10 overtired puppy symptoms and what to do about it

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overtired puppy symptoms

Is your puppy zooming around like crazy and seemingly never gets tired? Well, the contrary might actually be the case: your puppy is probably overtired! These 10 overtired puppy symptoms can help you find out if your puppy actually needs a rest.

It’s confusing, right?

Your fur baby seems to be bursting from all that energy. That he might need a rest would probably be the last thing you’re thinking about.

However, it’s very important to understand overtired puppy symptoms. Not only is it annoying to have a dog that isn’t capable of calming down. It can actually also be dangerous for him and the people around him. This might not be super obvious while he’s small. But once your puppy becomes an adult dog, things can get much worse!

But it doesn’t have to come that far! In this article I’ve put together the 10 overtired puppy symptoms, so you can understand your puppy better. Plus, I’m also showing you how you can stop the unwanted puppy behavior, so you’ll be able to enjoy those puppy times to the fullest!

Before we get started, make sure to download your free puppy schedule planner. Dogs thrive on a schedule! And this planner will help you set up a schedule that fits your own and your puppy’s daily routine.

Get your free puppy schedule planner

Can puppies be overtired?

Let’s start with a very important question: can puppies be overtired?

Looking at zooming puppies, you would instinctively say: no, puppies never get tired!

To many people’s surprise, the opposite is the case: Puppies have a whole lot of energy for about 15 minutes (depending on their age) and then they need to rest for a long long time!

Similarly to children, puppies don’t like resting all that much, though.

Have you ever seen a toddler trying everything in order to avoid going to bed? He seems full of energy. However, you know that he should actually be really tired.

Well, puppies are baby dogs. So, they’re pretty similar to children.

An overtired puppy looks more or less like that: no signed of sleepiness...
An overtired puppy looks more or less like that: no sign of sleepiness…

Why it’s important for your puppy to rest

Now, you might think: ok, but what’s the problem? If my puppy gets overtired, then he can just sleep, right?

Well, not exactly.

Overtired puppies often get into a state of uncontrolled over excitement. It’s not only annoying when your dog is hyper all the time, it can actually also be dangerous for his health.

Here are 3 points that make it particularly important that your puppy learns to rest:

Learning to calm down

Dogs learn things best when they’re young.

Since you don’t want a dog that’s zooming around 24/7, it’s best to start teaching your puppy to calm down as soon as possible.

While an over excited puppy is still fairly easy to handle and maybe even cute, a 60 lb fully grown dog won’t be that much fun anymore!

The best way to do that is to set up a clear schedule. Dogs have a much easier time calming down if they know what to expect on a daily basis. This free puppy schedule planner will help you set up a clear daily routine and track your puppy’s success.

Get your free puppy schedule planner

Health issues

Enough sleep is not only important for your own mental health, but also for your dog’s mental and physical health.

Humans and dogs process things when they sleep. This helps to learn and pick up new things. A lack of sleep can also weaken your dog’s immune system. Plus, a dog that doesn’t sleep enough is more prone to suffer from joint or back issues because their body doesn’t have enough time to regenerate.

Speaking of vet: have you ever thought about getting pet insurance for your dog? No? Then check out my article on the question “is it worth getting pet insurance for dogs?“. Or go straight to PetAssure for a cheap alternative to get 25% off each vet visit!

Overtired puppy biting

The most common annoying overtired puppy habit is overtired puppy biting.

And it’s very important that you address it as quickly as possible!

Puppy biting might only be a little annoying or even cute. But once your puppy becomes an adult dog, biting is a real problem.

So, stop it right when it occurs, and you’ll be fine! I’ll tell you what to do about it in a minute.

Training a dog is the easiest while he’s still a puppy. There are several ways to do that. But the most cost-effective is definitely to get an online course.

I’ve spent hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars on dog training classes and private dog trainers. In most cases, that’s not necessary at all, though. You can get the exact same information in an online course.

My all time favorite course is Braintraining4dogs. It’s based on positive reinforcement and focuses on improving your dog’s intelligence so that he can basically solve his own problems.

