How to Help an Excited Dog Calm Down Around People and Other Animals
If you struggle to keep your dog calm around people and other animals, you’re far from being alone. Hyperactivity in dogs, which can result from anxiety or lack of exercise, is quite common. And for many owners, keeping their excited dog calm can feel like an endless battle.
On the other hand, there are people who mistake a dog’s exuberance for happiness, even in cases where the exact opposite is true. This so-called “happiness” might actually be overexcitement, which is often the result of an underlying issue. Overexcited dogs may be feeling stressed or anxious, and this can lead to behavioral problems down the road if it isn’t dealt with properly.
Plus, having an overexcited dog can disturb the people around you and other animals, including other people’s pets, and this can turn into a very embarrassing situation for you.
Thankfully, there’s a multitude of ways you can address your dog’s overexcitement. Here are some of our proven methods, which you can start using now to calm down your furry companion:
1. Let Out the Excess Energy
Giving your dog physical activities to channel their excess energy can be one of the most effective ways to reduce their hyperactivity. By making sure you lower their excess energy through exercise, you’re burning off energy that can turn into bad behavior or anxiety later on.
Exercise can consist of various things, including runs and long walks. It can also consist of certain types of high-energy play, such as fetch.
The type of exercise, as well as the intensity and duration, should depend on your dog’s breed, fitness level, and age. For example, while a one-mile walk may suffice for your Chihuahua puppy, it won’t even come close to meeting the exercise needs of a young, healthy Border Collie or Australian Shepherd.
Try to incorporate regular exercise into your dog’s routine as a preventative measure to avoid episodes of manic, explosive energy. You can also schedule exercise and play ahead of time before your dog goes into a situation where they may become overstimulated.
2. Give Your Dog Enough Stimulation
Besides their active bodies, high-energy dogs also have active minds. And that’s why it’s important to give them large doses of mental and physical stimulation.
One popular way to mentally and physically stimulate dogs is a dog sport known as nosework. This activity, which teaches dogs to scent out different smells (including clove, birch, and anise), involves dogs finding hidden target odors and alerting the handler while also ignoring distractors. After locating the odor, the dogs are rewarded with a toy or food. Not only does nosework give your dog ample amounts of physical and mental stimulation, but it also gives them an outlet to release their overabundant energy.
Besides trying nosework, you can also teach your dog new tricks, play interactive games with them, give them new toys, or even run errands with your dog.
3. Show Your Dog How to Relax
Showing your dog how to relax and decompress is just as important as exercising them and giving them copious amounts of physical and mental stimulation.
While teaching an overly excited dog how to relax may sound like a daunting, if not impossible, task, it’s entirely possible to do. Gently petting your dog while having them lie down is a highly effective way to reinforce relaxation (more on positive reinforcement below), encouraging them to relax. You can also have them quietly sit while watching other dogs in action.
Whether you use belly rubs or treats as reinforcement, your dog will eventually find relaxation enjoyable, and you should also notice a reduction in their hyperactivity once they learn relaxation provides its own rewards.
4. Reinforce Your Dog for Good Behavior
As we’ve established, positively reinforcing your dog for good behavior is a great way to encourage repetition of that behavior and reduce or eliminate undesired behaviors.
Whenever your dog is behaving favorably, you should find a way to reward it. This could be in the form of exercise, affection, or a favorite toy.
By rewarding them for their good behavior, they’ll learn to associate their positive behavior with rewards, and one day they’ll find that behaving well is rewarding in and of itself. However, until you get to that point, you should remember that praise and tangible rewards are highly important.
At the same time, recognize forms of unintentional positive reinforcement you give them. If your dog feels ignored but knows it can get attention when it’s over-excited, it will become behaviorally programmed to associate these episodes with positive attention. Think consciously about how and when you provide attention and make sure it’s not solely in response to unwanted behaviors.
5. Take Advantage of Dog Training
If you want to help your canine friend feel secure and regulate their behavior, your dog might benefit from obedience training. It can essentially act as a behavioral modification for overzealous or anxious dogs.
Let’s say your dog is exhibiting an undesired behavior like excessive barking or running around. There’s generally a reason behind that particular behavior. At Greenlin Pet Resorts, we can help you uncover why your dog is hyperactive and teach your canine companion how to turn that negative behavior into a positive one.
Our award-winning training approach combines teaching general commands, like “sit” and “come,” with a special focus on your dog’s unique skills, abilities, and persona. A dog who’s in a calmer state of mind will ultimately be more receptive to human commands rather than their impulses.
But this doesn’t mean your dog will be subject to a military-style regimen. In fact, quite the opposite is true. When your dog is easier to command, they’ll be rewarded with more freedom because they can now be trusted to act on their own accord in most situations.
In the end, this will make both you and your dog happier and more fulfilled. And you’ll both get to enjoy a better relationship with each other and with other people and animals.
Greenlin Pet Resorts
Besides dog training from certified trainers, Greenlin Pet Resorts also offers dog daycare, pet boarding, and grooming services, which are all delivered with love and care. You can even combine puppy boarding and training with our special puppy academy programs.
Access our services from any of our five conveniently located centers. Whichever location you choose, you can rest assured that your furry companion will be in good hands (and paws). Besides developing loving relationships with our trainers and professionals, your dog will also develop lifelong friendships with many fellow canines.
To learn more about Greenlin Pet Resorts and how we can serve you and your dog, give us a call or complete our contact form. We look forward to helping you, and your dog have a better life!