How to calm an over excited dog quickly


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Dog excitement can be so cute. Especially when your pup is sooo happy to see you and totally loses it.

Okay, but what if it gets out of control and he actually gets over excited? And how do you calm an over excited dog?

My Miniature Poodle Baloo is a very, very excitable dog. He basically gets overly excited about everything! Going for a walk, me coming home, having guests, seeing other dogs, seeing children etc. All of that totally hypes him up. As you can imagine, this can get really stressful, both for him and for me.

So, I started researching a lot on the topic of dog hyperactivity and dog over excitement. And I found out that there are almost always the same few reasons causing a dog to get out of control.

The most common reasons that get your dog over excited are: overstimulation, stress, your behavior, excess energy and conditioned behavior. Once you know what’s the issue, you can specifically work to reduce the trigger and have a nicely calm and relaxed dog.

Can dogs get too excited?

Oh yes, they can!

A little dog excitement is fine and maybe even cute. While it’s by no means natural – dogs in the wild would never waste energy without a reason – our domestic dogs have a different lifestyle and usually don’t suffer from energy scarcity.

However, it can quickly get out of hand. If your dog doesn’t know how to calm himself down, his over excitement can actually lead to hyperactivity.

To find out if your dog gets too excited, observe him in an excitable situation. How quickly does he calm down? Can he calm down at all?

If he still looks like having a fair amount of self-control, then he’s most likely just excited to a normal extend. If he’s totally losing it and is unable to calm himself down for more than 1 or 2 minutes, then he’s definitely more excited than is good for him.

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What does over excited dog behavior look like?

Over excited dog behavior can have different forms. The most common are: jumping, either in the air or on a person/object; barking/crying; running around very wildly; having the zoomies. It generally appears very uncontrolled and very wild.

For some puppies, and even some adult dogs, it can even go as far as your dog losing urine. If that’s the case with your dog, these 13 tips how to stop excited or submissive dog peeing might help you.

It’s actually pretty much the same as when your dog is hyperactive. However, over excitement can usually directly be linked to an event or an object/person. If your pup is hyperactive, then this will normally just appear out of nowhere. Or it’s even constantly the case.

To find out more about dog hyperactivity, check out my post about the 8 things you can do about it here.

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Reasons for over excited dogs

Let’s look at the reasons for over excited dogs next.

Overstimulation

Is your pup going crazy when there’s a lot going on?

Then the reason for his excitement is most likely overstimulation.

Dogs aren’t made for busy environment. They can adapt to it very easily, but only after a while.

This will become very apparent if you live in a quiet neighborhood and then go for a walk on a busy street. There are so many stimuli that it’s likely that your dog can’t handle it anymore.

This also applies to having guests over. Many unfamiliar people can cause stress for dogs. Some take it easier than others. But excitable dogs can quickly get overwhelmed! This will likely be a happy excitement because they just don’t know where to start to say hello. But it can quickly get annoying, especially when he just can’t stop jumping up on your guests.

If you want to learn more about overstimulated dogs, click here.

Having a clear daily schedule can help dogs calm down significantly. Download my free puppy schedule planner to start implementing a daily schedule that works for you and your dog.

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Stress

Some dogs get over excited when they’re stressed. They don’t know what to do and literally can’t feel themselves anymore. So, there’s a lot of adrenaline building up. To get rid of the tension, they show one or several of the behaviors listed above.

Another way some dogs show stress is by humping. If that sounds familiar, make sure to check out my article about how to stop a dog from humping and mounting.

Your behavior

This is such an important factor for dog over excitement that is so often neglected.

I know, it’s hard to accept, but it’s actually possible that you’re the reason for your pup’s crazy behavior.

Especially the very sensitive kind of dogs can’t help but feel what you’re feeling. The problem is, they don’t know what to make of this feeling. This can also lead to stress, which then makes your dog look over excited.

Excess energy

Excess energy can lead to hyperactive behavior or over excitement. It’s usually more responsible for hyperactive behavior, causing your dog to be zooming around until all his excess energy is gone.

But it can also be a combination. For instance, the lack of exercise can lead to kind of an uneasy state of mind for your pup. While he might usually be calm when there’s something exciting happening, like you coming home, he can’t handle the extra excitement on top of his built up energy.

Conditioned behavior

The last possible reason is that his over excitement is trained. This happens more often than we think. Puppies can’t control their energy very well and tend to get over excited very easily. And when they’re still puppies, they look sooo cute.

So, we pay attention, laugh and pet our cutie pie and cutie pie loves that! So, he’s like: oh, this is awesome. Whenever I’m acting like a clown I get all this attention. This must be the way to do it!