Field Dogs 300 x 600

This is honestly the course I wish I had when I first got my dog Baloo. It contains everything you need to know to own the dog of your dreams! Make sure to check out Dogpackr’s review of the course to see if this is something that could help you and your dog too.

Btw, another common issue with puppies is excited or submissive peeing. If your puppy has that problem too, check out these 13 tips how to stop excited or submissive dog peeing.

How much sleep does a puppy need?

Dogs sleep a lot! And puppies even more so.

Puppies sleep an average of 18 to 20 hours per day. Sleeping doesn’t necessarily mean deep sleep. For part of the time, they’re just relaxing. But 20+ hours of sleeping, relaxing and doing nothing are completely normal for puppies.

This means that a puppy should only be active for 4 to 6 hours per day! This includes potty breaks, playtime, feeding time, walks etc.

The younger your puppy is, the more sleep he needs. However, not all dogs realize when it’s time for a nap. This is why it’s very important that you keep that in mind and force him to rest if necessary.

If you feel like your puppy should definitely get some more rest, make sure to check out my article on how to make your puppy sleep longer. If your puppy is around 10 weeks old, also check out my article on the question “can a 10-week-old puppy sleep through the night?

Puppies need a lot of sleep - about 18 to 20 hours per day to be exact
Puppies need a lot of sleep – about 18 to 20 hours per day to be exact

Do puppies get tired easily?

Yes and no.

The younger the puppy, the quicker he gets tired and the more he has to sleep.

At a certain age, puppies prefer action to sleeping, though.

So, they try to stay awake and tend to become hyperactive. This means that it’s often hard to tell if a puppy is tired or not.

I recommend to just stick to the rule of thumb listed under the next title to be on the safe side.

How long should I play with my puppy?

As a rule of thumb, puppies should only walk for 5 minutes per month of age. The same applies to play time.

This means that a 3-month old puppy gets tired after 15 minutes of activity and should rest again.

However, puppies are like toddlers: very few feel the need to take a nap in the middle of playtime. They’re having a blast and are all hyped up. The last thing they’re thinking about is sleep!

Some puppies literally have to be forced to rest. This is where a crate comes in handy.

If you’re interested in being active with your puppy, make sure to read these 10 things you need to know before hiking with a puppy.

Giving your puppy too much attention can actually also make them overtired
Giving your puppy too much attention can actually also make them overtired

How long should I crate my puppy?

Once your puppy is crate trained, you can put him in in there for about 80% of his sleeping time. However, it isn’t recommended to leave a puppy under 6 months in a crate for more than 3 or 4 hours. Most puppies can’t control their bladder for much longer, anyway. Every 3 or 4 hours you can take him out, do some activities and then let him rest again. If he can calm himself down, you can also let him relax outside his crate.

If he’s like my Miniature Poodle Baloo used to be, then you’ll probably have to put him in his crate for 100% of the sleeping hours for the first few months. Baloo couldn’t calm down by himself. So being in the crate was the only way to help him relax. Once he’s calming down quickly in the crate, you can slowly try to have one sleeping session in a dog bed outside his crate.

With lots of patience, you’ll eventually be able to leave the crate away all together. At some point even hyper dogs like Baloo will learn to calm down even outside their crate.

Make sure to check out the 6 best crates for dogs to sleep in to find the right crate for your puppy.

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10 Overtired puppy symptoms

Aside from the obvious overtired puppy symptoms, like yawning and lying down, here are 10 sings and symptoms that show you when your puppy needs a rest.

If you have an adult dog and you’re not sure if he’s overtired, then check out my article about the 10 signs and symptoms your dog is overtired or exhausted.

1. Biting and nibbling

As I’ve mentioned before, overtired puppy biting is one of the most frequent and most annoying signs that your puppy is overdue for a rest.

Puppies tend to be quite rough when playing with their siblings. This is why it’s very important to teach a puppy very early on that biting is not okay!

I’ve got a complete article teaching you how to stop overtired puppy biting.

2. Zoomies

Baloo still has his zoomies regularly. And it happens mostly when I have to dry him (guess that just feels icky) or when he’s overtired.

