A dog that is jumping up and down, barking or spinning around is not a happy dog. He is an over-excited dog. The dog has too much built up energy, and the only way he can expel that energy is to work it off physically and/or mentally.
Unfortunately, a lot of people often see these signs as happiness. They think that it’s cute when a dog acts like a wild maniac. Many unknowingly encourage the behavior. Control your dog's excitement and you'll be able to prevent a great deal of bad behaviors in the future, including aggression.
An excited dog is not a happy dog. A calm dog is. Here are six steps to help you take your dog from being over-excited to being calm, submissive, and well-behaved.
1) DO NOT REWARD EXCITEMENT - The worst thing you can do is give affection or attention to an excited dog. This is just telling him that you like what he is doing. He’ll learn that being excited gets a reward, so he’ll keep doing it.
The best way to react to an excited dog is to ignore him. Do not use your hands. Do not use your mouth. Do not use your eyes. Don’t touch him. Don’t talk to him. Don’t give him any eye contact. If he jumps on you, move forward or stand still. Remember, you’re ignoring the state of mind the dog is in, not the dog.
2) REWARD A CALM STATE OF MIND - Once your dog is in a calm and relaxed state, then you can give him all affection and attention you want. Doing this will reinforce a calm state of mind. A reward can be a treat, a toy, playing, food, whatever you want.
By doing the about 2 steps, you will help your dog to naturally and instinctively move into a calmer state of mind.
3) WORK YOUR DOG – A tired dog is a good dog. That’s why the walk is so important. It provides mental and physical stimulation which helps drain your dog’s excess energy.
Letting your dog out in the yard to run around or throwing the ball, is work. It’s play. Often, these types of activities can make the dog more excited. The purpose of the walk is not just so your dog can do his business. It’s meant to stimulate the brain and the body of the dog. It mimics the way the pack goes on a mission together to find food, water and shelter. This helps your dog stay connected to his primal instincts, stay focused on his job, and therefore drain his excess energy.
Returning home, which is where the food, water, and shelter are, becomes the reward for the work and effort. By bringing your dog home after having his excess energy drained through the work, he will associate the feeling of calmness with this reward.
4) ADDITIONAL OUTLET – Work hard, play hard. This is when playtime comes in. Things like playing fetch, having your dog search for a hidden treat, or running around the yard are all good ways to drain even more energy.
The key here is that you control the length and intensity of playtime. If your dog is getting too excited, then the game stops. Once he is calm, the game resumes. Rewarding calm behavior tells your dog, “When I settle down I get to play. If I get too crazy, the game stops.”
5) THE NOSE - Since a dog’s primary sense organ is his nose, using his sense of smell can have a calming effect on him. Scents like lavender and vanilla can help calm your dog down if you associate them with times when the dog is already in a calm and relaxed state of mind. Like having one of those scents near his bed.
6) YOU HAVE TO BE CALM – The most important thing to remember is that your dog cannot be calm if you’re not calm. You need to check your own energy.
If you’re screaming at your dog in order to correct an unwanted behavior, then you’re contributing to your dog’s excitement. An effective leader can control the pack with nothing but his/her energy and body language.
If your dog is high-energy and excitable, it can take a while to see results with these techniques. But as long as you are consistent in using them and don’t give up, you will see consistent progress. Consistency is the key to success. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection.
If you continue to have problems, let me know if I can help.
Always remember: BP4 – Be: Patient, Positive, Peaceful & Persistent
www.packmantotherescue.com / 201-937-6123