There are dogs that seem to never slow down and overreact to everyday occurrences. If that describes your dog, keep reading. In this article, we review why some dogs are hyper, the signs of a hyper dog, and the different ways pet parents can calm down a hyper dog naturally.
Why Is Your Dog So Hyper?
When people describe their dogs as hyper or hyperactive, they are using the term colloquially to indicate a dog with excess energy. But hyper is a term that is relative to each dog's situation.
When a pet parent brings a dog to a vet and asks, “Why is my dog so hyper,” the vet will want to know how the dog spends his days, how much exercise he gets, and how much training he has received. Dogs that have had very little training, are not exercised regularly, and are left alone most of the day may act out with nervous or hyper behaviors.
Why are some dogs more hyper than others? One answer may lie in the dog's breeding. Working dogs are among the breeds most likely to be described as “hyperactive.” These dogs have been bred for generations to be extremely active — herding sheep, pulling sleds, or hunting prey.
If your dog is a working breed, or breed mix, and doesn't have a “job” or an opportunity to use up all his energy and brain power, he can become highly stressed and restless. The good news is these breeds tend to be very trainable. With proper training, enrichment activities, and regular exercise, you can help him become feel less stressed, and he'll learn to behave calmly.
Signs of a Hyperactive Dog
Some dogs will be calm and collected 90% of the time but show signs of anxious behaviors during thunderstorms or fireworks. Other dogs seem like they never stop moving, and those are the ones we affectionately call hyper.
While every dog may experience an occasional case of the zoomies, hyper dogs overreact more consistently with:
- Impulsive behaviors — Dogs that haven't learned self-control may become overexcited to get what they want.
- Overreactions to ordinary stimuli — Most dogs will bark at a knock on the door, and that's normal behavior. Hyper dogs may overreact to ordinary stimuli.
- Restlessness — These pups may tend to get into trouble around the house, like chewing furniture or digging in the trash.
- Hyper-fixation — Dogs may become obsessed with a toy or tennis ball.
If your dog displays these signs, you are not alone. The AKC estimates that 12% to 15% of dogs display hyperactive behaviors and impulsivity and 20% exhibit inattention. Don't despair — there are several steps you can take to get a hyper dog to calm down.
How to Calm a Hyper Dog Naturally
There are several natural ways to help calm your hyper dog. The best approach is to combine some of these strategies:
- Exercise releases bottled up energy — Take longer walks in the morning and shorter walks in the evening. If that's difficult with your schedule, try shorter sessions of aerobic activity, like playing fetch or an agility course, during the day and especially before you leave him alone. Discuss any exercise regimen with your vet because vigorous exercise may not be appropriate for some breeds.
- Consult a professional behaviorist — Get advice from experts on how to calm your dog with obedience training, impulse control exercises, and behavior modification With training and patience, you can change your dog's behavior. Repetition is the key, so practice these training exercises every day.
- Provide enrichment — Put dry kibble in food puzzles or hide treats in toys for hyper dogs that require your dog to take time to learn how to retrieve the food. This will stimulate his mind.
- Keep a routine — Routines can reduce your dog's stress of the unknown. Establish a routine in which feeding, walks, playtime, and sleep take place at the same time every day.
- Don't encourage or motivate excitement — Keep your voice at a calm and even level. Only provide treats when your dog is relaxed and withhold treats when he is hyper.
- Feed specially formulated food — Look for calming food and treats for hyper dogs that are rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, and other key nutrients to help promote calm behavior.
- Try a calming touch — Pet your dog with long strokes, avoid roughhousing, learn Tellington touch massage, or try thunder shirts for stressful situations. Massaging a dog's ears will release hormones that can have a calming effect.
- Calming scents — Consider aromatherapy with dog-calming pheromone diffusers and sprays. Only use scents and pheromones created specifically for dogs.
- Manage their environment — Avoid exposing your dog to triggers or situations with a lot of stimuli that can cause stress until he has been trained to learn self-control.
- Be calm yourself — Your dog will take cues from your energy, so stay calm during training activities.
How Calming Chews and Supplements Can Help
Supplements may also help calm nervous pooches. EverRoot® calming supplements can help calm dogs exhibiting nervousness, hyperactivity, or discontentment, and dogs responding to environmentally induced stresses without causing drowsiness. These calming chews and supplements for dogs contain natural, beneficial ingredients such as:
- Chamomile and L-theanine — Just like a warm cup of tea at the end of the day, chamomile and L-theanine (from green tea extract) have naturally calming properties that may help your dog relax.
- Hemp seed oil — Cold-pressed oil from hemp seeds is full of omega-6 fatty acids that support your dog's skin health and helps calm nervous dogs.
- Wild-caught Alaskan salmon oil and wild-caught Alaskan cod liver oil — Both are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can support your dog in a variety of ways, including soothing his skin and coat, which can improve his overall mood.
With a little proactive care and the proper nutrition, enrichment, training, and exercise, you can help your dog relax and enjoy a happy and healthy life.Learn more about EverRoot calming supplements for dogs.