Keep Calm & Carry On – 18 Ways to Win Over Your Hyperactive Pet!
Is your pet the one who cannot keep calm? Is he easily aroused even by the most mundane stimuli? Do other pet parents dread seeing your pet show up at the dog park? If you’ve nodded in the affirmative, then read on.
–by Nitya Ramachandran
Hyperactive dogs cannot control their energy levels. Excessive pent-up energy can make them prone to injury and maladaptive behavior. Being mad at them and shouting is not the solution. A knowledge-based approach is.
Here are a few hacks to help manage your hyper-energetic dog’s needs holistically.
1 Know the ABC of the breed
Working dog breeds love having a job to do because they were inbred to hunt, retrieve, or herd. Even if you keep them indoors as pets, they will still have the instinctual high drive. If you have a highly active ‘herding’ dog breed such as a Border Collie that can run all day herding sheep, a walk on the leash will not suffice. You can talk to your vet to know more about the breed of your pet and how to calm him.
2 Keep boredom at bay with innovative workouts
Note the difference between your pet’s breed-specific exercise requirements and the exercise he gets daily. If your pet constantly seems to be in ‘go’ mode, he will need a new exercise plan that makes up for the difference. Keep switching between different forms of exercise such as running, swimming, or hiking to prevent boredom.
3 Switch to high-focus games
Playing games like fetch and tug-of-war that require your pet to focus on a target in a park or a fenced yard where your pet can run freely can provide a constructive outlet for his excessive energy.
4 Agile & not fragile
Ramp up the play session by engaging your tireless pooch in agility training and scent tracking activities that not only guarantee to exhaust him but also provide the perfect combination of physical and mental stimulation needed to keep him occupied.
5 Perks of positive social interaction
Visit a well-run dog park so your pet can enjoy the company of other dogs and pet parents. Well-socialized dogs are calmer than ones who are confined or always left alone. Allow your pet to make friends.
6 Stick to a schedule
Specifically designated times for waking up, eating, going on walks, etc., will eliminate unpredictability from your pet’s daily routine and will help him become more calm and relaxed.
7 A doggie role model – just what your pet needs
Arrange a play session for your pet with well-trained adult dogs. It is easy for dogs to learn behaviors by observing other dogs. When you find it tough to train your pet, allow a canine superhero to save the day.
8 Doggie daycare is a great option
A daycare facility may be a better-suited option if you are away from home during the daytime for long periods. Besides providing a place for your pet to stay, it will also offer a fantastic solution to meet his exercise and socialization needs.
9 Taking care of their mental wellness
Shaping games that involve teaching your pet a new behavior in increments by rewarding him during every step of the process encourage creative thinking. Teaching your energetic pet a new trick like rolling over will require him to focus and work through frustration- a fantastic way to wear him out!
10 Teach him to be a good boy with obedience training
Channelize your pet’s excessive energy productively by training him to obey basic commands. It will work on his energy and teach him which behavior is acceptable and which is not. He will learn to act appropriately to get what he wants. Positively reinforce acceptable behavior by rewarding your pet with a treat.
11 The power of soothing music
Different genres of music can impact your pet’s energy differently, but research has shown that classical and soft instrumental music has a significant calming effect on dogs. So switch on a calming playlist while you work and let your pet also enjoy the music!!
12 Ignore the bad & reward the good
Ignore your pet when he jumps, knocks things over, or barks excessively. Instead, reward him with praise when he behaves appropriately, such as resting or sitting calmly. It will teach him to repeat the acceptable behavior.
13 Food for the body & soul
A low-quality diet can negatively impact your pet’s behavior. Offer food that has pure, easily identifiable ingredients, and minimal preservatives. A diet high in animal protein can significantly improve your hyper dog’s mood and lessen the high-strung behavior.
14 Aromatherapy – a step towards healing
Because a dog’s nose is his primary sense organ, exposing him to relaxing scents such as lavender, vanilla etc. in the form of air fresheners, scented candles, or essential oils can help him calm down.
15 The joy of car rides
Taking your pet out for a car ride is a great way to stimulate him mentally. Car rides offer plenty of stimuli to process simultaneously. The unknown territories, new smells, new faces, etc., will keep your pet engaged.
16 Watch your energy & lead by example
Your pet aligns with your energy. If you are anxious, your pet will mimic your behavior. Be aware of the aura you radiate. Try to be a calm and composed pack leader, and your pet will follow suit.
17 Try touch therapy
Dogs not only enjoy but also crave physical touch through petting, stroking, scratching, and cuddling. Physical affection can decrease your hyperactive pets heart rate and calm him down.
18 Medical & behavioural intervention
Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism can manifest as hyperactivity. Get your pet examined by a vet to check if he has any underlying medical issues that could be causing his excessive drive. Seeking the help of a canine behaviorist will also help correct any dysfunctional behaviors resulting from your dog’s inability to manage his energy.