Puppies are little bundles of energy. They can become very excitable, and can even get over excited and overstimulated.
When this happens, they may start acting out, biting or nipping at you, and can even become anxious.
If you have a puppy at home who is giving you a bit of a hard time, then this guide will answer all of your questions.
Here, we will cover how to tell when your puppy is overexcited, common triggers, and how to calm them down the right way!
How To Tell When Your Puppy Is Overexcited
We have all seen dogs get the ‘zoomies’ sometimes. This is an over-excited behavior that can make us laugh, and the dog is so happy they just cannot contain themselves.
The difference is that a dog can regulate its impulses more easily, whereas puppies are not able to.
Puppies can struggle with self control, and when they become hyper, or aroused by a person, another dog, or an action, they can start to get over-excited.
This overexcitement gives the puppy a rush of dopamine, which is fun for them.
However, these overexcited behaviors can become addictive, because they feel good. Therefore, your puppy can display these behaviors more often because they are self rewarding (see also “Moving Beyond Puppy Biting“).
The zoomies are not such a bad thing, but when puppies are overstimulated they can also start nipping, biting, or become very anxious. These are not behaviors that you want to reinforce or allow them to do.
These hyperarousal behaviors can turn into barking, negative actions such as lunging on the leash around other people, and whining around other dogs due to excitement.
This is not something you want to deal with forever, so it is vital that you manage them early on.
It can be hard to tell whether your puppy is just happy or they have become overexcited. The trick is to anticipate these behaviors and prevent your dog from being too excited and hyper aroused.
Some common signs that your puppy has become overexcited are the zoomies, a sudden change in behavior, jumping up, mouthing, barking, spinning around and more.
If you notice that your puppy’s behavior has changed suddenly, then they may have become over-excited. They may seem to go from 0-100 in a matter of seconds.
This most often happens due to a new stimulus that is exciting the dog. This could be a new person, an animal, a different object, or a change in circumstances.
Common Reasons Your Puppy Is Overexcited
If you think that your puppy has become over excited, then it is a good idea to look for what has triggered them. This can help you manage the root of the problem, and avoid it in the future.
Think about your puppy’s behavior. Are they barking when you come home, or when someone walks by your house? Are they zooming around when you let them outside? Are they lunging during your walks?
Think about the specific times that your puppy has shown overexcited behaviors. You could notice a common theme.
Puppies are most often over excited by new toys, new people entering the home, new animals they haven’t met before, other dogs, feeding times, and exercise times or playtimes.
They can be triggered when doing something that is exciting for them, such as chasing a ball, playing tug with you, or having a bit of fun.
When they become overexcited, they may start to be triggered by moving things such as you, your hands or feet, and they can try to nip at you, mouth on you, or become hyper aroused.
How To Calm An Overexcited Puppy
If you have an overexcited puppy, then it can be hard to know how to deal with it. The point is to manage these behaviors. Distraction works well, and standing still can also help your dog limit their impulses.
Don’t Make Sudden Movements
When your puppy becomes over excited, it is likely because they have been playing with you. In this instance, many dog owners also enjoy the fun, and start to wind up the puppy, which can make them more excited.
If you do this, you are only adding more energy to the situation, and you are going to hype up your puppy even more. So, it is best to become a neutral object, so that the puppy does not feed off of the behavior.
Try not to move as much, or stand still. Don’t move your hands, arms, and legs, or your puppy will see this movement as active energy, and will become more aroused. Try to remain calm and still as possible.
Reward Positive Behavior
Once your puppy notices that you have stopped moving, you will notice that they may also mirror this behavior, and may stop themselves.
Encourage them to sit, or wait for them to sit down themselves, and reward this calm behavior with words of affection, such as ‘good boy’ or ‘yes’, and give them a treat if you have one handy.
Only when your puppy is calm should you then offer them praise, and affection. Try petting them when they calm down.
If they then start to get riled up again, stop moving, and stop petting them. If you are bent over them, stand up, and stop the motion.
Then, when they sit again and calm down, go back to petting them. This can encourage the puppy to learn that only when they are calm will they receive a fuss and some love.
Give your puppy ample time to calm down, and then reward them with some attention, calming rubs and belly tickles, or their favorite toy and treat to help them understand that this behavior is more acceptable and is desired!
Give Them A Time Out
Another method is to give your puppy a time-out, so to speak. Remove your puppy from the situation that is making them overstimulated, and place them in their crate or in a playpen to calm down.
You can then leave them to nap if they need rest, or remove them from the playpen when they are nice and calm, and not making any noise.
