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As a new puppy owner, I’m sure you’ve been wondering about how to deal with puppy tantrums!
If your pup is throwing a temper tantrum, it’s really no fun for anyone involved. And you’re likely looking for the quickest way to get that craziness to stop.
So, in this article I’ve put 7 tips together that will help you deal with your puppy temper tantrums the quickest way possible.
The most important thing is to just stay calm and be patient. If you don’t encourage the behavior, it will likely go away pretty quickly.
Before we get to the tips, let’s look at what puppy tantrums even are exactly and why they occur.
What Are Puppy Tantrums?
Tantrums are never fun, whether it’s a human baby throwing one or your new four-legged best friend. If you’ve ever been around anyone throwing a tantrum, then you know how stressful (not to mention loud) they can be!
But what exactly is a puppy tantrum?
Well, in short, it’s the same thing as a human tantrum. Your puppy is upset because he’s not getting his way, and he’s decided to throw a fit about it. Your puppy may bark, growl, and refuse to listen to you.
So how do you stop a puppy tantrum? To answer that question, we first need to talk a little more about what a tantrum is.
Are Puppy Tantrums Normal?
If your little guy is throwing a temper tantrum, you might be wondering if this kind of behavior is normal. If you’re at all worried, don’t be! It’s completely normal for puppies to throw temper tantrums sometimes.
Puppies are super similar to human babies. Their little minds are still developing, and sometimes the world can be confusing and overstimulating. In these moments, something can snap and a temper tantrum can start up.
So, don’t worry if your puppy throws a temper tantrum sometimes. It’s very normal behavior, and usually just a sign that your puppy is overstimulated or overtired.
How Long Do Puppy Tantrums Last?
Unfortunately, there’s no magic number to answer this question. Puppy tantrums can last a few seconds, or several minutes. A lot of the time, the tantrum will last until you put a stop to it.
So how do you put a stop to the tantrum?
We’ll get into that more later on, but for now just understand that if your puppy is throwing a tantrum, that means he may not be very good at regulating himself.
He may not be able to figure out when he’s too tired or overstimulated, and he needs you to help him understand that!
Is My Puppy Frustrated?
One of the biggest reasons for your puppy throwing a tantrum is because he’s feeling frustrated. You can usually tell when your pup isn’t happy with the way things are going.
If your puppy is feeling frustrated, he’ll probably stop listening to you when you give him commands. He may refuse to stay still, and run around like a maniac. He’ll also likely start acting out, getting into things he knows that he shouldn’t.
How Do You Stop a Puppy Tantrum?
So now that you know what puppy tantrums are all about, let’s get into what you came here for: how to stop them!
1. Let Him Sit or Lie Down
If you’re out for a walk, for example, and your puppy is tired and doesn’t want to go any further, forcing him to continue will only make his tantrum worse. Instead, stop where you are and give him the chance to sit or lie down.
This will give your puppy the opportunity to calm down and collect himself. Once he’s had the opportunity to relax for a minute or two, that should help him settle down enough to get back to what you were doing, or do something calmer.
2. Train the “Settle” Command
This command is going to be a lifesaver for those with hyperactive puppies who struggle to regulate themselves! The “settle” command is exactly what it sounds like. It’s teaching your dog to settle down on command and stop acting out.
All you need to do is hold your puppy still when he’s throwing a tantrum. Get on the ground and hold your puppy’s chest with one hand, and gently hold onto his collar with the other to prevent him from nipping your fingers. Just hold him steady until he’s started to calm down. As soon as he calms down, reward him with treats and praise and use the command “settle.” Then you can release him.
It works even better if you practice when he’s calm already. Here’s an example of that:
3. Hold Him Still
Puppies are not very good at knowing where their bodies are or what they’re doing at any given moment. If you’re wondering how to calm an overexcited dog quickly, holding him still for a few seconds is a good way to do it.
Just take your dog by the shoulders and hold him gently. This helps your dog become aware of his body again. You shouldn’t need to hold him for more than about a minute.
