You’re probably going to have to learn how to calm down a puppy from time to time. Puppies are like children in a lot of ways. They can get the “zoomies” seemingly out of nowhere. Calming down a high-energy puppy isn’t hard, but it will take some effort and time.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when your new family member exhibits behaviors you don’t like because they have way too much energy. Calm behavior may seem like a pipe dream when you’re watching your pup run and run… and run. But it’s not. Put these tips to use, and you’ll find your puppy will start to settle down much sooner than you thought possible.
Don’t Make Things More Exciting For Your Pup
When puppies start acting hyper, the natural tendency for many pet parents is to get excited themselves. The problem is that giving a high-energy pup a lot of attention might make them even more excited and energetic. When your pup starts to get out of control, stay neutral. Don’t feed into that energy.1
If your pup is too hyperactive, consider putting them in their playpen or crate when they start to zoom around. This might help to calm them quickly. You could also put their energy to use by performing training activities, such as leash training.2
Tire Your Puppy Out
Calming down a high-energy puppy could also mean getting them so active that they get tired. You could take them for a walk around the neighborhood or just to the backyard for some outside time and a game of fetch. All dogs, whether they’re puppies or they’re at the adult stage, need physical exercise. A nice, brisk walk will go a long way toward wearing them out to the point they want nothing more than a good snooze.3
Just remember that when you play with your pup, don’t be too rough. If your puppy thinks rough play is okay, that could become an issue as your dog grows up. They might become too exuberant, or even aggressive, and hurt you, another person, or another animal as a result.4
Stay Calm When Trying To Settle Your Puppy Down
As with all interactions between you and your puppy, you’ll have to compose yourself at times where your puppy has an excessive amount of energy. Puppies take a lot of cues from their pet parents. If you’re excited, your puppy will pick up on that, getting even more excited as a result. Shouting at them will just get them more worked up.5
It can be frustrating having to deal with an overly-energized puppy. But a calm, quiet approach will be a lot more effective than making a lot of noise.6
A Good Rub Down Can Go A Long Way
Puppies react much better to positive reinforcement than yelling or punishment – and a good puppy massage is probably one of the most effective ways to provide that reinforcement. When you’re ready for your pup to calm down, gently massage their neck muscles, and then work down toward the rest of their body. This may help ease any tension they’re experiencing, and might just get them to take a nap.7
Potential Reasons Your Pup Is Restless
A lot of puppies are simply hyper at times – that’s just the way it is. But there could also be some addressable issues that could be causing that excessive energy. Here are just a few possibilities.
Is Your Puppy Playing Enough?
Are you gone from home for large portions of the day because of work? If so, you may keep your puppy in a crate. There’s a good chance your pup is sleeping most of that time, so it’s only natural they’re going to have a lot of energy when you get home.
You could help your pup expend that energy by playing with them inside or in the yard. If your dog is old enough, take them to a dog park, so they can run around and learn how to interact with other dogs. Your vet will be able to tell you how many months old your puppy should be before you pursue that option.
If your young dog isn’t quite old enough to head to the park, you could teach them how to play a game, such as fetch or catching a frisbee, in the backyard.8
Just like a human child, puppies can get overly energized if they eat food or treats that have too much sugar in them. Opt for sugar-free treats. Also, refrain from giving your puppy human food. Even foods you don’t consider packed with sugar, such as sausage or turkey, may have much more of this stimulant than you think – especially if they have ketchup or honey on them.9
If your puppy is experiencing anxiety, including separation anxiety, they might become too hyper at times. They might also act out by exhibiting destructive behaviors, such as tearing up your shoes or chewing on furniture. If your pup acts aggressive when your friends come over, or shows fear for no apparent reason, talk to your vet to see if you can find the root cause of the problem.10
Common Signs Of Anxiety In Dogs
Since anxiety could play a role in your puppy being so hyper, it’s important that you know the signs.
- Growling – This is an obvious indication that your puppy is stressed or feels threatened. Growling is a warning, telling you that something isn’t right. Say, for example, your dog is growling while eating. That could mean they’re warning another dog, your cat, or someone else that they’re too close. Try to give them enough space to finish their meal in peace.
- Barking – Does your puppy seem to bark or whine a lot? This might mean they’re trying to tell you they’re anxious about something.
- Pacing – A little bit of pacing isn’t really abnormal, especially at mealtime. But if your puppy paces a lot, that could be a sign of an issue. Take them to the vet to get them checked out.11
Certain Breeds Have More Energy Than Others
There’s a chance your puppy’s breed could play a role in their excess energy. That’s because certain breeds are naturally more energetic. Border collies, for example, are full of energy because they’re bred to herd sheep for hours at a time. It’s hard for them to “turn off the switch,” so to speak.12
Other active dog breeds that might have more energy include:
- Labrador retrievers
- Golden retrievers
- Australian shepherds
- \Jack Russell terriers
- German shepherds
- Bernese mountain dogs
- Standard poodles
- English springer spaniels13,14
Tip: If you can’t be home with your energetic puppy all day, consider enrolling them in doggie daycare. That way, they can play to their heart’s content. Once they get back home, they might still be a little hyper – but that shouldn’t last too long.
Still Have An Overly-Energized Pup?
If you feel you’ve tried everything and you’re still having problems figuring out how to calm down a puppy, get in touch with your vet. They may be able to give you other suggestions, and they might recommend an expert who specializes in obedience training and dog behavior.