Now, puppies can’t really control their energy level. So, once they’re overtired, zoomies are almost inevitable.

In case you don’t know what zoomies are, here you go:

3. Excessive thirst

When dogs are overtired, they’re stressed. And stressed dogs are very, very thirsty.

Whenever Baloo and I are visiting friends and family, he gets quite excited, which means stressed, too. He then drinks so much that he has to go potty after 1 or 2 hours.

I only got it after he peed inside a couple of times…

4. He forgets his manners

Similar to biting, an overtired puppy will likely forget all manners ever taught. Is your puppy unable to perform the simplest commands and jumping up on you like crazy? Then he’s most likely overly tired.

Overtired puppies often seem to forget any kind of manners you ever taught them
Overtired puppies often seem to forget any kind of manners you ever taught them

5. Excessive panting

Excessive panting is another stress sign. It can also mean that your puppy is overstimulated or excited for some other reason. In any case it means he suffers from some kind of stress. A rest is a good idea, regardless the reason.

6. Excessive lip licking

The same goes for excessive lip licking.

Keep in mind that puppies can easily get overstimulated, get excited and be overtired at the same time.

This is why I recommend to force your puppy to rest whenever he’s excessively panting or lip licking.

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7. Following you everywhere

An overtired or over excited puppy is afraid to miss something. This is why he might be following you everywhere.

Some puppies do that all the time, though. So, it’s only a sign he’s overtired if he usually doesn’t do it.

8. Racing through your house

Similar to zoomies, overtired puppies usually race up and down your house as well.

In order to stay awake, when actually overtired, a puppy’s body produces a lot of adrenaline. This leads to excess energy, which he tries to get rid of by racing around.

However, this isn’t a healthy state for a puppy. It’s best not to let it get that far.

9. He’s becoming vocal

Is your puppy all of a sudden crying or barking at seemingly nothing? Then he’s probably overtired.

If you’ve got a little cry baby, make sure to also check out my article about why puppies are whining and crying.

10. Crazy eyes

Have you ever seen a dog or puppy that’s out of control?

That’s when they get the crazy eyes!

Whenever I see a little of the white showing in Baloo’s eyes, I know he’s over stimulated, over excited or overtired and the zoomies will kick in shortly.

Tips to stop overtired puppy behavior

How do you calm an overtired puppy?

An overtired puppy needs rest but is pumped up with adrenaline.

That’s not gonna work!

The thing that is gonna work, is to stop the adrenaline production. Once all the excitement is gone, your puppy will feel that he’s actually tired and will fall asleep very easily.

There are a few ways to do this:

By far the fastest is to hold him by his shoulders until he’s calmed down. The other very efficient way is to put him in his crate or in a room where there’s no distraction. Only when he can’t run around like crazy and when there’s nothing to do, he’ll be able to calm down and relax.

For more information on how to calm down an over excited (adult) dog, click here.

Make sure to teach your pup how to calm down
Make sure to teach your pup how to calm down

My overtired puppy won’t sleep

If your puppy just can’t calm down no matter what, I highly recommend using a crate!

This is the easiest and most efficient way to force a puppy to rest.

For the first few times, he’s probably not gonna like it. But if you train it properly, he’ll soon be happy to go to his sleeping cave.

Here’s a good guide to crate training:

And if he’s crying in the beginning, don’t give up. He’ll get tired eventually. Once he slept for a little while, you can reward him by taking him out for a snuggle session on the couch.

How to stop overtired puppy biting

Ignore him

Last but not least, here’s how to stop overtired puppy biting:

As soon as he starts biting, turn around and ignore him.

If he keeps nibbling at your leg, go into a different room and close the door. Wait for him to calm down. Then you can come back but still ignore him. Once he’s fully calmed down, you can start to pet him in a very calm manner.

Repeat this a few times and your dog should get it pretty quickly.


Another tip I got from my puppy trainer that works very well with puppies is to squeak when your puppy bites you. It doesn’t matter if it hurts. Just squeak, make an upset face and stop playing. Puppies squeak when the play is getting too rough. So, your puppy will understand that this was too much.