Once your puppy becomes a pup, you don’t find his behavior that cute anymore. But your dog doesn’t understand that! He learned to act like a fool to get attention. So, he keeps doing it!

Similarly to conditioned behavior, your dog can get addicted to the adrenaline. The only difference is that he basically rewards himself for his overly excited behavior, because it just feels so good to bark or chase or jump! This article explains the adrenaline addiction really well.

How to calm an over excited dog

Now that you know what can cause dog over excitement, let’s look at the next question: how do you calm an over excited dog?

In general

I’ll first explain what you can do in general and apply in almost any situation. And I’ll also give you some quick tips that can help reduce your pup’s excitement very fast.

Then I’ll answer a few more specific questions.

Find out what’s the cause

It’s very helpful to know what exactly triggers your dog’s behavior!

This helps you to specifically work on the trigger, rather than blindly trying different techniques.

Watch your dog closely: when exactly does he get overly excited? Does it always happen in busy places or when you’re having guests? Is he scared of something specific? Does he react when you feel stressed, angry, sad or excited? Or has it always been like that and you always payed attention to his crazy behavior?

If you can find out what exactly causes your dog to freak out, you’re already a step closer to calmer behavior.

If you can’t find out what’s the trigger, though, don’t worry! I’ll tell you a few things that pretty much always work.

Or you can also apply them additionally to the training techniques I’ll tell you further down below for specific situations.

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Quick solutions

Wear him out

This can solve so many problems people have with their dogs!

A tired dog is a happy dog. So, it’s best to always make sure that your pup gets a lot of physical and mental exercise.

Mental stimulation can also be a wonderful training tool if used correctly. Check out Braintrainingfordogs to learn how to train your dog to be the best dog he can be by using mental stimulation! Or have a look at Dogpackr’s review first to see if it’s a fit for you and your dog!

Not every dog needs the same amount of exercise. It’s best to try out different amounts.

Btw, check out my article about the question how much a dog can walk or hike in a day to know your dog’s limits.

What has worked well with my hyperactive Miniature Poodle Baloo is 2 30-minute walks and 1-hour off-leash walk per day. Twice a week we have Agility training. On those days I skip the 1-hour walk.

If you have a herding or a hunting breed dog, he might need more. You reached a good level when your pup sleeps easily after walks.

As an alternative to walks, you can also wear him out mentally from time to time. The best way to do this is by playing thinking games or scent games with him. Teaching him new tricks is also a great idea.

Here’s a super easy way to play scent games:

Hold him still

Apparently, dogs literally can’t feel themselves or where their body ends when they get overly excited.

This is why my puppy dog trainer told me to just sit down with Baloo and hold him softly on his shoulders. This helps him to feel himself again and to calm down.

Whenever he’s getting the zoomies, I do this until he calms down, which usually takes less than a minute.

This is one of the best solutions to help your pup calm down quickly!

Be calm yourself

Next, I have a task for the dog moms and dog dads: stay calm as often as possible. When you get angry or excited when your dog is over the threshold already, it’s virtually impossible for your dog to calm down!

You can help him by staying calm yourself. Getting angry at an over excited dog won’t get you anywhere! Instead, sit down with him in a calm manner, breath slowly and watch how your behavior transfers to your dog.

It’s like magic, trust me!

Teach him the good behavior

If your dog gets overly excited on a very regular basis, it’s also very helpful to teach your dog the calm, good behavior. If you have a “calm down” cue, it makes hyper times so much easier.

Keep in mind, that the cue will only work as long as your dog is not yet over excited. You pretty much have to catch a moment where the excitement starts to build up. Then you have to intervene quickly and give the cue.

Check out this video to learn how you can teach your dog to settle down:

Specific situations

How to calm an over excited dog on a walk?

Not all of the general ways to calm a frisky dog down can be applied in every situation.

For instance, how do you calm an over excited dog on a walk?

Theoretically, you could sit down with him and hold him while you’re on a walk as well. But that won’t be very effective.

If your dog gets overly excited during walks, it’s usually due to overstimulation by something. Whether it’s a busy street, another dog or a ball rolling down the street, his excitement is almost always caused by something specific.

This is why the best way to calm an excited dog down on a walk is to take him away from the stimuli. Take him to a quieter place until he has calmed down. It’s also greatly beneficial to stay calm in those situations. Your dog will always calm down much easier if you are calm yourself!

How do you calm an excited dog in the car?

Another situation where it’s common for dogs to get overly excited is when you’re driving in the car.

The most common reasons why your dog gets frisky in the car are:

  • Impatience
  • Anxiety
  • Your excitement
  • Excess energy

In this post I’m going over how to calm an excited dog in the car in detail.

