All dogs are created equal, but certain dogs are created more hyper than others. I have three very energetic dogs, two Siberian Huskies and a Shiba Inu, so I have had my fair share of hyper dog challenges.
Here are some important lessons I learned, on how to calm a hyper dog or a hyper puppy.
1. Try to Remain Calm
One of the most important things to remember, if we have a hyper dog, is the best medicine for a hyper dog is calm energy.
If I lose my temper, get frustrated, or become angry, my dog will pick up on that energy and become even more hyper. When my dog is over-excited, I do my best to remain calm, and project calm energy to him.
2. Make Our Dog Work for His Food
I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs. This means that they have to do something for me first, before I give them something in return. NILIF is a great way to –
- Motivate my dogs to follow house-rules,
- Help them learn that people are the source of good stuff, and also
- Redirect their hyper energy into positive pursuits.
I use part of my dog’s daily food for good behaviors throughout the day, for being calm, for following commands, for walks, grooming, and more.
Whatever food is left over, I put in interactive food toys, so he has to work for that as well. Interactive food toys are a great way to exercise my dog mentally, and to keep him engaged in a positive activity. Some food toys that I use include the Buster Cube, Premier Busy Buddy Collection, and of course Kongs.
Frozen Kongs are great to keep my dog occupied when he is in his crate, or to help calm him down before bed-time. I put some wet food into a classic Kong and freeze it. My dog has fun licking and chewing at it, and has less time to get into trouble. 😀
Variety is the spice of life, therefore, I try to figure out new fun ways, to deploy my dog’s food. For example, I may put his food on some paper, bunch the paper up into a ball, and then push the paper ball into a Holl-ee Roller toy. Sephy has a fun time figuring out this food puzzle!
Another thing that works pretty well with my dog is the Egg Babies toy. These toys have openings to give us access to the squeaker balls within. I open up the compartment, take out the squeaker balls, and put some food into the toy. Sometimes I stuff a regular ball into it, to make the toy more challenging. The Egg Baby is a soft-toy though, so some dogs may try to chew or shred it.
It is important that we are around to supervise our dog when he is working on a toy. We want to make sure that he does not swallow pieces of paper, soft-toy fabric, or rubber.
If our dog likes swallowing paper or soft toy fabric, then *do not* give him such toys. With rubber toys, make sure he cannot tear chunks off, because they may become a choking hazard.
3. Play Fun Games with our Dog
A game that my dog absolutely loves to play is the flirt pole.
A flirt pole is a simple pole or handle that is connected to a rope, with a toy at the end. We may create our own flirt pole or simply buy one.
I made my own flirt pole by getting a drain-plunger and detaching its wooden handle. Then, I drilled some holes in the handle and tied some rope through it. Finally, I attached the other end of the rope to a Premier Tennis Tail Toy. This Premier toy works well with my homemade flirt pole, because my dog loves chasing the fox-like tail on the toy.
However, it is only appropriate if we use regular rope, and not bungee or elastic cord. If we use an elastic cord, there is a high probability that the toy will bounce around a lot, and it may hit us, our dog, or others. As such, we should only use a very soft and light toy.
With this game, we may exercise our dog while not having to overly exert ourselves. Other fun dog play games include soccer, catch, fetch, and tug-of-war.
I always set up a consistent set of rules while playing with my dog. This helps to keep everyone safe, as well as helps my dog learn positive play behaviors and self-control.
4. Do Obedience Training Every Day
Enroll in a dog obedience training class or get a good positive reinforcement dog training book. Then, have short (10-15 minutes) training sessions with our dog, several times per day.
This will help establish us as pack leader, improve the bond with our dog, exercise our dog’s mind, and provide us with effective tools to control him in the house.
5. Daily Walks or Hiking Trips
Neighborhood walks are a great way to exercise our dog, and socialize him to people. Walking can also help with obedience and bonding.
We may walk our dog on a loose leash or in a heel position. Personally, I keep my dog on a loose leash most of the time. I only put him in a heel position when I need greater control, for example-
- When I see another dog, cat, or squirrel,
- When young children are around, or
- When my dog starts to get reactive.
