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How To Calm A Hyper Dog

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When owners ask about controlling the hyper dog in their life, there are a few questions I immediately think of to ask that owner.

If you were living with a hyper dog and had called asking what to do, I would ask you to answer the following questions:

1. What does hyper dog mean to you?
2. Exactly what is your dog doing when you decide he is a hyper dog?
3. What else is going on (if anything) that causes your dog to become hyper? And finally,
4. What do you or other family members do when your dog becomes hyper?

These questions begin to give me a good idea of what’s going on with the dog. You could ask yourself these same questions and by self-diagnosing you might uncover something that was right in front of you that you never realized – like the kids are getting the dog “amped up!”

Let’s look at the questions

What does a hyper dog mean to you? You’d be surprised the answers I get! Some define hyper as just jumping while others give a detailed description of all the things of theirs the dog steals for attention by playing keep-away. Yet new puppy owners describe the “puppy crazies” (running circles throughout the house) that happens every evening at 6:30 – 7:00. So hyper has different meanings to each owner.

Jim Burwell: Why Does My Dog Lick Furniture?

Exactly what is your dog doing when you decide he’s a hyper dog? Getting a list of all the behaviors the dog does will begin to shape the exercises you will need to do in order to fix your dog problem. So the solution would be to ask yourself, “What would I prefer my dog do instead of the hyper activity?”

What else is going on and what do you or other family members do when your dog becomes hyper? Are you feeding the frenzy? Or, do you become proactive? The answer to this question can help you weed out family or environmental distractions. For example, tame and train the kids if they have been instigators. Perhaps the family cat is part of the problem and provokes the dog into a chase game creating hyperactivity.

Get er done!

Just take a very logical approach and list the bad behaviors, what causes them and what you would prefer your dog do instead.

If jumping on house guests is on your bad dog behavior list, teach your dog to sit instead of jump. You have to practice every day doing set ups so that you are ready for the real house guests – with your dog on leash! That’s the way it’s done. No whispering needed – just good old fashioned work. Training your family dog on leash in the house sends a powerful message – you are in charge and can reinforce commands you give your dog. He cannot leave the classroom – until the bell rings!

If it sounds too simple that’s because it is simple. The difficult part is setting aside consistent time to obedience train and work the exercises every day to get the results you want.

Diet and exercise will be part of your success

In addition to working your game plan – teaching your dog good behavior, making sure he is eating high quality dog food – grain free or with good carbohydrates will affect your dog’s success. Remember, cheap carbohydrates turn immediately to sugar and increases excitability and hyperactivity. You don’t want that, right? Feed good food.

Exercise your dog appropriately with 20-30 minute walks twice daily if possible. It’s a great way to help him better manage his energy – I promise. Rotate dog parks and even possibly day camp facilities to keep things interesting and your dog well socialized to new dogs. He’s burning major energy while there.

The bottom line

For the most part, bad dog behavior can be replaced with good dog behavior if you train your dog. He really is looking for direction—be his compass. He’ll make you proud!

Jim Burwell is an acknowledged expert in dog behavior, dog training and puppy training.  His career spans close to 30 years in Houston and he has had the privilege to serve over 8500 clients and help more than 20,000 dogs.  Jim's website, http://www.petiquettedog.com,  has a vast amount of information for dog and puppy owners to read and put into action.  He is also a mentor to dog trainers who are looking to become better trainers and grow their business.   Jim is a member of IACP and APDT.
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