Hyperactivity In Dogs: Why It Happens
Any dog may exhibit hyperactive behavior due to a variety of reasons. Cockapoos, a mix of two breeds prone to hyperactivity, can become especially difficult to control when this happens. It can be cute at certain times and horribly annoying at others.
Why does it happen? Well, setting aside all obvious causes (the excitement of seeing someone they haven’t seen in a few days, or the thrill of knowing he is about to play at the dog park, for instance) it may simply be a case of your dog being bored. He may have plenty of energy, yet he may lack mental and physical stimulation. Consider your dogs daily pattern and assess the following methods of counteracting your dogs hyperactivity, introducing calmness to your pets behavior.
Take A Walk
Most dog owners make regular walks with their dog a part of their routine. However, if your dog shows signs of hyperactivity, he may require more exercise than other dogs. Extend your walks or walk faster if possible, and make sure you include regular trips to wide open spaces like parks where games of fetch can be included. Having your dog run off his excess energy by chasing a ball, may be just the release he needs to ensure that he is calm and contented when at home.
Tasks & Distractions
Dogs require mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Giving your dog a particular task to accomplish will occupy his mind as well as his body. For example, purchase a custom dog backpack and have your dog carry a little extra weight around with him during the day. Obviously, do not overload or overheat your dog, but give him sufficient weight to carry so that he has to concentrate on what he is doing. In this way, his energy will be directed away from hyperactive jumping, barking and chasing squirrels, and instead he will be focusing on his additional load.
There are also “puzzle” toys, where your dog has to think and work to get a healthy treat. These can help occupy your dog’s mind when he is bored, and lessen his hyperactive behavior.
We cannot stress the importance of obedience training your dog enough. Follow our free cockapoo obedience training guide and get this done, if you haven’t already. If you have, that’s great! However, we recommend doing it again occasionally to reinforce what your clever pooch has learned. This is important for the mental well-being of you and your dog, as well as his physical safety. A well-trained pup is going to be easier to control during episodes of hyperactive behavior, as well.
Ignore Certain Behaviors
As with many dog behaviors, if you respond to your dog when he hyperactively seeks your attention, you may be reinforcing the behavior as though it is acceptable. Instead, ignoring the behavior may help to minimize the importance of it. Try ignoring your dog when he jumps up or barks at you. Do not respond to him by making eye contact, do not talk to him or touch him. In some cases, your dog may realize that his actions are not going to produce the desired result of attention from you, and he may settle down. This is sort of a mini-version of the popular Nothing In Life Is Free method I have discussed in an earlier post.
If your dog has serious jumping up issues, and ignoring him does not work, try the suggestions in our “Jumping Cockapoos, Batman!” article. These are tried and true techniques that have helped many cockapoo owners minimize jumping behavior.
Your Energy Affects Your Cockapoo’s Energy
Many dogs will imitate the behavior of their owners. Consider whether you yourself are showing signs of nervous anxiety, stress or worry. It could be that you are projecting your emotions in your body language and tone of voice, and that your dog is responding to you. Be aware of your energy levels, and attempt to project the confidence of a stoic, strong pack leader, so that your dog will feel comfortable with his place in the family as your subordinate.
Dogs have very sensitive noses, so soothing scents may be used to help to calm your dogs behavior. We have experienced some success using pheromone collars, but the science is still out on whether the pheromones work or dogs just enjoy the scent. There are several choices out there, but the DAP Collar is currently the most popular. There are also sprays and other scented items that may have an effect.
If you have questions or concerns, seek advice and assistance from your veterinarian or another suitably qualified professional, who may be able to guide you in your use of smells as a calming influence over your dogs behavior.
Do you have a special method of calming down your dog? We have heard all sorts of things, from Beethoven on CD, a colorful TV show, a ticking clock, a simple coat brushing, or even a doggy massage. Let us know what works for you in the comment section below, or give us a shout on our Facebook Page.