4. Ignore the Behavior
Throwing tantrums can be attention-seeking behavior. If you acknowledge your puppy or give into him when he’s throwing a tantrum, that teaches him that this is the way to get what he wants.
So as difficult as it is, it’s really important to ignore your dog when he’s throwing a tantrum. This means walking away from him and turning your back, staying completely still.
If your puppy won’t stop his tantrum behavior even while you’re ignoring him, you can try holding him in place. Just make sure not to speak to him and stay completely calm until he’s settled down.
5. Get Him Away from the Stimuli
If your puppy is throwing a tantrum because he’s overstimulated, you should get him away from whatever is stimulating him. Maybe there’s a dog outside that he wants to get at but can’t, or you have visitors over that are ramping up his energy.
Whatever the stimulus is, removing it or getting your puppy out of the situation is the best solution. Once your puppy has calmed down, you can work on slowly reintroducing the stimuli.
6. Stay Calm
Your puppy is surprisingly intuitive, and can easily pick up on your emotions. Dogs are really good at reading body language, and if you’re being loud and excited, that’s only going to make the tantrum worse.
So instead, stay very calm. If you have to speak, do it very quietly. Your puppy will be able to pick up on your behavior, and will have a much easier time staying calm himself.
7. Give Him a Time Out
If you haven’t already crate trained your puppy, now might be the time to start! Crates are great tools for helping puppies settle down. If your puppy is throwing a tantrum, putting him in his crate for a time out could help him calm down.
And since many puppies throw tantrums because they’re overtired, spending some time in the crate could give them the chance to get the sleep they need.
Not sure where to start with crate training? Here’s how to easily crate train a dog in 13 steps.
Puppy Tantrum on Leash
When your puppy throws a huge tantrum on his leash, it can be embarrassing. It’s not a good feeling knowing everyone’s watching you struggle to get your dog under control!
But sometimes it happens. The best thing for you to do in this situation is to stay calm. Hold your puppy still, and wait until he calms down. You may need to hold your puppy still until he’s able to settle.
Puppy Tantrum in Crate
It’s normal for puppies to try and get you to let them out of the crate by throwing a tantrum. As hard as it is, it’s important that you not let him out while he’s throwing a tantrum. That just reinforces bad behavior.
Instead, wait until he’s settled to teach him that being calm is the way to get out of his crate. If your puppy is consistently throwing tantrums in his crate, you may need to take a few steps back in the crate training process.
For more information, here’s what a good crate training schedule for a puppy looks like.
Puppy Tantrum When Tired
Lots of puppies will throw tantrums because they’re overtired, just like human toddlers do! It’s really important that you make sure your puppy gets enough sleep. This is both to help their minds and bodies develop properly, and to save your own sanity.
If you think your puppy is throwing tantrums because he’s over tired, make sure that you’re encouraging enough napping during the day.
You may also want to check out my article: Overtired Puppy Biting – Change Your Little Shark into a Loving Puppy.
Puppy tantrums are no fun for you, or your puppy! If your puppy is throwing tantrums, there are a few reasons why that may be. Sometimes it’s for attention, sometimes it’s because they’re overtired, and sometimes they’re just not happy with the way things are going.
Whatever the reason is, a puppy tantrum is a frustrating experience. Luckily, there are ways you can help your puppy settle down.
Remember to stay calm when your puppy is having a tantrum to keep from riling him up even more. Make sure that he’s getting enough sleep in general, teach him how to be calm, and most importantly, be patient! Your puppy will throw fewer tantrums as he gets older, and you’ll have all the knowledge you need to handle them when they do come up.
Struggling with your puppy's hyper behavior? I offer private 1:1 online coaching to help you with your puppy's behavioral problems (biting, crate training struggles, crying, barking, separation anxiety, daily schedule etc.). Schedule a free 15-minute video Zoom call to get started!
Please note that I'm not a professional dog trainer. Everything I know is from my own experience with my hyper Mini Poodle Baloo and hundreds of hours of research.