he must learn that it is worth waiting and that he does not get everything immediately or that he does not have to react to every stimulus.
- Occupation: If a dog is underchallenged, not only does he often look for something to do, which we usually like less, such as “rearranging” the flat, he is also under stress, which can lead to hyperactive behaviour. So make sure that your pet is not only physically but also mentally challenged. But especially with city dogs, the most common problem is overstraining. The four-legged friends are taken to the coffee chat, to the office, to the underground, to the shops and everywhere else. Not only are they exposed to constant noise and smells, but also to many encounters with people and conspecifics. In addition, some have a schedule such as going to dog school, walk dates, sports programme and training sessions. Due to the lack of rest, the dog is not able to process these many stimuli and then naturally turns on.
- Physiology: Physical impairments or pain can also lead to stress and restlessness.
- Nutrition: Food also has an influence on behaviour. You can read more about this here: Behaviour goes through the stomach.
- Mirror and external energy: Many a dog tries to show you an issue of yours with this behaviour. You can read more about this in the law of mirrors. But our animals also perceive much more than many humans. Through their 6th and 7th sense, they sense the hectic and stress that prevails in the western world and take it over.
How can you help hyperactive dogs?
- If you can influence it, make sure during pregnancy and when the puppy is growing up that it grows up in a safe environment and that it can get to know it positively step by step.
- Mood: Stay calm yourself! If you are under stress yourself, try to give yourself a short time-out every now and then and relax.
- Voice: If your dog is very excited, try to speak to him in a calm, low voice. High, hectic voices motivate your dog to even more action. Punishment is also counterproductive. The dog does not want to annoy you, he needs your help to learn to relax.
- Environment: At the beginning, make sure that the environment is as stimulus-free as possible and set up a place for him to retreat to. This means a dog bed where he feels comfortable and where he is not disturbed by anyone. With blanket training, the dog learns to associate the blanket with relaxation and can thus relax more easily even in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Routine: A routine or ritual can also help a hyperactive dog to calm down. So try to find a rhythm that is comfortable for everyone. Small rituals, such as giving your dog a treat after the big walk, can help him calm down.
- Action: A good workout is part of a dog’s life. But be careful, because playing with balls is extremely stressful for your dog. After playing and running wildly, try to end your walks with calm exercises. For example, you can play search games.
- Food & supplements: A change in diet can also have a positive influence on behaviour. It is best to seek advice from a dog nutritionist. In addition, your pet can be supported with Bach flowers, aromatic oils, CBD drops, pheromones and much more. Chewing and licking also have a calming effect. Kong, LickiMat or chew sticks often have the same effect as a baby dummy.
- Body: If there are medical causes, such as pain, itching or discomfort, these should be treated by a vet. If everything has been medically clarified, massages, acupuncture or Tellington TTouch can also contribute to relaxation.
- Training: Fearful dogs or those who simply have no patience should go to dog training to learn how to behave in certain situations. A dog trainer can also help you find out where the hyperactive behaviour is coming from and then work on it.
Hyperactivity in dogs is not uncommon, but there are some things you can do to help your hyperactive dog calm down. When your pet is balanced, life is more relaxed.