Why Is My Dog So Hyper?

When your pup turns off his calm mode and flips on the "hyper" switch, you'd swear that he was an entirely different dog. He probably grabs onto the hems of your clothes to get your attention, becomes quite talkative, slaps everything with his tail, hops around like a rabbit, and may even become destructive. Though a too-hyper dog can sometimes be frustrating, remember that he's not doing all these things to drive you up the wall. His behavior stems from something, and you can often correct it.

...

Too Much Energy

Walking around your house, taking a few trips outside to go potty and looking out the window doesn't burn too much of the energy your pup has stored. If he's bored and needs something to do, he's going to turn his excitement level up a notch. Sometimes that means running through the house, jumping on furniture, jumping on people, barking and generally acting like he is suffering from a psychotic episode. He has so much pent-up energy that he just has to do something, and that usually means act hyper and out of control. Sometimes he's trying to have fun by himself, and sometimes he's trying to get you to play with him.

Stimulus

Although hyper behavior often indicates boredom, that's not always the case. Sometimes a certain stimulus can cause your pup to jump up, throw his butt around and act like he was just injected with some adrenaline. For some dogs, that stimulus is cold air or rain. For others, it's another dog or person walking outside the window. The stimulus arouses your pup, and he gets so excited that he doesn't know what to do with himself, so he does seemingly everything.

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder isn't only seen in humans. Although not common, it can also affect canines. Dogs with ADHD don't simply show a little more hyper behavior than normal: they can't seem to stop acting crazy. They're on the go, all the time, and no matter how many walks they take, how many times they run in an open field or how many times they play fetch, they don't calm down. Only your vet can diagnose your pup with ADHD, and it's typically done by keeping an eye on how he behaves inside the vet's office or by putting him on medication and seeing how his body reacts.

Solutions

If your pup's hyper for what appears to be no reason at all, give him more physical and mental stimulation. Go for daily walks, allow him to run in an enclosed area at least three times a week, and play games with him every day. Provide him with treat dispensers and puzzle toys. Never give him attention for being hyper; wait for him to calm down first.

If he's reacting to a certain stimulus, you can try conditioning him to remain calm in the face of that stimulus. Create a situation where he sees or hears the trigger point but make sure it's far enough way or low enough in volume that he won't bark. The moment he lays eyes on it or hears it, give him a treat and lots of praise -- as long as he remains calm. Inch closer and closer or turn up the volume as he remains well-behaved, giving him treats and praise the entire time. If he starts getting crazy, take a step back and try again. For ADHD, your vet will prescribe any necessary medication.

By Chris Miksen


References

PetPlace.com: Hyperactivity in Dogs
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Furry Friends Need Fun, Too: How to Keep Your Pet Happy and Active

About the Author
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.