Dogs enjoy roaming around and smelling social markers (dog urine) left by other dogs. They can easily do this on a loose leash. Being in a heel position all of the time, is probably more boring than death for a dog. Therefore, to provide a fun walking experience for everyone, relax, give our dog some freedom, and stop to smell the roses.
In addition to neighborhood walks, it can also be fun to go hiking on nature trails.
Note that different parks, or different trails within a park, may have different leash rules (on-leash or off-leash). We may have to try out a variety of parks and park-trails, before finding one that suits us and our dog.
Hiking can also be a relaxing way to socialize our dog to both people and other dogs. Unlike enclosed dog parks, hiking parks are larger and have a lower density of people and dogs. In hiking parks, owners are usually more engaged with their dogs, and are better able to control them. Hiking trails also offer an interesting environment for a dog to explore.
If we are too busy, consider hiring a dog walker to exercise our dog. Many dog walkers offer group-walks, where they will take a small group of dogs to a nearby off-leash park. This is a fun activity, and a good way to tire-out our furry friend while we are away at work.
6. Organize Play Sessions with Another Dog
One of the best ways to drain energy from a hyper dog, is to organize play sessions with other dogs. I invite social dogs over to my house, to have one-on-one play sessions.
Other possibilities include dog daycare centers or enclosed dogs parks. I prefer daycare centers because they usually screen a dog before admission, therefore, they usually have more social dogs. In addition, a good daycare will have dog playgroups that are well-supervised, as well as structured by size and energy, which makes things a lot safer.
Enclosed dog parks are open to all, so there may be aggressive and anti-social dogs. In addition, owners may not supervise their dogs well, because they are busy socializing with the other people at the park.
In my experience, it is difficult to find a good enclosed dog park. In addition, there is always an element of danger, because all it takes is one irresponsible dog owner, for a dog fight to occur. More on my enclosed dog park experiences.
While Dog Parks can be fun, they also bring plenty of NEGATIVE interactions by forcing your pet to come up against dogs that might be overly stimulated, short-tempered, outwardly aggressive or otherwise badly managed. Smart Socializing means keeping your friend dog-tolerant, and that involves AVOIDING dicey situations where conflict can spark.
Rachele Sipple says
thank you so much i will give it a try!
Rachele Sipple says
I have a 4 1/2 month old pitbull puppy. She knows comands such as sit, stay, lay, paw, etc. she is the sweetest thing she wouldnt hurt you for the world. But she is super hyper.She does speed rounds around my house at least 3 times a day . I take her to the park everyday and take her on different trails there and I play with her and her toys. I also go in the yard and play frisbee and throw her ball for her because she loves to play fetch. But she is still hyper. she only calms down when i put her in her cage at night. Any tips?
Haha, yeah my dogs were also very hyper during puppy-hood. Puppies have a lot of energy, are curious about everything, and have very short attention spans. 😀
Some things that help with my puppy-
1. I set up a fixed schedule.
In this way, my puppy knows when it is play-time, training time, food-time, and nap-time. I make sure to schedule enough activity time so that puppy has good outlets for her energy, however, nap-time is important as well. I needed the break! 😉
2. Frozen Kongs.
Frozen Kongs were a great way to keep my Husky puppy occupied. Puppies need to eat quite a lot, so working on the frozen Kongs took up a fair amount of her puppy energy. I got good quality puppy wet food, and froze them in rubber Kongs. Initially, I help my puppy get the food out if needed.
Generally, I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs.
3. Good social puppy classes.
Puppy classes were also great for my Husky puppy. I make sure to pick good classes that focus on socialization and structured play. They also check all puppies for vaccination records.
The classes helped my Husky puppy with socialization and impulse control during play. Playing with other puppies in a structured way also helped to drain her puppy energy.
More on dog socialization-
I also did obedience exercises, grooming exercises (touch, fur brush, teeth brushing, nail desensitization), recall exercises, etc.
Keeping up with a puppy is always hardest for me in the beginning. However, as my puppy matures and learns more impulse control, things get a lot easier.
