If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve got a furry friend who can get too excited for their good. Maybe they jump up on guests, bark incessantly, or can’t seem to calm down when it’s time to relax. Or they get so worked up during playtime that they become difficult to control.
If so, you’re not alone. Many dog owners struggle with over-excited behavior in their pets, which can be a frustrating and even dangerous problem.
Luckily, it’s easy to learn. There are safe and effective techniques that can help you manage this behavior and build a better relationship with your furry friend.
Understanding Over-Excitement in Dogs
Before we dive into managing over-excited behavior in dogs, let’s first look at what we mean by “over-excited.”
Over-excitement in dogs refers to a state where your dog becomes overly aroused, frenzied, or hyperactive in response to various stimuli, such as toys, treats, visitors, or other dogs.
What causes over-excitement in dogs?
Well, there can be several factors at play. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of too much energy and insufficient outlets. Other times, it can be triggered by anxiety, stress, or excitement around a particular situation, such as a visit from a friend or a trip to the dog park.
Over-excitement can differ from other misbehavior in dogs, such as aggression or destructive chewing. While those behaviors can also be triggered by anxiety or stress, over-excitement is typically characterized by a more frenzied, hyperactive state rather than a specifically targeted behavior.
It’s essential to address this over-excitement quickly and safely too. Because
- It can be dangerous for both your dog and those around them. For example, an over-excited dog can be more prone to accidents, such as knocking over children or older adults or running into traffic.
- Over-excitement can lead to more severe behavior problems, such as anxiety or aggression, if left unchecked.
But as we’ve mentioned, it’s not your dog’s fault. It’s in their nature to be enthusiastic and energetic. And it’s a pretty common issue most dog owners face too.
Here’s what to do instead of worrying.
Techniques for Calming an Over-Excited Dog
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what over-excitement in dogs looks like let’s talk about some specific techniques to help your furry friend calm down when they get too worked up.
1. Deep Breathing Exercises
Believe it or not, dogs, like humans, can benefit from deep breathing exercises. When a dog is over-excited, their heart rate and breathing can become rapid and shallow. Encouraging them to take deep, slow breaths can help to slow down their heart rate and bring a sense of calm.
You must create a calm and relaxed environment when practicing deep breathing exercises with your dog.
Find a quiet, comfortable spot where your dog feels safe and secure. Sit with them, take a deep breath, then exhale slowly and audibly. Encourage your dog to do the same by placing your hand gently on their chest and guiding them through the breaths.
It may take some practice for your dog to get the hang of deep breathing exercises, so be patient and don’t force it. If your dog seems anxious or uncomfortable, stop the exercise and try again later. Over time, your dog should start associating deep breathing with feelings of calm and relaxation.
2. Calm Verbal Cues
In addition to deep breathing exercises, you can use calm verbal cues to help your dog relax. For example, try saying “easy” or “relax” in a low, soothing tone when your dog gets worked up.
To use calm verbal cues effectively, it’s essential to be consistent with your tone of voice and choice of words. For example, use a low, soothing tone when speaking to your dog, and choose a cue that they can easily understand, such as “easy” or “relax.”
When your dog starts to get worked up, say the cue calmly and reassuringly, and repeat as necessary until your dog starts to calm down.
Don’t use aggressive or angry language to calm your dog down, as this can worsen the situation. Instead, use positive reinforcement and calm, reassuring language to help your dog feel safe and comforted.
The effectiveness of verbal cues can depend on your dog’s individual personality and behavior. For example, some dogs may respond well to verbal cues alone, while others may need additional reinforcement, such as treats or physical touch, to help them calm down.
3. Training and Distraction
When using training and distraction techniques to manage over-excitement in dogs, starting with small, achievable goals is essential.
For example, if you’re trying to teach your dog to stay calm around food, use a no-spill dog bowl to reduce mess and encourage them to eat calmly. Over time, you can gradually increase the level of distraction and work on building your dog’s impulse control.
Similarly, when training your dog on basic commands or providing them with interactive toys, start with simple exercises and work up to more challenging tasks. Use positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise, to encourage good behavior and avoid punishing your dog for mistakes or accidents.
