Adult Dogs

How to Calm a Hyper Dog without Using Drugs or Medication

An active puppy is a beautiful thing.  Especially when he’s in his element – stalking a squirrel or chasing after a Frisbee.

A hyperactive dog, however, is something else entirely.  A hyper dog taxes our patience and destroys furniture.  He growls, threatens, and in some cases, hurts people.

And here’s the most disturbing part – it’s 100% your fault (more on this down below).

Now, you could learn how to calm a hyper dog using prescription drugs and other medications.  In this day and age, there’s a pill for everything.  And some pet parents actually do medicate their dogs’ behavioral problems.

But you don’t want a canine zombie who lives in a fog, do you?  No – you want a loyal companion that plays, loves, and chills – without all the craziness.

So How Do You Calm Down a Hyperactive Puppy?

As the pet parent, you’re supposed to be in control of the situation.  You’re “responsible” for everything your dog does – just as a human parent is responsible for everything her toddler does.

Your dog will continue displaying hyperactive or hostile behavior until you intervene and train him not to.  Period.

But how do you “intervene?”

The simplest way to reduce hyperactivity and aggressive behavior is to reduce those “triggers” that set your puppy off.  These can be:

  • Certain people (like your visiting in-laws)
  • Certain environments (like the dog park)

The less exposure your dog has to these triggers, the less craziness you’ll have to deal with.

But this isn’t a long-term solution.  It’s a one-off fix for very specific situations.

For more permanent results, you should invest your time in the following areas:

1.  Exuding Calm Energy

Have you ever noticed that if you speak really slowly to someone, they’ll speak more slowly than normal?  The same holds true if you speak quickly or whisper or raise your voice.

As humans, we tend to mimic our surroundings.  Dogs are similar in this respect.  If you’re anxious, they become anxious.  If you’re chill, they’re chill.

As a puppy parent, your job is to project calm and confident energy at all times.  If your dog is going bonkers – you can’t react in kind.

In fact, the best thing to do is to ignore this hyperactivity and deny your dog any and all attention.

No love.  No treats.  No toys.  No walks…. Until he comes down.

Your puppy will come to realize that being hyper = isolation.  Moreover, he will begin to follow your lead.  Because you are calm and collected, he will become more relaxed as well.

Read our article about the importance of calm authority to learn more.

2.  Exercise and Games

Puppies need exercise.  Way more than you probably realize.

Dogs are built to run.  In fact, they can outlast most human runners when it comes to sheer stamina.  So however much walking you currently do, think about adding some more mileage to your schedule.  An extra 5 minutes won’t tire out your puppy, but it will reduce his energy levels a little bit.

Another great way to reduce his hyperactivity is to play games.  A personal favorite of mine is hide and seek.  Make your hiding spots super obvious at first (so he understands the game).  And then make them harder and harder with time.

3.  Make Your Dog Work

Cesar Millan (aka the Dog Whisperer) is a big fan of making dogs work for their rewards.  The example Cesar always uses is attaching a doggy backpack to your puppy whenever you go hiking.  He says that,

Having your dog wear a dog backpack with extra weight will keep your dog focused on carrying instead of getting distracted by squirrels and other things.

I’ve personally never used this technique and can’t vouch for it.  But it makes a lot of sense.  If household chores can build character in rebellious teens, maybe it can work in the canine world as well.

An Important Tip on How to Calm a Hyper Dog

The above tips are not standalone solutions.  They’re habits.  For optimal results, you should budget these habits into your regular schedule.  Even if we’re only talking about a few minutes every day.

When these habits become ingrained, your dog will actually look forward to the games and exercise and work.  This will help to reduce hyperactivity and encourage more moderate behavior.

If you’d like more professional dog training tips, click here.

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