What to do About a Hyper Dog

A happy dog with its tongue wagging

He never seems to calm down! 

He never stops moving!?! 

She’s always jumping up on everyone and everything!! 

She wears me out…

 As much as you love them, living with a hyper dog can be exhausting, frustrating, and downright upsetting at times.

Many dogs are high-energy, but when the problem starts to interfere with you and your dog’s quality of life, it’s time to seek help. That’s where your Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital family comes in!

Hyperactive or High Energy?

True hyperactivity in dogs is actually quite rare. A clinically hyperactive (also called hyperkinetic) dog can’t ever seem to relax and is overstimulated by the sights, sounds, and smells in their daily lives. In order to diagnose hyperactivity/hyperkinesis, your veterinarian will need a detailed account of your dog’s behaviors and lifestyle (exercise, diet, how much time they spend alone each day, etc.)

More often than not, a hyper dog gets that way due to boredom, lack of stimulation, not enough exercise, breed characteristics, conditioned behavior, or a combination.

Helping Your Hyper Dog

Calming a hyper dog takes patience and diligence, but living with a happy, well-adjusted pet is well worth the effort. Try the following ideas:

  • Exercise – Pent-up energy can wreak havoc on a dog, leading to all kinds of annoying and destructive behavior. A daily walk (make it a vigorous one) will tire out your pet and make them more likely to relax.
  • Ignore the behavior – Paying attention to your dog’s obnoxious behavior can serve to reinforce it. Do your best to ignore jumping, barking, nipping, or any other hyper behavior.
  • Put them to work – Dogs have been working alongside humans for most of our shared evolution. Putting your dog to work can provide both physical and mental stimulation. ,Have your dog wear a backpack while on walks, teaching them a new game or trick, or taking them to an obedience class (or simply practice obedience skills at home) can all be considered “jobs”.
  • Provide company – If you are regularly gone all day and come home to find that your dog has been destructive, or the neighbors have complained about barking and howling all day, separation anxiety may be to blame. Come home for lunch to walk your dog, or hire a dog walker, or ask a friend or neighbor to help. Social dogs can benefit from spending a few days per week at a doggie daycare. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact our staff with your questions or concerns about your hyper dog. We can help you to rule out any underlying medical issues that may be contributing to the behavior, and get your sweet pet back on track.