Try A Quick Training Session
Some dogs can become overly excited easily, and will need to be distracted in order to calm down. For many owners, they find that distracting the dog and giving them something to do can calm them down.
If your puppy is like this, then you can try starting a quick training session when they seem over excited or overstimulated. This can help them focus, and start to ignore what was making them overly excited.
You can try teaching them a new command, or practice a command you have already worked on. Be aware that puppies have short attention spans, so do not expect them to train for an extended period of time!
Distract Them & Give Them Something To Focus On
One of our favorite ways of calming down an overexcited puppy is to give them something to do. Give them something to focus on.
One of our tried and tested ways to calm down overexcited and overstimulated dogs is to give them something to lick.
You can buy Kong toys, and fill them with kibble and a bit of peanut butter, before freezing them so that your puppy can focus on the licking action to get the food out of it.
You can also purchase lick mats, where you can spread wet food or peanut butter, mashed up banana, you name it- on the lickmat, and allow your puppy to focus on getting it all off.
Another option is to use a snuffle mat. These mats have a lot of flaps of material where you can hide kibble or treats so that your dog can sniff them out and eat them (see also “Best Way To Store Dog Treats For Freshness“).
When your puppy is focusing on a particular action that is rewarding- such as licking or sniffing, this can really help to calm them down. It is also a mentally stimulating activity that will tire them out.
They will more often than not want to have a nap after using one of these tools!
What Not To Do
There are a few things that you shouldn’t do when your puppy is overexcited. For instance, you will not want to encourage the excitement, and keep moving rapidly. This can only make it worse.
In addition to this, you will also not want to raise your voice and shout at your puppy. While their behavior can be frustrating, loud noises can make them more agitated, so keep calm and collected when dealing with the problem.
You also shouldn’t avoid the excitement and just think that they will grow out of it, you need to actively manage the overexcitement, so the actions do not become learned behaviors that they always want to do.
Some puppies do grow out of some behaviors as they are impulse-based, and dogs are able to control themselves better as they grow older, but all of that puppy energy and negative behaviors can still remain, so it is good to get a head start and teach them right from wrong as soon as possible.
Tips for Calming Down An Overexcited Puppy
Hyperactivity can be hard to deal with, and it can become stressful for you as the owner. It can be caused by a range of factors, from over excitedness to anxiety, boredom and lack of exercise.
Therefore, you can try a range of methods to calm your puppy down. First of all, ensure that they are getting enough exercise (for their age) and mental stimulation.
This includes playing with toys, training, walks, time outside, and puzzles or games.
Having ample exercise can help avoid high energy levels, and ensure that your puppy is all tuckered out!
The other important tip to remember is that you have to learn what triggers your puppy’s behavior. This is the easiest way that you can understand them.
Look for your puppy’s body language and cues that they may be feeling too excited. Then, you can act fast to reduce those unwanted behaviors that come with being over excited.
In addition to this, it is vital that you know that your puppy’s behavior can be a reflection of your own mental state and wellbeing.
Dogs are very in tune with their owner’s emotions. If you are feeling or acting stressed, nervous, or anxious, then your dog can pick up on this.
In these cases, your puppy can become stressed or anxious themselves, which can lead to hyperactivity and negative behaviors.
We know that you can’t be calm all of the time, but if you are starting to get frustrated with your puppy, take a minute.
Puppies can respond to angry, frustrated, or aggressive behavior with fear, bad behaviors, anxiety, and stress.
Therefore, you will need to have the right body language that is authoritative, but calm and not threatening if you want your puppy to listen to you.
Finally, we want you to know that you are doing a great job! Almost every dog owner goes through a stage with their puppy where they wonder: what have I done? Or if they made the right choice getting a puppy.
It can be overwhelming, especially if your puppy is a very high energy breed, and over excited a lot. It is natural to feel like you are trying really hard to train them, and you are still struggling with certain negative behaviors.
You will get there in the end. It is not about you being a bad dog owner. Puppies take a lot of time, effort, work, and consistency to mold them into the dog that they can grow up to be. Just keep at it!
To summarize, puppies can get over excited from time to time. This excitement can lead to hyperactivity, zoomies, mouthing, biting, barking, and nipping.
If your puppy is in need of a break, and needs to calm down, there are many things that you can do.
To calm your puppy down, you will need to remain calm yourself, don’t make any sudden movements, and either wait for them to calm down and reward them, or distract them.
When it comes to distractions, you can either place them in another space such as a crate or pen, try training them, or give them a toy or puzzle to play with.
After a short time, your puppy will soon tire out, and they can go for a nice long nap while you gather your breath!
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