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Why Are Some Dogs Hyper and How to Calm a Hyperactive Dog

Some owners find their dogs are too hyper, and destructive, what should they do? What causes a dog to be hyperactive, and what to do. How to calm a hyper dog. How to calm a dog that is super hyperactive. Border collie dogs are naturally active, huskies love to run, if you have either of these breeds you may just have to deal with it, but other dogs hyperactivity may be due to neglect or diet, or other problems.

Before rushing into finding ways to calm a dog that is hyper active, we first need to find the source of the dogs activity level.

What Makes Dogs Hyper?

There are many causes for what we call hyper activity in a dog. We will look at those below.

Lack of Mental Stimulation

In some cases being active may be normal behavior for the breed of dog. Some dogs are highly intelligent and bred to work and be busy. Perfect examples of this are the Border Collie and Jack Russell Terrier. Many of the dogs that were bred for herding are often mistaken for being “hyper”. When not given enough mental activity they become bored and destructive. We call this “Hyper”.

Not Enough Exercise

Exercise is important to a dogs mental well being. We mentioned above that some dog breeds require more mental stimulation, other breeds require more physical exercise. One breed this is particular true for is the Husky. These dogs are noted as a breed of dog that can, and will, run for miles, if not contained. Similarly if they are contained but not exercised enough they will show signs of being hyper.

Food Problems

Food related problems can contribute to excessive energy in a dog. This can be one of three problems. Too rich of a food – containing too many calories, too much protein, can make a dog be more active what we may think of as “hyper” but typically it will just make a dog fatter.'

Food Allergies often result in hyper, or problem, behavior. While there are many ingredients that can be allergens in dog food one that seems to be linked with behavior problems is Soy.

An other problem ingredients is food coloring, particularly the color red. Not all dog foods use food coloring, it is mostly seen in the lower quality foods where they have multi colored pieces. Food coloring may also be in some treats. As red dye has been linked to hyper activity in children, the same is often true in some dogs.

Weaned Too Young

Puppies learn social skills from their mother. Many dog breeding advocates suggest pups remain with their mother until 8 weeks of age, more for toy pups. When taken away too young, especially before 6 weeks of age, problem behaviors are not uncommon. While this is not true of every dog weaned young, some manifest the problem by exhibiting a behavior we might think of as being hyper.

Lack of Direction

Some people get dogs and simply do nothing with them. These dogs have no idea where they fit, or what they should be doing, much like a child would be without direction. This can form a behavior of hyper activity as the dog has no boundaries. This behavior due to lack of direction is heightened when combined with a smart breed of dog, or a dog breed that requires a lot of physical activity.

Dogs who are kept chained in a yard often show signs of problem behavior they have a lack of mental activity, physical activity, have lost their value as a "Pack Animal" and are frustrated, due to the lack of direction in their life. 

Sexual Energy

Dogs, particularly male dogs, who have not been fixed may be more active simply out of their hormonal desire to find a mate.

By Matthew Shalorne (personal photograph) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What to do if your dog is hyper?

Start by selecting a breed of dog that is suited to your lifestyle. If you already have a dog look into its requirements for mental, or physical activity, and step up your involvement with your dog. Many smart dogs benefit from agility classes, while may physical dogs benefit from long runs.  In other words if you have a naturally active dog YOU need to meet its needs, not try converting your dog to your lifestyle as this will result in problems.

Look at your dogs food, select a food brand that does not contain problem ingredients, such as soy and food coloring. Check the treats as well.

Doggy Day Care offers great socialization for dogs while their owners are at work. While you may not be able to afford this on a daily level, doing so twice a week can have a positive difference.

If the dog is kept on a chain in the yard, it is time to get professional help, include the dog in the family and attend basic obedience with it.

Sometimes providing a playmate can help.  As  long as the playmate is not being tormented by the more active dog.  For example a border collie might like to chase/herd a cat all day long, but this is unfair to the cat.

If all else fails visit a veterinarian to rule out any health issues in the dog.  Consider spaying, or neutering, as well if that has not been done.

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Comments (1)
Ranked #27 in Dogs

I had a big Doberman that was overly hyper. She wasn't exercised enough and neglected when she was young. Loved her, but she was high maintenance.

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