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Why is my dog so hyper all of a sudden?
That’s a very common question among dog owners. Depending on your dog’s breed, your pup might be prone to hyper behavior in general. That’s particularly true for active breeds. But it’s also very common that usually calm dogs become hyper all of a sudden. My Miniature Poodle Baloo is a very good example. He’s a very excitable dog and often just bursts out with energy out of nowhere!
But why is your dog usually a good boy and then all of a sudden he’s so hyper?
If the behavior occurs spontaneously, all of a sudden, there is usually a particular trigger causing it. These reasons or triggers can be the same if your dog is restless all the time. The difference is most likely that one dog has a calm character, while the other one has an excitable one. There are a number of possibilities: feeling uncomfortable/itchy, he’s overwhelmed/discontent, he’s over tired, boredom, your behavior, conditioning, breed characteristics, he’s a puppy.
In this post I’ll show you the possible reasons why your dog is so hyper all of a sudden and what to do about it.
Why is my dog so hyper?
Hyperactivity is usually more sort of a long-term situation. In this post, I’ll focus on the reasons for sudden hyperactivity in dogs, though. In case your dog is hyper all the time, then these 8 tips will probably help you.
But let’s first look at causes for hyperactivity.
He’s feeling uncomfortable/itchy
I’ve got a really funny story for you. Baloo doesn’t shed so I have to trim his hair about every 2 months. Since I’m not a pro, I sometimes don’t trim it evenly. So, around his butt, it sometimes gets a bit longer until I realize that I have to shorten it again. The other day, it happened again, his hair grew a bit too long and the last bit of his poo got stuck in his hair… Yeah, dog mom stories.
So, I obviously had to clean it and pretty much wiped his butt. Dogs’ anuses are very sensitive. He can’t stand it when I have to touch him there (it’s not exactly a pleasure for me either, but what can you do? ;)). He’s more or less standing still when I do it. But once I’m done he’s completely freaking out. He’s getting “the zoomies”, running around, jumping and becomes vocal. A real pain in the butt, quite literally!
The reason for his suddenly appearing hyper behavior is very clearly the uncomfortable situation. Moreover, I force him to stand still while I do it and this is how the tension within his body builds up. When I finally let him go, he feels like he has to get rid of this uncomfortable feeling by running, jumping, shaking and so on.
It’s similar when he’s itchy. By his hyper behavior he tries to get rid of the itchiness!
Itchiness can also be a reason for why your dog is chasing his tail.
He’s overwhelmed or overstimulated
It doesn’t really matter what he’s overwhelmed with. Some dogs react with hyper behavior when they can’t deal with a situation.
Again a Baloo example: I recently tried to teach him a new trick: the cup game. However, he didn’t understand what he had to do and instead of looking at the cups he was just staring at me and getting really nervous. He literally couldn’t focus anymore, he was just totally overwhelmed with what I was asking him to do.
Your dog can also be emotionally overwhelmed by circumstances such as other dogs, many people, loud noise etc. In that case he’s most likely overstimulated. Click here to learn more on this topic.
Another reason can be that he’s not happy with what you want him to do. Like when you’re telling him it’s time to go to bed and he starts being overly dramatic. Yep, he doesn’t know how to escape your command so he’s just being a fool. Maybe it even works…
He’s over tired
I’ve just posted an article about 10 signs and symptoms your dog is over tired or exhausted. If your dog is over tired or exhausted, one of the signs can be that your dog starts to become hyper all of a sudden.
Dogs are in many ways like children. And that’s particularly true for when they’re being exhausted. Overly tired children often become hyperactive. With dogs, it’s just the same.
The other most common reason is the exact opposite: lack of mental or physical stimulation that leads to dog boredom.
This is another important factor that can cause a dog to be hyperactive. A bored dog will find himself something to do! And this something could be running around your house endlessly or jumping up and down on you with no break.
This hyper behavior can very well appear out of the blue! If your pooch has quite a calm character, he might accept the lack of exercise for a relatively long time. But at some point it will just burst out of him and he’ll start to get crazy!
Sorry to tell you but most of dogs’ behaviors can immediately be linked to your behavior. Dogs in the wild live in packs and every dog has a different role. Per pack there can only be one pack leader. In our society, you as the owner have to be the pack leader! The pack leader tells the pack what to do and how to react in different situations. So, dogs are intuitively used to looking at their pack leader and imitate his or her behavior.