The first 10 days with my Husky puppy. 😀
Big hugs to your puppy girl!
thanks about that ile give it a try
Hi I have some concern about my 2yr 2 month old female boxer/ American bull dog. We got her at 10 weeks old from a rescue. We also have a 10 year old golden retriever shepherd/border collie. About a year ago she would show some dominance over both male dogs. My daughter lived with us and had a pit bull who was 6 moths older then the female. The female gets to the point where she will go after the older male by growling and pushing him to the ground, plus standing over him, not broke skin. So just recently three weeks ago the older male walked into the room where my son and I were. The other two dogs were already with us. The female went at the older one and growled and went to push him down on the ground but then the pit bull jumped in and it got terrifying . The pit attacked and ripped part of the older dogs ear off and tore his snout. The female put a tar in the back of his neck. Since then my daughter moved out with her dog. She has gone after the older dog twice since then but has not broken skin. What is your opinion on what we should do with this situation? I really don’t want to get rid of her but afraid of both dogs being left alone or watching very closely when we are home. Oh and one other thing she did tonight was, our cat will hit the dogs with his paw at times. He did that to my female tonight and she growled at him plus went after him to bite. Thank you for reading my email.
Given what you describe, I would consult with a good professional trainer.
Dog behavior is very context dependent, so especially in more serious cases of aggression, it is usually safest to have a trainer observe our dog, read his body language, and evaluate his behavior within the context of his regular environment and routine.
When I was having issues with my Shiba Inu, we visited with several professional trainers, and I learned something from each one. However, the dog training area is not well regulated and there is a lot of misinformation in the field, so I was very careful to find trainers with good experience, proper certifications, who understood behavioral conditioning, and who knew what they were talking about.
I use leashes, gates, a basket muzzle, and other management equipment as necessary to make sure that everyone, as well as all my dogs are always safe.
With my dogs,
– I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules. I supervise and slowly teach them what those rules are. In this way, they know exactly what to expect from each other, what to expect from me, and what I expect from them in return.
– I make sure to redirect bad behaviors before they escalate into something more serious.
– I make sure there are always safe areas that my older dogs can go to rest without being bothered by my younger Husky. If my older dogs do not feel like playing or interacting, then I make sure my younger Husky leaves them alone.
– I do not leave my dogs together alone until I am very sure that they will not cause each other harm, even accidentally.
– I set them up for success by carefully managing their environment and keep things safe by using management equipment (leash, gates, etc.) as necessary.
– I give them positive and structured outlets to expend their energy, e.g. structured play-time with me, daily walks, obedience exercises, grooming exercises and more.
– I try to create positive and calm together time, in a structured and controlled way, for example through desensitization exercises.
More on what I do to help my dogs get along.
However, as I said above, dog behavior is very context dependent and each dog and each situation is different. My dogs do not have a bite history and I have trained them since puppyhood, so I know their temperaments, quirks, and behaviors very well. This is why, especially in cases of more serious aggression, it is best and safest to get help from a good professional trainer.
I recently got a 6 week old German Shepherd (5 weeks ago), and he’s doing great. Currently about 80% potty trained, slowly getting used to our cat, has all ready learned a ton of commands (sit, down, up, come, stay, paw, etc.) – however, he’s recently began having bursts of energy. We live in an apartment, and I don’t mind taking him out – however, our vet has advised us to keep him indoors until he’s had his final parvo injection in a few weeks.
Is there any way I can properly exercise him inside my 2 bedroom apartment, while not taking him outside? He’ll be able to go around no problem a few days after his final parvo injection, but he’s tearing our couches, tables, beds, etc., up, and it’s getting to the point where it isn’t cute anymore!
Thanks for your time, and I hope to see a reply here in the near future when I check back.
What is your puppy’s current routine?
Some things that helped with my Shiba and Husky during puppyhood are-
1. Puppy classes.
I specifically picked ones that did socialization and they also checked each puppy to make sure they have immunization records. This reduced the risk of infection while at the same time allowing me to start socialization with other dogs and with people.