You can also try giving him a chewy as soon as he’s not going for your hands, sleeves etc. anymore. This can help your puppy or dog to get rid of some excess energy as well.

Here’s a good video overview of the things you can do to stop excited puppy biting:

Related topic: For dog training in general I highly recommend you get a program that walks you through step by step, such as Braintrainingfordogs. Certified dog trainer Adrienne Farricelli teaches you to train your dog to be the best dog he can by be using mental stimulation! Check out Dogpackr’s review to see if this is a fit for you!


Overall, puppies who act like crazy usually need a rest!

With these 10 overtired puppy symptoms you now know when it’s time for bed for your little fur baby.

And even more important, you now know how to deal with that annoying overtired puppy behavior. If you follow the tips listed above, I’m sure you’ll have a lovely puppy in no time!

Don’t forget to get your free puppy schedule planner to help your puppy calm down and track his progress.

Get your free puppy schedule planner

13 thoughts on “10 overtired puppy symptoms and what to do about it

  1. What if I’ve already messed this up? Our 16 wk old GSD is Now going on 3-4 walks a day…. about 30-40 mins each…. depending on how slow or fast we ago… usually all are about a half mile to maybe 3/4 mile each….

    However his biting has gotten worse so After reading this i wonder… he does nap in his crate happily for 2+ hours afterwards and has access to just our downstairs with chew toys and play toys. I work at home so he’s supervised when not sleeping in crate. Does sleep all night (10pm until 5:30am) each night in crate too…

    Help?!? I don’t want to make him overtired!!! He will rest on living room carpet too…. i have made the mistake of keeping him awake for 15/20 minutes cuz it was close to dinner time!🤦‍♀️ I shouldn’t have done that, right? I suck!

    1. Hi Janet,
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Oh, don’t worry, it’s not like you’re going to mess up your dog only because he didn’t get enough sleep for a little while 😉
      Okay, so it sounds like he’s probably getting a little too much exercise for his age. At 16 weeks I’d do 3 walks at about 20 minutes each per day. This is especially important for big breeds, like GSDs. If they get too much exercise at an early age, they’re much more likely to suffer from joint issues later in life. Their bones are still very soft, so it’s important not to overstrain them.
      If you feel like it’s impossible for him to sleep with only this much exercise, then rather try some short sessions of mental stimulation. 10 minutes twice a day of scent games or training commands should definitely be enough. If he’s quiet for the rest of the time, awesome, just let him sleep or relax. If he can’t relax, then I would crate him a little more often until he understand it’s nap time. Just see that he gets at least 18 hours of sleep and relax time over 24 hours.
      The biting can indeed be a sign that he’s overtired. However, this is also quite a normal puppy behavior at that age. The important part is to react correctly. These 2 articles will help you with that: https://dogpackr.com/overtired-puppy-biting-change-your-little-shark-into-a-loving-puppy/ and https://dogpackr.com/how-to-stop-your-puppys-biting-habit-for-good/.
      If he wants to sleep, I definitely wouldn’t try to keep him awake. It’s a great quality if your dog knows how much rest he needs by himself. Many dogs unfortunately don’t.
      But don’t be too hard on yourself. The important thing is that you’re educating yourself and you can do it better from now on. I’ve made tons of mistakes with Baloo (and still make them). But every time I realize I’ve done something wrong, I just try to make it better next time.
      I’m sure you’re a great dog mom! =)
      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  2. I suspected my 10 week old female Aussie Doodle is acting like a crazed pup with the zoomies, hard biting, trying to jump on the couch because of being over tired. It seems to happen right when we’re trying to sit down and watch a little TV at 7:30pm. I end up putting her in the crate as the biting/nips ramp up and we can’t get her to calm down. I feel bad she can’t sit and chill with us during our evening relaxing time, but I can see how her behavior becomes unsafe for her so in the crate she goes which is in the same room.

    My son is now 14 and I definitely remember the toddler stage and thought, hmm, I wonder if puppies also get overtired. Thanks so much for your article!