To be honest, Baloo and I are a very good example for this. Being a poodle, he’s very smart but also very sensitive. So, he’s always observing me closely. Whenever I am not really calm or relaxed, Baloo starts to become uneasy. As you can imagine, I happen to be stressed, angry, sad or excited every now and then… And that’s when Baloo gets really annoying. He gets overly excited, bouncy and starts whining… Exactly what you need, when you’re stressed yourself!
This is a particularly good example of why your dog is so hyper all of a sudden. Seemingly, nothing has changed but he’s jumping around like a rabbit, right? It’s very likely that your hormone level has changed for some reason and Fido doesn’t know what to make of it.
Another reason for hyperactive behavior is that the dog hasn’t learned it any better.
As a puppy, a dog naturally can’t control his energy and is always quite over the top when he’s awake. If your pup has always gotten attention (positive or negative) when he was being hyper, he learned that being jumpy and noisy means getting what he wants!
So, he basically got conditioned that he has to act a certain way in order to get attention. Hence, he keeps doing that. And since you’re probably annoyed by his hyperactivity, you correct him or even give him a toy or something to play with. This reassures the dog that he’s doing the right thing!
This is more of a reason for constant hyper behavior. It’s not very likely that this will appear all of a sudden. But from that “all of a sudden” it can become more regular, if you react with attention.
If the behavior is conditioned, you probably need to start training calm behavior. What has worked very well for Baloo and me is to make use of the games taught in Braintraining4dogs.
There are a number of games that deal with hyper behavior. Plus, all that mental stimulation will help your dog to calm down in general.
This is the course I wish I had when Baloo was still a puppy!
Make sure to check it out here. It even has a 60-day money back guarantee, so there’s no risk involved!
Dogs have different personalities and different energy levels. This is mainly due to breed characteristics. Poodles and Terriers, for example, are more active and bouncy by nature than other breeds. If active breeds don’t get enough mental or physical stimulation, this can very easily lead to hyperactivity and restlessness. The 7 best small breed active dogs are the ones that also tend to become hyper the easiest. These guys definitely need a lot of exercise!
Note that breed characteristics lead more often to your dog being hyper all the time. So, this is more of a side note to this post. It’s still possible, though, that a high energy breed dog was calm for a while, for whatever reason, and now the actual temperament breaks through. This then seems to appear “all of a sudden”.
He’s a puppy
Your pup’s still a puppy? Okay, then there’s no need to worry at all!
Puppies can’t control their energy level. One moment they’re sleeping like a baby and the next they’re hyperactive. That’s completely normal! Just make sure he gets enough time to rest and he’ll be fine. If he can’t calm himself down, you need to “force” him. This is crucial, because dogs that didn’t learn to calm down as puppies will be much more prone to being hyper dogs as adults.
Here are 10 overtired puppy symptoms, in case you’re not sure.
Why is my dog so hyper all of a sudden?
Most of the reasons for hyper behavior cause dogs to be hyper all the time.
But what if your dog gets hyper all of a sudden?
The most common reasons for sudden hyperactivity in dogs are:
- He’s feeling uncomfortable/itchy
- He’s overwhelmed/overstimulated
- He’s over tired
- Your behavior
However, there are some scenarios where it’s particularly weird that your dog gets hyper, right? Let’s take a look at them.
Old dog is suddenly hyperactive
Old dogs usually have much less energy than young ones. So, when an old dog is suddenly hyperactive, it raises a lot of questions.
While it’s possible that his behavior is a reaction to one of the things listed above, it could also be something clinical. If your dog used to have hyper phases on a regular basis for all his life, then I wouldn’t worry too much. However, sudden changes in an old dog can be a sign of pain or a disease. This is why it’s recommended to always check with your vet in those cases.
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!
Here are a few other things that may cause your old dog to suddenly be hyperactive. Click here to read my full article on why old dogs can suddenly become hyperactive.
- Changes in routines or environment: Dogs love routine! It gives them comfort. While young dogs can adapt to changes relatively easily, it’s a whole different story for old dogs. Senior dogs struggle a lot with changes in routines or their environment (such as relocation). This might be a reason for sudden hyperactivity, because he’s overwhelmed.
- Pain or discomfort: It’s possible that your pooch suffers from some kind of pain or discomfort and tries to get rid of it by jumping around.
- Personality changes: As your dog grows older, it’s also possible that his personality changes. This can lead to a previously lazy dog feeling a second youth and getting all hyped up about it.
- Lack of physical or mental exercise: as dogs grow older, it might look like they don’t need that much exercise, anymore. While this is mostly true for physical exercise, most dogs should still get mentally stimulated. A lack of it can also lead to hyperactivity.