How do you calm an over excited dog with visitors?

Let’s get to the next very common situation for dog excitement: getting visitors.

Dogs are usually so incredibly happy to see your guests stepping through the door that they can’t control themselves anymore.

In situations like these it’s best to put your pup in a quiet corner. Either put him in his bed and attach him with a leash (if needed). If he doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety, then you can also put him in a crate or in a different room.

And then: ignore him! Very, very important: everyone has to ignore him until he’s calm.

Once he’s calmed down, he’s allowed to greet everyone. This is the reward for his good behavior.

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How to stop over excited dog biting?

Over excited dog biting is a serious issue and has to be addressed immediately!

It mostly starts when your dog’s still a puppy. And then it’s more of a nibbling and it’s kinda cute, right?

Now I’m here to tell you: DON’T EVER LET HIM DO THAT!

Because those cute puppy teeth will become strong dog teeth and when a dog is overly excited, he doesn’t feel how strong he’s biting!

I’ll only quickly cover this topic here. If you’re interested to learn more, make sure to check out my post about how to stop your puppy’s biting habit.

So, 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 doggo 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:

Conclusion

Excited dogs are cute. Over excited dogs are mostly annoying!

This is why you should know how to calm an over excited dog quickly.

The quickest ways to calm down a frisky dog are the following: wear him out, hold him still, be calm yourself and teach him the calm behavior.

Additionally, it’s always very helpful to find out what gets your dog so excited in the first place. This way you’ll be able to specifically work on the problem to help your pup to stay calm, rather than to calm down after getting all hyped up.

Don’t forget to download your free puppy schedule planner to set up a routine that works for you and your dog!

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4 thoughts on “How to calm an over excited dog quickly

  1. Hi Caroline,

    Thanks for the article. Our 9 week old puppy does get very overexcited after a play session, even though we’ve been trying to get him to understand that play is finished when we’re done. He will then continue to run around and nibble at feet, trouser legs, shoes etc.

    You mention in the article to “hold him softly on his shoulders”. Just wondering how exactly you mean? Do you sit him down and hold him softly from the front, or do you face him away from you and hold him that way? Or even under the front legs?

    Our puppy does not want to sit still a lot so I’m struggling to work this out.

    Thanks very much!

    1. Hi Matt,
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      Yep, so you’ll have to definitely hold him firmly if he tries to wiggle his way out of your grip. They way I found to work best is to sit on the floor and place your puppy with his back faced to you in front of you. Then you hold him by the shoulders. Make sure he doesn’t break free. This might take a moment for him to understand.
      Once he sits down, go over to only holding him lightly so that he understands he gets more room when he calms down. If he tries to get all ramped up again, hold him more firmly again.
      Sit like that until he relaxes. Then let go of his shoulders and wait a little longer to see if he remains relax.
      Baloo understood pretty quickly that I’ll loosen the grip if he sits or lies down. So, he’ll do that pretty quickly and then tries to run away. This is why I’m still holding him softly until I can see him physically relax.
      At that point, you can let go of him but still remain very calm.
      That’s probably a good time to put him in the crate for a nap.
      Hope this helps.

  2. Good day I am Theo and I’m from South Africa. I have a rescue big dog. She is going blind and is nearly 2. When going for a walk (they are 4 dogs) she playbites the other dogs but itsounds like a dog fight. She is so excited that she bites me and jump on us. We all had our turn with her scratching and biting. She plays nonstop en sleep like the dead. Follows me everywhere all4 all the time. How can I get her to stop that. It’s taken me a week to get her to walk on a leash but will sometimes have a tantrum. Can you help please?

    1. Hi Theo,
      Thank you very much for your comment.
      I would definitely not allow her to bite you or other dogs. Even if it’s just playbites, this can quickly escalate into a regular habit. I’ve got a few articles on puppy biting that might help you: https://dogpackr.com/how-to-stop-your-puppys-biting-habit-for-good/ and https://dogpackr.com/overtired-puppy-biting-change-your-little-shark-into-a-loving-puppy/.
      Make sure she doesn’t get an opportunity to bite your other dogs on the leash. Either have her on one side and your other dogs on the other side or walk her separately until she’s a bit calmer. Also make sure to establish a solid daily routine. Dogs calm down a lot if they know what’s happening on a daily basis. This will also help her get the rest she needs. If she can’t calm down by herself, I highly recommend crate training her to help her have a safe space for naps. Here’s an article on crate training: https://dogpackr.com/how-to-crate-train-a-dog-easily-in-13-steps/.

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