How to calm a dog down: Dealing with an overexcited pet

Every dog owner will know that moment when their pet gets a little overly excited. This can be as little as a minor inconvenience or as much as a dangerous situation. Here's how to know the difference and exert a calming influence on your pooch!

You need to know how to calm down your dog, especially if it often gets hyper.
You need to know how to calm down your dog, especially if it often gets hyper.  © Unsplash / Joséphine Menge

It's not unusual or unhealthy for your dog to be a tad overexcited at times, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a handle on it.

That constant struggling with the leash, that loud barking, and that hyperactive behavior might seem like nothing but a minor annoyance, but it's actually something to pay attention to.

TAG24's dog guide will take you through the steps to calming your dog down, when it's hyperactive, scared, or anxious.

Why is my dog so hyper?

If your dog has been tuggin' on the leash, if it is panting more than usual, and if it is jumping all over the place like Super Mario, then it is quite likely to be hyperactive.

There are a vast variety of different reasons for a dog's hyperactivity. From it being a basic (and irritating) character issue, to a physical or mental health problem, it can be difficult to determine what's causing all of this stress.

Dogs are extremely sensitive to stimuli, and have limited reasoning skills. They can get distracted, distressed, and confused very easily. Let's dive into a few causes.

Genetic factors cause dog hyperactivity

Some dog breeds are bred for certain tasks (dachshunds, for example, were bred to hunt small rodents) and, as a result, many come with deeply-ingrained awareness and alertness that is hard to shake off.

Many of these pooches will suffer from dog anxiety, induced by their natural instincts. Such dogs need to be treated carefully, so that same nervousness does not manifest as hyperactivity or misbehavior.

Bored dogs are hard to calm down

Active or sensitive dog breeds are going to need more stimulation. You know, like games, puzzles, activities, and stuff. These dogs need to be given the opportunity to be physically and mentally stimulated, or they're going to start acting up. Bored kids are naughty kids. It's the same.

Stress can cause dog anxiety

High periods of stress cause high periods of anxiety, and it's no different for your perfect pooch. Factors that are inducing stress, like separation, loud noises, and changes in your dog's environment, may also cause hyperactivity.

Observe whether your dog has been exposed to a higher-than-usual level of stress recently. If they have, it's time to have a think about what you can do to change this.

Educate your dog to improve behavior

Well-educated and well-trained dogs will be happier, less hyperactive, and will display less antisocial behavior like mounting or excessive barking. As a result, it is extremely important to get your dog trained and educated young.

Does that sound familiar? Well, it might, because humans also need to be trained thoroughly and early. They also need to be socialized. Treat your doggo with respect, make sure that it doesn't feel insecure, and create a predictable life.

Illnesses and malnutrition causes distress in dogs

If your dog is displaying hyperactive tendencies, or seems overly stimulated, you should also take a look at its diet. We don't give health advice here at TAG24, so it's best to get your dog examined by the veterinarian if you are concerned.

There are many factors that will influence a dog's behavior.
There are many factors that will influence a dog's behavior.  © 123rf / Kseniyaresphoto

How to calm down a hyper dog

So, now that you have determined the cause of your dog's hyperactivity or anxiety, it's time to find a way to calm it down. If you are concerned for your dog's health, it should be taken to the veterinarian, but when it's freakin' out? Yeah, you're going to need something a little more immediately actionable.

Think about when these moments of hyperactivity, fear, or anxiety come up, and choose one of these solutions.

Attention: Make sure that you never punish your dog for being overly hyperactive or anxious. This will damage your relationship with the animal and simply worsen the behavior.

Calming dog routines

Dogs need a routine, and clear boundaries, to feel safe and happy. It's extremely important, and helps to keep them calm and maintain a good relationship. So let's take a look at a few good routines.

Here are some routines to try out with your doggo:

  • After you have finished a walk, plop your little friend down on the mat outside the front door. This gives your dog a little bit of time to calm down, go to the loo, and get used to being back home.
  • Put your pup in its basket whenever people are eating. This way, your dog knows when it will get rest, and won't develop the habit of coming and sitting by the table.
  • Always make your dog sit before it eats, to instill a little bit of politeness. Manners matter.
  • Go for a walk every day, at roughly the same time.
  • Give your doggo regular meals at the same time every day.

Don't be a donut: If your dog is having an anxiety attack, or has suddenly become rather hyper, don't start feeding it. You don't want to create an association between bad behavior and a reward.

How to calm down a dog with rest breaks

Dogs don't just need exercise, even if things like agility training are excellent for getting rid of that excess energy. Sometimes they need a bit of a break. Make sure that your doggo gets plenty of rest, is allowed to sleep uninterrupted when needed, and has down-time built into its routine and schedule.

Keep a dog calm with play and movement

It's important to fill those routines we discussed earlier with some games and hobbies. Whether those are some fun Frisbee or some fabulous fetch, it doesn't really matter. Do some clicker training, let your pooch off the harness for a little while, and enjoy.

What's important is to give your dog some movement. Having it run around, fetching things or chasing squirrels, will not only exercise its body but also its mind. This is incredibly important for burning energy and keeping your doggo more docile than a dope.

If you want to keep your dog calm, keep it active and well-exercised.
If you want to keep your dog calm, keep it active and well-exercised.  © Unsplash / C Perret

How to calm dogs during storms and in the car: Severe anxiety treatment

If your four-legged friend is becoming truly distressed or truly excited, then more active treatment may be necessary. Remember to stay calm yourself!

Here's how to keep your dog calm during intense stress:

Step 1: Stay as calm as you can and get the attention of your doggo. Give it a treat (if it isn't misbehaving and is just scared) or walk up to it carefully, giving it a little pat.

Step 2: Once you have the attention of your dog, give it plenty of pats and hugs, and allow it to relax a little bit. Reassure it, and reward it for calming down a bit.

Step 3: Stay nearby and have your dog stay in its sleeping basket. Make sure to keep in-sight and speak to it in soft, calming tones.

Keep calm to keep your dog calm

Dog owners need to recognize the cause of their dog's bizarre behavior because, ultimately, you can't really solve a problem if you don't understand it. If you're unsure, though, don't forget that the vet can give you a helping hand.

The most important thing, though, is to stay calm and treat your dog with love and respect. If you want to calm your pet down, you need to be calm as well.

Cover photo: Unsplash / Joséphine Menge

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