An overly excited dog may exhibit the following behavior patterns – nonstop jumping up and down or spinning around in circles, all the while barking up a storm. If your dog is trying to work off excess energy in this way, you may think this is okay dog behavior or even that it’s cute. However, as a pet owner, it is important to understand that an overly excited dog is not a happy dog and could become aggressive. Here are five ways to change your best friend from being constantly over-excited into a calmer and happier canine.
1. Don’t Encourage Excited Behavior
The worst thing you can do is to pay attention to an overly excited dog. He’ll just connect being excited with being rewarded. Instead, you should ignore him when he starts acting up. This means no stroking or patting, no talking, and no eye contact. If your dog attempts to jump up on you, immediately push him away and turn your back on him.
2. Encourage Calm Behavior
Encouraging your dog to calm down is the flip side of the first tip. When your dog becomes calm and submissive, reward him with affection, lots of “good boys” or “good girls,” and possibly a treat. Ignoring excited behavior and rewarding calm behavior will send a message to your dog that calmer is better.
3. Wear Your Dog Out (and Possibly Yourself!)
It’s easier to keep your dog calm if he doesn’t have sufficient energy to become overly excited in the first place. So make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Just letting him out in the yard to do his business and run around won’t do. Your dog needs long walks to literally walk off his excess energy.
4. Provide Outlets
Keeping your dog’s mind active with play can also help to reduce excess energy. Games like searching for a hidden treat, playing fetch, or running through an obstacle course are all excellent ways to stimulate your dog’s mind and drain his energy. However, you must set some limitations. This means that if your dog gets overly excited, the game ends. The dog needs to learn that if he gets too crazy, playtime goes away.
5. Keep Yourself Calm
Most importantly, your dog won’t be calm if you aren’t. So, think about how you are able to correct your dog’s behavior. Can you calm your dog with just a few quiet words, or do you find yourself shouting “no, no” over and over in exasperation? If you recognize yourself in the shouting category, then you’re exacerbating your dog’s excitement. The only time you should correct a dog with a short loud sound is to get his attention if he’s about to do something dangerous like running into traffic.
Some overly excited dogs have natural high-energy levels. If your dog is like this, it can take some time before you start to see improvements in his behavior. The important thing is to remain consistent in your methods and not to give up. And, keep in mind that your dog’s excitability may get him into trouble. If your dog is unfortunate enough to need emergency treatment and you live in the vicinity of Columbia, SC, bring him to CVETS for the very best in emergency care.