5 Ways to Calm Hyperactive Dogs

Hyperactive dogs are usually young, energetic and untrained. Their over-the-top behavior can include inappropriate greetings, escaping and destructive behavior such as chewing and digging. All of these behaviors can be controlled or eliminated altogether with a little management and some training.

1. Burn off the Excess Energy

There is a maxim among dog people that says, "a tired dog is a good dog." This is absolutely true. Dogs need daily exercise and mental stimulation. If your dog has too much pent-up energy and is left alone with nothing to do, he will figure out a way to amuse himself. Add more exercise to your dog’s daily routine. Jogging, trips to an off-leash dog park, cage free dog daycare, retrieve games and long walks will help your dog expend his natural energy, which will make him feel more relaxed.

2. Give Him Something to Think about

Mental boredom is one of the reasons that a dog will overreact to any stimulation that enters his environment. Keep your dog’s mind active by offering him a variety of toys and safe chewable items. You should keep about 20 of these items on hand and only put 4 or 5 of them out at a time. Change the combination of toys you offer him every few days. You may also wish to feed your dog his daily ration of kibble out of interactive food dispensing toys instead of his bowl. You can even hide the food dispensing toys in various places so that he can hunt for his food.

3. Dealing with Digging and Chewing

Many dog breeds are natural diggers, and all dogs will chew at some time or another in their life. It's easier to provide them with appropriate outlets for these behaviors than it is to try to stop dogs from engaging in them. For the digger in your life, offer him a sandbox. A child’s plastic sandbox with a lid is perfect for this solution. Bury some safe chewable toys in the sand and praise your dog when you catch him digging in the correct spot. This will motivate him to use his new toy.

4. Over-the-Top Greetings

If you dread coming home or entering your backyard because of the way your dog greets you when you enter his space, it's time to teach him some alternative behaviors to jumping, barking and mouthing you. This type of greeting is enjoyed by most dogs because it is their natural language. They don't know how to greet someone they love in any other way. When their joyful greeting is rejected, a dog may escalate his enthusiasm to try to make his intentions understood. Teaching your dog basic manners and rewarding him for behaving appropriately will help him understand how to greet people in a way that will allow him to gain acceptance.

5. What to Do when Nothing Seems to Help

Some anxious and destructive behaviors are the result of a physical or mental health issue. You may need to consult with your veterinarian for help if your dog is not responding to exercise, play and training.