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Is Your Dog Bouncing Off Walls?


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08/20/2008

High energy dogs can get revved up and sometimes they just can't stop. This behavior might include jumping repeatedly, racing around at top speed in circles or back and forth. Dogs that seem incapable of stopping themselves need help. There is usually a reason for this kind of behavior, and it is dangerous. In fact, many people have mourned the death of an over anxious pet, and the last thing anyone wants is to have to buy is a pet urn when it could have been prevented.

dog memorialWhen a grown dog gets too excited, it is usually an indicator that he just has too much pent up energy and needs to burn it out. Let your dog run around for 10 or so minutes. Following are some steps to take to determine if the problem can be solved.

1. Always remember to reinforce positive behaviors. Some dog breeds need to work out some excess energy so it is important to take long walks with them, play ball or toss a stick.
2. Teach commands to bring your dog to a halt. Sit and sit stay are commands that once learned a dog should always obey. If your dog is overly excited you may need to reinforce the commands.
3. Calm them down after playtime by handing them a treat, and hug and pet them, letting them know by your actions, that it’s time to calm down and relax.
4. Then kneel or stand next to your dog and speak in a low steady voice. Use calm words or phrases such as, whoa now, settle down now, or quiet down. Slowly lean over and hug and pet your dog, while continuing to speak softly, and then facing his side, lean over at the waist - pressing your whole body over the dog for full body contact.  Keep treats handy in your pocket.
5. If ending 'play time' for an overexcited dog is difficult, stand and turn your back to the dog, fold your arms and ignore the dog completely. Keep turning, if necessary, to keep your back to the dog if he or she keeps trying to get your attention. After several tries, this usually works well and will be understood by the dog.
6. After you dog has calmed down, reward the dog with a treat, then be sure not to re-excite them with loud sounds or lots of activity for a while.

There can be other reasons why a dog gets overly rambunctious or is out of control. It can be lack of training, too much frequent exposure to stimulation of from other pets or children, lack of personalized attention, or chronic stress.  Some practitioners even believe that hyperactivity can be related to diet, such as too much protein, while others believe that artificial preservatives or coloring in commercial foods can contribute to this behavior.

For over anxious pets, you might want to try acupuncture. This can aid in getting the dog’s attention, enhance the focus needed for training and prove to be calming.

If your dog is bouncing off walls, have him evaluated by a vet to see if there is an underlying medical condition. Hyperactivity, also known as hyperkinesis, can be the result of a medical condition characterized by frantic behavior, incessant movement resulting in exhaustion, a consistent elevated heart rate, panting, loss of weight, vomiting, and increased or loss of appetite. Other canine compulsive behaviors such as tail chasing or other repetitive self mutilation are serious conditions.

In some cases, hyperactivity leads to the death of a dog, when they accidently run into the street and are hit by a car, or simply from other related injuries. This can be very hard on a family and especially young children, so it is important to honor your dog’s life by having a  and allowing the children to remember the good things about their friend. Purchasing a pet urn, or placing a pet memorial grave marker on the dog’s grave site often allows children to share their grief and emotions during such a sad event.

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