Dogs can be hyper for a lot of different reasons. More common than not, pet parents think that their dog is hyperactive, but in reality it's possible that their dog’s physical, mental, and social needs aren’t being met on a regular basis. That is not to say that some dogs are not behaviorally or medically hyperactive, but it is actually rarer than you think!
Does the dog breed matter?
When you are ready to add a furry family member into your family, it is important to understand the breed of dog you are looking for. Some dog breeds are more prone to have higher energy such as:
- Border Collie: One of the most popular working breeds, this breed requires both mental and physical exercise to stay happy and healthy.
- Siberian Husky: Another working breed, they are bred to run long distances. They make great family members as long as they get enough physical stimulation; otherwise they are prone to destructive behavior and escaping backyards.
- Australian Shepherd: This herding breed is still used to work stock on ranches and farms and is bred to maintain the energy necessary so they definitely need regular exercise.
- Labrador Retriever: Even though they are one of the best family companion breeds out there, they do require regular exercise. They love to get outdoors and they need that exercise to remain an acceptable house guest. Labs can become destructive when bored and under-exercised.
- Jack Russell Terrier: They are full of energy and excel at many dog sports, as well as hunting.
- Dalmatian: Back in the day, they were originally used to pull carriages–even today, the breed remains one of the most energetic. They are wonderful family members as long as they get the right amount of exercise.
- Labradoodle: Labs and Poodles are both relatively high energy dog breeds. When you put them together, you get a great family companion that’s also really excitable. They need adequate exercise and training to keep them mentally and physically healthy and tired.
- Visla: These Hungarian hunting dogs are bred to be energetic and always ready to go. They do well with daily rigorous exercise and challenging training to keep both their minds and bodies busy and worn out.
- Weimaraner: They are another hunting breed that are bred to have sufficient energy. It is an intelligent breed that needs a good amount of exercise to keep from getting bored and restless
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier: This breed too requires adequate exercise to stay happy and healthy.
What’s the difference between a high-energy dog vs. a dog with hyperactivity?
High energy dogs naturally needs more exercise. When they are not receiving enough physical or mental exercise, it can create some issues for both you and your dog. Here are a few signs that your dog is not getting enough exercise:
- Racing or pacing through the house
- Rough play and excited nipping or biting
- Digging, scratching or destructive chewing
- Barking and whining for attention
- Pestering or annoying behavior
- Sluggishness or depression
So what does hyperactivity look like? Hyperactivity (a.k.a “hyperkinesis”), can be defined as dogs who display frenzied or frantic energy, abnormally short attention spans, and high impulsiveness. Dogs with hyperactivity can also show overbearing attention-seeking behavior. They actually called it Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder (ADHD) for dogs.
What can I do for my high-energy dog?
One of the most obvious things to do is make sure your dog is getting daily exercise. The amount of exercise sufficient for your dog will depend on a few different things such as their breed, age, etc,. There are many different resources for you to find what exercise will suit your dog, but you can find a few ideas here. If your dog is suffering from joint issues that prevent them from lots of exercise, you can try a few things to help, such as low-impact exercise and getting them on a good joint supplement!
Mental exercise is another great way to wear out your dog that doesn’t require an all-day commitment or a national park-sized yard. Something as simple as a shaping game with the clicker (shaping involves breaking down a desired behavior into its incremental parts), which encourages your dog to think creatively and try new things, or teaching him a new trick will require your dog to focus and work through frustration. You can also try games that incorporate nose work, like “find it,” which forces a dog to tap into his senses in a new and challenging way or find a treat dispensing puzzle game that makes your dog work for his food will turn meal times into brain-teaser times. Lastly, we highly recommend our Wrapped Antler Chews. Your dog will have to work to get the bully stick off the antler chew and then they can start chewing on the antler itself. Also, when your dog chews, it releases endorphins, which has a comforting and calming affect for your dog.
Other things you can do are increase socialization and reward them for calm behavior.
What can I do for my hyperactive dog?
Basically, you will want to try everything above, but more in depth and it may be a little trickier. Make sure to stay consistent with your dog’s physical and mental exercise, rewarding for calm behavior, and training. One training process that has been shown to be effective is clicker training. You can read more about it on AKC’s website. Once you have established routine with your hyperactive dog and you still aren’t seeing the progress you would like, it may be time to talk to your vet and a professional trainer. They will have tips and tricks specific to your pooch to help their hyperactivity.
Another thing you may want to look into is adding in a calming supplement to your dog’s regimen such as lavender, melatonin, L-theanine, or even CBD.
Living with a hyper dog can sometimes be a daunting task, but once you establish a routine that works for you and your pup, it can become more manageable.
Just like all humans are different, each and every dog is different. They have different needs, personalities, and more. But one thing they all have in common is their unconditional love for their family and how much life they bring to those around them. They are worth the extra time, effort, patience, and love.