More on dog socialization
2. Puppy play-groups.
There was also a dog daycare place nearby to us, which organized free puppy socials every weekend. The sessions were supervised by their trainers and they also checked each puppy for immunization records. We visited the daycare first to make sure that they are properly managed before bringing our puppy. This is more risky because there are a lot of dogs at the daycare, so the effectiveness of the staff is very important.
3. Nothing in Life is Free.
At home, I have my puppy work for all of her food. Frozen Kongs were great to keep my Husky puppy occupied. I also start leash training inside the house, just to get my puppy used to having the leash on (only under supervision). Grooming exercises (fur and teeth brushing) are also good to practice during puppyhood.
I also set up a fixed schedule for my puppy and I supervise her closely. If I cannot supervise, I put her in her crate temporarily or in a safe enclosure.
More on how I do crate training.
I do not take my puppy for outside walks until she is fully vaccinated, which took several months for my pups.
My Australian Shepherd pup is 10 weeks old. She goes crazy when we first get up and whenever food is involved. She has zero attention span but understands about going outside. She isn’t dumb but she surely can bite and launch a world class temper tantrum. Any ideas for slowing her roll?
Haha, yeah my Huskies were also big energy balls of Brownian motion when they were pups. 😀
Some things that help with my Husky puppy-
1. I set up a fixed schedule and routine.
2. I set up a consistent set of rules and structure. I slowly teach those rules to my puppy, but she learns that there are boundaries right from the start. I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs.
3. I use a drag lead for control. I only do this when I am there to supervise and only with a safe flat collar or harness (no aversive collars).
4. I keep training sessions very short and rewarding. It works best when I make it fun and more like a game. In this way, nobody gets frustrated, and puppy is ready for more. 😀
5. More on how I trained my Husky puppy.
More on what I do to calm my hyper puppy.
Big hugs to your new furball! 😀
Ok so I have an American bulldog and he’s 8 months going on 9 months old and he is very out of control!! I honestly gave up with trying to train him he doesn’t know how to walk on the lease he eats everything including his lease and collar when we put him in the cage and hold him by the collar he bites our arms and jumps up and down and slashes around like a fish I honestly don’t know what else to do PLEASE HELP ME
Yeah, my Shiba Inu was a furry terror as well when he was young. Some things that helped with my dog-
1. I established a fixed routine and a consistent set of house rules. Structure and routine are very important, and helped to create some amount of order.
2. It was overwhelming for me to deal with too many things at once, so I picked two of the most important things and worked on those first. Once I fixed those, I picked another two more and so on.
3. I always try to set Sephy up for success. The more successful training sessions we have, the more I can reinforce good behaviors, and the more likely we will be successful in the future.
4. Consistency, timing, and repetition are all very important in training my puppy. I set up a consistent mark and no-mark, and teach my puppy what these mean by tying it to appropriate consequences. More on how I trained my puppy.
5. Sephy was very sensitive to my energy. If I am angry, frustrated, or stressed, he will pick up on that, get stressed himself, and act even more crazy. Once I controlled my own energy, Sephy’s behavior also improved.
I also provided a lot of positive and structured activity for Sephy, so he has good ways to expend his puppy energy. I talk more about this in the article above.
Finally, we also visited with several professional trainers to help us troubleshoot particular issues with Sephy. Dog behavior is very context dependent, so it was useful to have someone observe Sephy and guide us on how to manage his environment, as well as how to retrain his problematic behaviors.
More on how I leash train my dog.
More on how I discourage puppy biting.
How I deal with my dog’s bad behavior.
We have a 5 month old Shiba & she is very excitable when it comes to meeting other dogs.
We tried the various techniques recommended online such as making her sit first or moving away when she gets too excited but with limited results so far.
Some times she can approach another dog calmly (but goes straight to sniffing the nose which I recall reading somewhere that this can be viewed as offensive by some dogs) & after 1-2 second of sniffing she will start jumping & spinning around making snarling noises. Most of the time the other dog will just be “stunned” or back away from her growling.
