Dogs can be hyperactive for all sorts of reasons, and it’s one of those dog behaviour problems that can be difficult to get under control, so we’ve brought together a whole range of dog calming techniques that you can try out when your dog starts getting frantic.
1. Be Calm Yourself
Learn to be calm around your dogs as they are extremely sensitive to moods and a hyper active or stressed out dog may simply be reacting to the way you are feeling. Dogs often look to their owners to see how they react in situations, so if you stay calm at times when your dog is showing symptoms of stress, they may take the lead from you and be calmer themselves.
2. Tackle Dog Anxiety Problems
Anxiety in dogs can cause a lot of manic behaviour, so focus your training on methods that help reduce anxiety such as desensitisation training. This should help them learn new behaviour in potentially anxious situations and stay calm.
3. Be the Pack Leader
Make sure your dog understands that you are the pack leader, as this can also reduce anxiety considerably by encouraging a dog to take their lead from you and trust your decisions. Being pack leader does not mean you have to be harsh with your dog or use dominant techniques like pinning them down as research shows that in the wild leadership is not enforced in this way. It is more about showing them that you are the decision maker and your dog should then willingly co-operate.
4. Give Your Dog Plenty of Activity
Active and high energy dogs need stimulation and activity, whether that is through a walk or through an energetic play session at home, or even toys that tax their brains. While I don’t believe that boredom is the cause of hyperactivity, and know that many dogs are happy to lie around for hours at a time, most dogs also love to engage their minds and tired dogs don’t often have the energy to be manic!
5. Pay No Attention to Their Behaviour
It is not always easy, but ignoring your dog’s hyper behaviour,can be a fast and effective dog calming technique. Try walking away from them if they start behaving manically. If you move out of the room or garden so they can’t see you, you’ll be surprised how often your dog will stop what they are doing to follow you.
6. Give them a Consequence
The minute they start acting up, give them a consequence for behaving this way. A little time-out, either in a crate or a small area where they can’t damage themselves or anything else, can be very effective. Put them where they can’t see you and wait until they are calm before you let them out.
7. Don’t React to Your Dog
Make sure you don’t reinforce their behaviour by paying attention to it. Attention could be talking to them (or even shouting at them in annoyance), trying to stroke them or touch them, chasing them or even just catching their eye. Attention is like a reward to a dog so they may do it even more often. It can also make a dog think that their behaviour is the correct way to behave because you gave them attention for it.
8. Use Medication or Stress Reducing Products
There are herbal products that can be bought from pet stores and online that claim to help with dog calming. These are generally thought to be safer than drugs, and have fewer, or no side effects. Other products like the Thundershirt, Anxiety Wrap or DAP can also help some dogs calm down. Only consider using dog anxiety medication in extreme situations and always take advice from you vet first.