If you’ve lived with a dog, especially a young one, for any stretch of time, you know that they get hyper from time to time. When a dog has high energy, it typically means that one or more of his physical, mental, or social needs haven’t been met. To keep your dog happy and relaxed, he needs to get enough physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction (with people, other pets, or both) on a regular basis. How much your pet needs of each will vary; an old dog is generally content to be lazier than a young dog, and some dog breeds need a lot more physical exercise than others. Regardless, you’re here because you have a hyper dog, so let’s review the different ways you can help calm him down.
Depending on the type of exercise, you might meet all three of your dog’s needs with one activity. A trip to the dog park gives your dog access to canine friends (social), lots of smells (mental), and space to run around (physical). Taking him for a jog will provide physical exercise but may not be enough mental or social stimulation. Either way, when your dog is energetic, exercise is always a good place to start.
You can teach an old dog new tricks, and training is a great way to exercise your dog’s brain (mental) and spend time together (social). Training activities like agility courses will also give your dog physical exercise. You may be surprised to find that spending some time teaching your dog something new can quickly exhaust him, without even having to step foot outside.
Certain dog breeds were bred to be working dogs, performing tasks such as herding livestock, catching rodents, or retrieving birds. These breeds benefit from having a job to do, and without the opportunity to put their natural abilities to work, they’ll need another outlet for mental stimulation. This means giving your dog a challenge that he is tasked to solve. Many puzzle toys fit the bill because they give you a place to hide or lock in a treat and it’s your dog’s job to figure out how to release the treat.
Perhaps your dog is restless due to an underlying medical condition. If his behavior seems odd or unusual, it’s not a bad idea to get a vet check.
It’s important to maintain a routine in which your dog gets regular physical exercise as well as mental and social stimulation. As he adapts to a schedule, your dog will be less likely to get hyper at unexpected times of the day. However, if your dog continues to display high energy, that’s a sign that he’s not getting enough stimulation in one or more of the three key areas.