I’m under the impression she’s not aggressive & just want to initiate play but other dogs seems offended by her “technique”. Did you have the same experience? If so, what did you do?
Yeah, Sephy was also pretty reactive when he was young.
We did a lot of dog-to-dog desensitization exercises with him, which was helpful. We did the training at our local SPCA, under the direction of one of their trainers. They would pick appropriate dogs for us, we would do a bunch of training, and then at the end, Sephy got rewarded with a fun play session. He loved that more than anything, so he is willing to do good work for the play reward.
During regular walks we mostly ignore other dogs, thereby creating neutral experiences. I only let Sephy meet dogs that I know he will be successful with. He can be a bit forward in his greetings as well. 😀
We also did one-on-one, highly supervised play sessions at my house. There was a really friendly neighborhood dog who lived right across the road from us, and her temperament really suited Sephy’s. She is larger, goofy, likes to play, and totally not dominant, so they got along very well. I still set up structure, play rules, and supervise during play, but it was a great way for Sephy to invest his play energy in something positive.
In general, I try to maximize successful positive greetings and minimize negative encounters. In this way, he gains confidence and learns to associate other dogs with positive events.
More on dog socialization.
Big hugs to your Shiba girl!
New mom says
Thank you! Will def try all of this!
Remember that the things I talk about are what works for Sephy. I always observe my dogs carefully and tweak things to suit each dog and each situation.
Good luck and let us know how things go with Emi. 😀
New mom says
Thanks for the speedy reply!
Emi is full Shiba! Which also means she is full intelligence and stubbornness. 🙂
To answer your questions:
1. What were her interactions with the bigger dog?
– Their interaction was very minimal. My brother in law wanted to introduce them, so he held her up and let the big dog some by to sniff her. But the big dog ended up biting her tail and paws!! She whimpered and kept her tail between her legs for a good few minutes. 🙁
– I kept the big dog outside from there, and Emi in a playpen
– But the big dog busted into the house at one point and marked his territory all over the play pen, blanket, and toys!!
2. Did they play? Was she trying to get away?
– they definitely didn’t play
– she didn’t really squirm or try to get away
– I’ve noticed that Emi is a little anxious/shy at first, but she typically goes crazy after everyone/everything is gone and things are calmer
3. What did the bigger dog do and how did Emi react?
– I think the above answers this 🙂
– by the end of the night with the big dog and my niece/nephew, Emi started running around SUPER FAST in circles, bumping herself into corners and everything, and she even started digging constantly in our floor
4. Similarly, what were the interactions like with your niece and nephew?
– oh my…this is tough to say
– my nephew would pet her nicely whenever i was looking, but i’d catch him kicking her / poking her eyes whenever I turned away
– he also threw her toys at her face to make her “fetch,” so i REALLY had to monitor them. at one point, i even had to remove my nephew to a different room
– my niece is a chunky little girl with a super high pitched voice. she typically screams at the top of her lungs and thinks it’s funny. of course, she was no different when meeting Emi. so her “fun” screams/shrieks really freaked out Emi
I’ve been reading your blog on puppy obedience. She’s definitely very nippy at my hands and tends to put her paws on my hand when I come in calmly and let her sniff me first. but, she never fails to chew my hand as if it were a toy. i try to redirect her, but she only wants my limbs/clothes. even when i try to leave the pen, she’s jumping on my and attacking my shorts. any suggesitons?
When Sephy was young, I put a drag-lead on him so that I could more easily control him when he jumped on me, tried to do humping, etc. I only use a flat collar or harness and *not* an aversive collar. I also only do this when I am fully supervising him. In this way, I can more easily control him and lead him to timeout if necessary.
I talk more about what I do to train my dogs not to bite on me here.
I also try to only expose Sephy to positive interactions with people and other dogs, so that he will associate them with calmness and rewards, and not become reactive or afraid of them. I have found that bad social experiences can cause Sephy to learn the wrong things, which may then lead to undesirable behaviors down the road that are harder to fix. Prevention seems to work best with a Shiba. 😀
More on dog socialization.