    1. Hi Gerri,
      Thank you so much for your comment.
      I totally feel you. When I first got Baloo I was really wishing that I could just enjoy a relaxing evening with him on the sofa. But that was simply impossible.
      However, I can assure you that she’ll calm down eventually if you make sure she gets enough sleep while she’s still so young. As a puppy, I had to crate Baloo quite a lot to make sure he gets enough rest.
      And now we both love the sofa snuggles and loves sleeping next to me on the sofa. So, you’re on the right path and calmer times will definitely come around at some point.
      I’m glad you found it helpful!

  3. Hi, we tried to crate our puppy for the zoomies as she is definitely over-tired and wired, but the crate stresses her out even more. Even 15 minutes makes her howl constantly, we struggle to find a pause where we can reinforce quiet is good etc. We are only on day 4 but the sleep deprivation is a killer, help!

    1. Hi Jess
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Have you properly crate trained her? This sometimes takes some time but you can’t just put her in and expect her to love it. Check out this article for further guidance: https://dogpackr.com/how-to-crate-train-a-dog-easily-in-13-steps/.
      In the meantime you could try a puppy-safe small room like your bathroom for her to calm down. Or attach her somewhere with a leash. The important part is that she’s forced to be calm in order to learn how to relax.
      So it doesn’t necessarily need to be the crate, just any small space where she can’t race through.

  4. Hello, thank you for this topic it was very interesting.

    I believe I over tired the puppy with play and excitement and unknowingly used the same tactic to try to tire him out. He is 9 weeks and we saw the behaviour completely change after a nap. How long does it take to get there behaviour back the same as a fought guide


    1. Hi Phil
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Yep, nap time can work miracles for puppies.
      I guess it should only take a few days for your puppy to adapt to the new routine. Unless your puppy has a hard time calming himself down (like my dog Baloo), then it might take a few weeks and some training. In the beginning he was only able to sleep while in his crate. But if you stay consistent with it, he’ll soon learn to relax and be much calmer.

  5. My mastiff/lab only weighs 34lbs. at 24 weeks. She had worms at 10 weeks but by 12 weeks they were gone. Also, my daughter didn’t let her sleep enough at 10 weeks to 14 weeks. Could this have stunted her growth. I know puppies need sleep to grow, and she didn’t get enough. Also, will she eventually catch up to where she should be.

    1. Hi Mason,
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Hm, difficult to say. If she really didn’t get any sleep at all, then it could definitely impact her growth. But the worms might play a bigger role. I would definitely talk to your vet about this. He/she will be able to tell you if there’s anything you can do to support her growth.
      Since she’s a mix, it might also be that she’ll simply not grow so big and heavy. It all depends on the genes. I’ve seen dogs with the same mix end up looking completely different.
      Dogs are relatively robust, though. So, if she gets enough sleep now she should be fine. Again, it’s best to double-check with your vet.

  6. I have an 11 week old miniature schnauzer. She gets over tired, bites constantly. I thought that all the toys were good but realize she may be getting over stimulated. I put her in her crate this evening and she cried for 25 minutes….the worst yet! I will lessen her play time, use the crate more and work with her. I don’t know how long I should let her cry?! Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Gin,
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Puppies this age tend to get overtired very easily as they need much more sleep than they like to “admit” 😉
      When it comes to crying in the crate, the goal is to not have her cry at all. This means that you build up crate training at a very slow pace and stretch the time she’s in it little by little. You always want to take her out before she starts crying. If she starts crying after all, wait until she’s quiet for a second or so, let her out and make a mental note to go back a little during your next training session.
      The thing is, you need to show her that the crate is an awesome place! She doesn’t know that if you just put her in there and hope for the best. This is why it’s so important to build it up slowly. Here’s a step by step guide that will help you with this: https://dogpackr.com/how-to-crate-train-a-dog-easily-in-13-steps/.
      If you absolutely need quiet time in the meantime, another option is to tether her to the table (if she chews on the leash, use a metal leash) and then just ignore her.
      Hope this helps.

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