7 tips for overtired puppy aggression

overtired puppy aggression

Most of the time your puppy is a sweet little angel who you love spending time with. But it seems like when he gets overtired, your puppy starts showing a little aggression.

Aggressive dogs and puppies can be very stressful to deal with. This is especially true if the aggression ends up being directed towards you!

So why is your puppy becoming aggressive when he’s tired? And what can you do about it?

Let’s look at the reasons first before we get into the 7 tips for overtired puppy aggression.

Do puppies get aggressive when tired?

Well, first you should understand that the word “aggression” can mean a lot of different things. Some people see growling or nipping as aggressive. Others see aggression as actually biting, standing very rigidly, or lunging and barking.

Regardless, any behavior that could be classified as “aggressive” isn’t something you want to encourage. You’ll want to curb this type of behavior.

But first, take a look at these related articles:

A tired dog is a happy dog…

You’ve probably heard the saying “a tired dog is a happy dog” before. But what exactly does that mean?

Well, it means that a dog that’s getting a healthy amount of stimulation every day will be happy, calm, and well-behaved.

Dogs that are bored tend to be destructive and act out. If you’re wondering why your dog is behaving so poorly, make sure you consider what his daily routine looks like.

Is he getting enough exercise during the day?

Are you giving him enough mental stimulation to keep his mind busy?

Doing this will help you ensure your dog is both happy and well-mannered.

Get your free puppy schedule planner

… but an overtired dog, not so much

A tired dog is a happy dog, but an overtired dog is not!

The key thing is to make sure that your dog is getting a healthy amount of stimulation and exercise. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!

If your dog starts to get overtired, then he’s not going to be well-behaved.

An overtired puppy may forget his manners and may even become aggressive. To prevent that, you need to ensure he is neither exhausted nor under stimulated. Creating a daily routine for your dog is a good way to make sure of that.

Overtired puppy symptoms

If you think your puppy may be overtired, then he’ll most likely show signs other than just the aggression.

One of the major signs of an overtired puppy is that he’ll get the zoomies. It sounds backward, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you expect an overtired puppy to just pass out?

Puppies are a lot like kids. And if you’ve ever seen a child become too tired and act super hyper, then you know that being overtired can make for some confusing behaviors.

Your puppy will lose control of himself when he becomes overtired. That’s what causes things like aggression, the zoomies, and being needy.

If you’re still wondering if your puppy is overtired, check out these 10 overtired puppy symptoms and what to do about it.

overtired puppy aggression

7 tips for overtired puppy aggression

If your puppy really is getting aggressive when he’s tired, then you’ll want to curb that behavior right away. An aggressive puppy will turn into an aggressive dog. And the bigger your dog gets, the less easy these issues will be to manage.

Here are a few tips that will help you prevent your dog’s aggression.

1. Provide the right amount of exercise

Since being overtired is your puppy’s issue, giving him the right amount of daily exercise will help.

So how much exercise should a puppy get? Well, the answer to this can vary based on a few factors.

For example, some dog breeds require more exercise than others. A Collie is going to need more physical and mental stimulation than a Pekingese, for example.

Another thing you’ll need to consider is your puppy’s age. Dogs aren’t considered adults until they’re around a year or two old, depending on the breed. Very young puppies will need less exercise than a six-month-old puppy.

There’s a good general rule of thumb, though: take your puppy’s age in months and multiply by five. That’s how many minutes per play session or walk you should be spending with your puppy. Two or three of these sessions a day should be enough.

2. Establish a solid daily routine

Dogs do best when they have a routine. It helps them know what to expect and when! If you don’t have a daily routine for yourself and your dog yet, start implementing one. You’ll be surprised by how much more relaxed your dog is.

One of the other benefits of a solid daily routine is that it will help you, too. You’ll be able to make sure that your puppy gets everything he needs throughout the day.

Remember that there’s no “right” routine except the one that works for you. Keep trying new things until you find what works for you and your puppy!

This free puppy schedule planner will help you do just that!

Get your free puppy schedule planner

3. Make sure he gets enough sleep

Puppies sleep a lot. You may have noticed your puppy sleeping pretty frequently throughout the day. Maybe you’ve even wondered “can a puppy sleep too much?” 

The answer to that question is: not really.

Puppies are doing a ton of growing at this stage in their life. And not only is all that growing exhausting, but a lot of it takes place while they’re sleeping.

Your puppy is going to need about 18 to 20 hours of sleep every day. So, make sure he gets this amount.

4. Crate train him early

One of the best ways you can ensure that your puppy is getting enough sleep is by putting him in his crate.

Your puppy’s crate should be a calm, quiet place where he can go to relax. Crate training him will help you make sure your puppy is getting the sleep he needs.

It’s never too early (or too late) to start crate training your dog. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s how to crate train a dog easily in 13 steps.

5. Enforce regular naps

If your puppy is not sleeping during the day then that can make ensuring he’s getting enough sleep difficult.

Use a combination of your daily routine and your puppy’s crate training to make sure he gets some sleep during the day.

Your puppy may fuss at first, but remember that it’s your job to make sure your puppy gets what he needs. And what he needs is his 18 to 20 hours of sleep every day!

overtired puppy aggression

6. Give him a time out if he gets aggressive

Your puppy’s crate isn’t just a good place for him to go for a nap. It can also be really helpful if needs something to help him calm down.

If your puppy is starting to show signs of aggression—like nipping at you—then he may need a few minutes to himself. You can put him in his crate for a little time out until he’s calmed down.

7. Hold him still to help him calm down

If your puppy is having a hard time calming down, then you might need to help him. Holding him gently can actually help him bring awareness back to himself and settle back down.

Hold him from behind while you’re sitting, with one hand gently holding his collar, and the other on his chest. Or hold him by the shoulders. This will help keep him from biting you while you hold him.

You should only need to hold him for a minute or two before he calms down.

Overtired puppy aggression FAQ

Do puppies bite more when overtired?

When puppies get overtired, they forget a lot of the manners you’ve taught them. So, when your puppy gets a little too tired, he might start biting you more.

This can be really frustrating, since overtired puppies also tend to not be very good at listening! Luckily, there are some things you can do to help him.

Learn more about overtired puppy biting and how to change your little shark into a loving puppy.

Do puppies get aggressive when hungry?

Does your dog suddenly seem standoffish and a bit defensive when you put his food down? You may think that he’s aggressive because he’s hungry.

But when dogs behave aggressively around their food, it’s usually more to do with territorialism. Your puppy is trying to protect his food from anyone else who might try to steal it!

Learn more about food guarding and how to help with this issue by checking out the ASPCA’s article on the topic.

Puppy gets aggressive when picked up

If your puppy acts aggressive when he gets picked up, then he might just be trying to tell you he doesn’t like it. After all, you may not like it either if someone scooped you up all the time.

You may want to avoid picking your puppy up as much as possible. But there may be situations where you absolutely have to pick him up.

You can learn more about how to get your puppy used to being picked up by checking out PetHelpful’s article on the subject.  


Aggression is never a good thing. But it’s important to understand that aggression doesn’t just come out of the blue. If your dog is acting aggressive, then it could be that he’s feeling overtired.

Use the above tips to help prevent your puppy’s aggression. If nothing is working or your puppy’s aggression is particularly severe, then try working with a positive reinforcement-focused dog trainer. You’ll be glad you did, and you and your puppy will both feel safer and more relaxed.

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