Are you having trouble managing an overexcited puppy that is full of energy and likes to run around your house, jumping on you and your visitors, dashing out of the door, barking nonstop and peeing around?
To calm an overexcited puppy, you would have to work on eliminating what is arousing his excitement and making him associate his excitement with negative experiences (such as not getting your attention). Working on ways to get your puppy to release his energy will make him calm down and be less energetic.
If you are in this situation, I have some solutions that will work for you. It’s important to know why your puppy is overexcited in order to adopt the right solution to eliminate the stimuli that trigger his excitement.
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Why Is Your Puppy Overexcited?
What are the events that have happened before your puppy gets over excited?
Maybe he saw you coming back from work, he heard a doorbell ringing, you have a visitor, there is a delivery man outside, he saw another dog outside the window?
Understanding the factors that lead to your puppy excitement is certainly going to be your first step in addressing his excitement behavior.
He could be naturally excited and energetic as the result of his personality (for example, herding breed tends to be of high energy and playful pup) or as a result of self-induced bad habits.
How Do You Handle And Calm Your Puppy?
Exercise (An Old Trick That Never Fails)
Have you ever heard of the phrase “A tired puppy is a good puppy”. This approach never fails any dog owners when they need some “peace” from their hyperactive or excited dog.
This is why you should always plan for some workout time for your puppy daily to help him release his energy.
Depending on the breed and age of your puppy, the exercise duration and the intensity of the workout should be adjusted accordingly.
As a rule of thumb, one month of age will be 5 minutes of exercise time, up to twice per day.
So if your puppy is 3 months old, you should plan for at least 15 minutes of exercise time (up to twice a day).
Do ensure that your puppy drinks sufficient water to prevent him from getting dehydrated after the exercise.
When he is feeling thirsty and not getting any water, he might resort to drinking his urine to quench his thirst!
There are of course certain physical games that are not suitable for young puppies as their joints and muscles are still developing.
I would suggest avoiding any physical games that involve much pulling or jumping such as tug of war or flirt pole to reduce the likelihood of any injury.
Personally, I like to play “find the treats” game, chasing after bubbles and Frisbee games with my puppy to help him let off his energy.
Apart from physical exercise, mental workout can greatly help to make your puppy tired.
Did you find yourself tired after a day of learning new stuff? That is why it is important that you include some brain exercise such as a puzzle game or toy stuffed with treats to make your puppy utilize his brain power!
I would often like to include some obedient training as part of the mental exercise. This training not only makes my puppy learn to behave himself and also makes him use his brain power to execute the commands.
An essential command that you cannot afford to miss. This command is going to save your day when your puppy gets excited and shows his excitement by jumping on you or attempting to dash out of the door.
To teach your puppy this “Sit” command, what you need would be a high value treat.
I would usually consider a high value treat as one that is made of real meat, not those frozen kibble.
This is how I train my puppy on the “Sit” command:
1. Get a quiet location with minimum distraction. I will usually do the training in my bedroom.
2. Hold a high value treat and bring it slightly above his nose to lure him into sitting position.
3. As soon as I see his butt touching the floor, I will give him the treat.
4. Keep repeating this step for a few rounds till he gets really comfortable sitting on the floor to get his treat.
5. Next will be to train him to go to the sit position the moment he sees the treat without having to place the treat near to his nose.
6. Bring out the treat and hold it in your hand while waiting for him to go into the sit position.
7. The moment he goes into the sit position, I will say the command “Sit” and give him the treat.
8. Keep repeating this step to get him to associate the command “Sit” with positive rewarding experience.
Put the “Sit” command into practice
This is how I will do it.
1. Go to the door and press the doorbell.
2. My puppy will get excited and run to the door barking away.
3. I will say the “Sit” command and reward him with the treat if he obediently follows my instruction.
4. In case he doesn’t, I will hold the treat in my hand to lure him to pay attention to me and say the “Sit” command again.
This will usually work for my puppy. As long as I manage to get his attention, he would not be able to resist the temptation of the tasty treat.
That is why I will always go for a high value treat if I want my puppy to pay attention to me when he is hyperactive or excited. My treat has to be more rewarding than his stimuli.
Do Not Encourage His Excitement
If you have the habit of giving your puppy your attention the moment he exhibits excitement, STOP doing this now!
Puppies often get excited when they see things that arouse them. It could be as simple as your puppy sees you at the doorstep and the moment you open the door, your puppy jumps on you persistently and gets extremely excited.
And if you respond to his “jumping” behavior, you are in fact telling him “Yes, that’s my good boy!” and he is going to keep repeating this behavior.
What you should do is to ignore him completely to let him know that this is not the right way to get your attention.
If he is to remain calm, he will get your affection.
For the case of the “jumping on you”, what you should do is to turn your back facing your puppy the moment he jumps on you.
This will show him that you are NOT at all happy and excited with his action, and he is not going to get your attention.
You see, the idea is to associate what he feels as exciting with negative experience and this will make him refrain from doing this behavior or action again as he knows that he is not being rewarded from doing that!
Did you ever observe that when you are showing signs of frustration, your puppy will behave “badly”?
Your puppy is good at observing your emotions and body language. If you get nervous, anxious or excited, your puppy will react to your state and behave in the same manner.
So it is important that you keep calm and speak to your puppy in a calm and slow tone. As for your body language, restrict yourself from any “big” movement such as chasing after your puppy.
When your puppy sees that you are chasing after him, he will certainly get even more aroused and would think that this is the right behavior for him.
No Verbal Or Physical Punishment
Any form of punishment, be it verbally or physically is a “No-No”. You see, punishing your puppy is not going to help the situation and could in fact aggravate his excitement.
Your puppy is not going to understand why you are punishing him and could think that you are “encouraging” his behavior as he is getting a response from you.
Pick Him Up and Hold Him
Have you ever seen this scenario where a dog owner picks up his puppy and holds him in his arms when his puppy shows signs of excitement and wants to approach another dog in the park.
The moment the puppy is in his arms, he quiets down.
This is often an overlooked approach that you can do to calm down your overexcited puppy.
Give this a try if you are out in the park and your puppy starts getting excited as the result of distractions around him, pick him up and hold him in your arms.
Structure Your Puppy Life
If your puppy life is not structure, he will be free to do what he likes.
As the owner of your puppy, you should plan for his routine schedule which includes when and where he should have his meal, playtime and sleeping area. This will help your puppy to know the type of routine that you have planned for him.
A fixed routine is going to make your puppy less excited as he already knows what are the upcoming events for the day and it would be basically the same for each day.