There are plenty of stereotypes surrounding dogs and their excitement levels. Let’s face it, your four-legged friend is always going to be happy to see you after a long day. They might get overly-excited about their favorite toy or a trip to the park.
But, that excitement isn’t always necessary and it isn’t always good. Overly-excited dogs could cause problems if they jump on people, scare people, or if their excitement starts to turn into something like separation anxiety when they’re home alone. They might even be so high-strung that they get bored easily when you’re gone and start to develop destructive behaviors.
So, what can you do to calm down your canine companion quickly? Let’s look at a few helpful tips.
Let Them Rest
Letting your dog know that they can rest until it’s time for them to be involved in something can make a big difference in how hyper they are. This is something that should be instilled in your dog from a very young age.
Dogs often bark and get extremely excited because they feel the need to be hyper. That can sometimes be a sign that they think they have to be involved in everything in order to be safe.
Establish a secure place for them to rest right away. You might even consider using a calming dog bed to give them a sense of security. When your dog understands the baseline of resting at home and cues from you to let them know when they can be involved, they’re less likely to develop overly-hyper behaviors.
Do what you can to create a restful environment, in general. If your dog tends to be on the energetic side, focus on having a quiet, peaceful home as often as you can.
Don’t Make Eye Contact
Eye contact and direct attention are both big deals for a dog. Looking at a dog directly in the eye can mean a few different things. But, above all, it shows them that they have your attention and they may feel the need to “perform” or do something for you.
By avoiding eye contact and staying quiet, especially if you see your dog starting to get riled up, you’re letting them know that they should be comfortable enough to rest. You don’t need them for anything, and they should be calm. So, whether you’re sitting on the couch and your dog starts looking at you or they look up at you when you get home, expecting your attention and affection, try to avoid eye contact. This lets them know they can relax, and their actions will showcase that.
Don’t Give Them Attention When You Walk In
One of the biggest problems people with hyper dogs face is jumping. It can seem sweet, at first, to have your dog jump up on you when you get home from work. But, if you have a big dog, or your dog has clawed at your clothes more than once, it loses its appeal. Plus, you don’t want to risk your dog jumping up on a friend or family member if they come over.
Thankfully, calming them down and getting them to stop jumping doesn’t have to be difficult.
When you walk in, don’t make direct eye contact with your dog. Don’t give them any attention, and step in quietly and fluidly. Walk past them, and only give them attention when they have given up on the negative behavior and are sitting or standing calmly.
This shows them that they aren’t going to get the “reward” they want (your attention) by trying to demand it. Remember, you are the leader in your little “pack”. Don’t let them demand anything from you.
Understand Their Triggers
Anywhere from 20-40% of dogs deal with some form of anxiety. If your dog has something like separation anxiety, there are different tips and techniques you can try to work with them. Other forms of anxiety may not so easy.
But, one of the best things you can do is to try to understand your dog’s triggers. Much like humans with anxiety, dogs can have triggers that make their anxiety feel worse. As a result, it can cause their symptoms to flare up. For some dogs, that might manifest as fear. For others, they may act out with negative behaviors.
Your dog’s triggers could be anything from loud noises to other animals. Understanding more about what makes them anxious can make it easier to avoid those triggers and keep them calm.
Believe it or not, you may be playing a large role in your dog’s over-excitement.
Dogs want to please their owners. They are genuinely excited and happy to be around you. Sometimes, however, that excitement can go too far. In those situations, one of the best things you can do is remove yourself from the situation. You may need to step out of the room. Shut the door. Separate yourself for a few minutes until your dog is calm. Then, re-enter. If they get hyper again, do the same thing.
It’s a long training process, but one that is necessary and very worth it when it comes to keeping your dog’s behavior in check.
Why is Your Dog Hyper?
While keeping these ideas in mind to calm down your dog is important, it’s also a good idea to try to understand why your dog might have trouble being calm. It’s usually due to:
The more in-tune you are with your dog, the easier it will be to understand where their “excitement” is coming from. When you think you’ve pinpointed the reason, you can focus more on ways to remedy it so you can train your dog more effectively.
Dogs that are overly-excited or “hyper” don’t need to be punished. You also don’t need to assume that they are just naturally a more energetic breed. There’s a difference between excitement and excessiveness. So, make sure to train your dog with these tips. Not only will they feel safer and more secure, but you’ll feel better coming into your home, and having others over, too.