Excitement is not always happiness. When we talk about an excited dog, we should make a distinction between a happy and overly excited dog. The problem with an excitable dog is that you cannot train them properly. If you want to do some proper obedience training or any other training as a dog owner, you have to learn how to calm an overexcited dog.
Excitement is not directly linked with unwanted behavior. But the connection is sometimes there. Now, there is a myth that a crazy dog and hyper dog should be exercised more. But that is not the case. You need to calm your overly excited dog, and then train him or exercise him.
Today, we will talk about that. How to calm an overly excited dog.
The Problem with Over Excited Dogs
Why do you need calm behavior from your dog? Well, an excited puppy is a highly aroused dog. But when they are too excited, they become grabby, mouthy, chatter their teeth, spin in circles, pace back and forth, and are unable to settle in one spot. Basically, you cannot do any dog training. No matter how committed a dog owner you are or good dog trainer.
The problem with an overexcited dog is that an aroused dog is a stressed dog. And we are not talking about negative stress or distress. It is the same when you win the lottery, win a trophy, or buy your first house. Most of us know that emotional feeling. And while the emotional response to negative and positive stress is different, the body actually responds the same.
What does that mean for your puppy? Well, exciting situations create a psychological stress response in your dogs behavior. It causes physical changes in the body, releasing stress hormones into the bloodstream.
Now, we are not talking about not playing with your dog and making him happy. But when your puppy is overly excited, say, when you come home and he just jumps and wags its tail, you cannot do any dog training.
It is important that you have a calm dog. And we have the tips and tricks on how to do it. Dogs showing hyper behavior cannot be trained. And you cannot teach any good behavior.
How to calm your puppy?
Well, the question for any dog owner is what to do if your puppy doesn’t comply during crazy times. We have a very simple answer. If your dog is overly excited about something, expose him to the same stimulus over and over. The more you expose your puppy to the same stimulus, for example, the same person coming to the front door, he is less excited.
Now, you teach a behavior you like. This is a challenge for many dog owners. They say we do not want our puppy to jump and bark when someone is at the door. But what do you want your puppy to do instead? Teach that behavior.
For example, you want your puppy to sit. Well, expose him to the stimulus that makes him jazzed up multiple times, and then when he is less excited, teach him to sit and then have the person open the door and enter.
Once you master it at home, you move outside. You try the same good behavior outside. Say you want to teach sit to an excited dog. Well, as you walk your dog, every 45 to 60 seconds, you have him sit, and then praise and reward. That is the essence of positive reinforcement training.
Then, take it a step further. Every 45 to 60 seconds, you jazz up your dog and then try to get him to sit. Repeat the exercise until your pet understands that after jazzing up or getting excited, they need to sit.
For example, I have used this trick to calm Milo when we pass around some not-so-friendly dogs in their backyard barking at Milo. When we pass by that backyard the first time, Milo responds and goes ballistic as well. But we stop and then pass it two or three more times with him in heel. And he is amazing. We have now desensitized most of the places where he goes crazy.
You can also use this trick for a dog running and chasing bikes. Set up a situation where a person comes and passes by with a bike. And see whether your dog will react the same way after three or four exposures to the same stimulus.
Basically, you need to have better impulse control. That allows you to have your dog off the leash more and have him enjoy his free time.
Tips to Calm Your Dog
We talked about how to calm an overexcited dog, but here are some tips as well.
Do not encourage excited behavior
This is basically the biggest challenge. And it is one of the mistakes many owners make. The worst thing you can do is pay attention to an excited dog. He thinks your attention is a reward for his hyperactive behavior. Try to calm your dog or ignore him if you cannot calm him. Your puppy will calm itself down after a while.
Encourage calm behavior
We talked about this in our exercise. How to stop excited behavior and encourage a calm one? Well, anytime your dog is jazzed up, try to calm him down. And reward and praise the calm behavior.
Keep his mind active
There is a reason why many trainers suggest mental stimulation for an excited dog. Keeping your dog’s mind active will help reduce excess energy. You can play hide and seek with a hidden treat, fetch, or even set up an obstacle course and try some dog parkour.
Keep yourself calm
We have said it over and over again in many of our articles. Dogs pick up on our energy. If you are not calm, your dog cannot be calm as well. Think about how you correct your dog’s bad behavior. Calm yourself down first, and then work with your puppy.