Extra Tips for Managing Over-Excitement in Different Environments
1. At Home
To keep your dog calm and relaxed at home, establish a routine and stick to it as much as possible. This can help your dog feel secure and reduce their anxiety. Ensure your dog has a comfortable and cozy place to rest, and provide them with plenty of toys and interactive activities to keep them occupied.
If you need to keep your dog out of cat food, try using a cat feeder with a lid or placing the food in a separate room where your dog can’t access it. You can also try feeding your pets at different times or using a no-spill dog bowl to reduce mess and prevent your dog from getting too excited.
2. In Public
When taking your dog out in public, be prepared for potential sources of over-excitement, such as other dogs, loud noises, or unfamiliar surroundings. Start by socializing your dog from an early age, exposing them to different environments and people in a controlled and positive way.
Always keep your dog on a leash and under control when out in public. Use calm verbal cues and distraction techniques to keep your dog focused and avoid over-excitement. If your dog starts to get too excited or anxious, take a break and give them a chance to calm down before continuing.
Preventing Over-Excitement in Dogs
While there are many effective techniques for calming an over-excited dog, the best approach is always prevention.
By anticipating potential triggers and setting your dog up for success, you can avoid over-excitement before it even starts. Here are some key strategies for preventing over-excitement in dogs:
1. Provide Adequate Exercise and Stimulation
One of the dogs’ most common causes of over-excitement is a lack of physical exercise or mental stimulation. So ensure your dog gets enough exercise and playtime each day, and provide them with plenty of interactive toys and games to keep their minds engaged.
A tired and mentally stimulated dog is much less likely to become over-excited.
2. Use Positive Reinforcement Training
Positive reinforcement training is a powerful tool for preventing over-excitement in dogs. By rewarding good behavior and ignoring unwanted behavior, you can help your dog learn to stay calm and focused in various situations.
Use treats, praise, and affection to reinforce good behavior, and avoid using punishment or negative reinforcement, which can increase anxiety and over-excitement.
3. Manage Potential Triggers
Be aware of potential triggers for over-excitement in your dog and manage them appropriately. This includes avoiding crowded or noisy environments, keeping your dog away from other animals or distractions, and providing a calm and predictable routine at home.
If you know your dog is particularly sensitive to certain stimuli, such as loud noises or new people, take steps to avoid or manage those triggers as much as possible.
When to Seek Professional Help
Knowing when to seek professional help for your over-excited dog can be difficult, but there are a few key signs to watch for:
1. Aggression: If your dog becomes aggressive when over-excited, such as biting or growling, it’s important to seek professional help immediately. Aggression can be dangerous for your dog and others, and a professional trainer or behaviorist can help address the underlying issues.
2. Destructive behavior: If your dog becomes destructive when over-excited, such as chewing on furniture or digging holes in the yard, this may be a sign of boredom, anxiety, or other underlying issues.
3. Inability to calm down: If your dog becomes over-excited and cannot calm down, even with your best efforts to manage their behavior, it may be time to seek professional help. A professional can help identify the underlying causes of the behavior and provide personalized strategies for managing it.
4. Excessive vocalization: If your dog becomes over-excited and begins barking or howling excessively, this can be a sign of anxiety or other underlying issues. A professional can help identify the cause of the behavior and provide solutions.
But here’s the thing: it’s not your dog’s fault. An overly excited dog may show the abovementioned behavior patterns; however, you can find safe ways to deal with your over-excited dog by following our shared tips. Dogs are naturally enthusiastic and energetic creatures, and we must help them learn how to manage those feelings safely and appropriately.
Shawn is a pup fanatic with over 10 years in the pet business. He knows the in's and out's of doggie training, habits, and even rescue missions! When they're not busy cooking up a storm of dog-friendly recipes, he's most likely out adventuring with his own pack.
Got Questions? Video A Vet 24/7, Any Time, Anywhere 🌎
Vetster connects pet owners to thousands of licensed veterinarians ready to provide the best online vet services through video chatBook an online vet now