For more behavioral changes in old dogs, click here.
Why is my dog so hyper at night?
This can have a number of reasons.
One very common one is that your dog sleeps a lot throughout the day. So, when nighttime comes, he’s still got all this energy in him. This is very common if the dog parents work all day and he doesn’t get a proper workout when they’re home.
It’s no problem to have a dog sleep for the whole time when you’re gone. But when you’re back, he’s ready for some action!
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety and he sleeps in a crate or another room, then this could be the reason, too.
Baloo has severe separation anxiety. When I first got him, I let him sleep in a crate in my bedroom which worked fine. At some point, I decided it’s time he learns to sleep in the kitchen. I was afraid that he’d cry for the whole night. Which he did… for 2 nights. And then he’s never done it again. Patience wins!
I’ve got another article about the question “why is my dog so hyper at night“, where you can learn more about how to deal with it.
Why is my dog so hyper after a bath?
That’s a classic.
Most dogs don’t like baths. While they might like being showered, they don’t like their fur being rubbed with shampoo. And worse, after being rubbed with a towel and blow-dried, dogs feel super weird because their fur doesn’t feel normal, anymore.
In order to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling, they zoom around and get very hyper.
How to you calm down a hyper dog?
If your dog is hyper all of a sudden, I suggest the following:
Stay calm and sit down with him
This is a suggestion of my puppy trainer and it has worked very well for me and Baloo. She explained that dogs (or puppies even more so) can’t really feel where their body starts or ends when they’re being super excited. They can’t control their body anymore because they don’t feel it.
That’s why she suggested to sit down with him, being veeeery calm, and just hold him by the shoulders. It’s best to not even say anything, just sit and hold him. It doesn’t need to be a hard grip, just hold him softly and wait until he’s sitting or lying down.
Baloo sometimes tries to trick me, so he sits down really quickly in order to get away. In this case, just repeat the process. When he seems a bit calmer, I mostly tell him to go to his bed, because this is a calm area. He now manages to calm down within less than a minute when his hyper behavior started all of a sudden.
This works particularly well if the reason of his sudden craziness is that he’s feeling uncomfortable/itchy or that he’s overwhelmed or discontent.
If the first tip doesn’t work, you have to find out what causes your dog’s hyperactivity.
Start with yourself and observe your feelings and your dog’s behavior. How does he react when you’re stressed, tense, sad, angry or excited? Does he get hyper whenever you experience a particular feeling?
In this case I have to give you some tough love: you need to work on your mental balance! Personally, I neglected this thought for a long time. It’s much easier to tell yourself it’s the dog’s fault than to admit that it might be your own. But when I finally acknowledged it, Baloo calmed down a lot!
Your dog is like a mirror: he’ll react to your body language or the tone of your voice. So, if you’ve found out that your dog is mostly hyperactive whenever you’re stressed or angry, it’s also for your own benefit to stay calm!
Having a sensitive dog can be like a therapist: it’s an opportunity to become more balanced yourself.
Small personal recommendation on the side 😉
Personally, I can observe it over and over again. As soon as I get tense, Baloo starts to hyper. So, I constantly remind myself to stay calm. This way we have made tremendous improvement. Baloo is now a much more even-tempered pup.
Mental and physical stimulation
Dogs have different activity levels. But chances are that your hyper dog needs more action than other pups. Long walks where he can roam off-leash are a perfect way to tire out your pooch.
But most hyper dogs also need some mental stimulation. This can either be obedience training or anything where he has to watch you (e.g. walking heel). Or you can play games where you hide some treats somewhere and your pupper needs to think how he can get them.
Here are a few fun games that you can play with your dog at home:
For more ideas on mental stimulation, check out these 21 fun things to do with your dog at home.
In case you think your dog doesn’t need any mental exercises, then check out my explanatory guide on dogs’ intelligence.
If you do all of these things on a regular basis you’ll have a happy and relaxed dog, for sure!
This rule also applies if your dog has become hyper all of a sudden. As I’ve said before, it’s very well possible that he has accepted the lack of exercise but has had enough of the boredom now. It’s always worth to try a little more and see what happens. If nothing changes, try to cut it down.
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!
Give him a break!
Now let’s talk about the other extreme!
If you’re a very active person and you’re constantly on the go, your pup gets tons of exercise and you’re having friends over on a regular basis, your dog might also just be exhausted!
If you think this is the reason for his spontaneous hyperactive behavior, then give him a break. Install a “calm room” where he can always go when it’s getting too much for him. The best thing is to also install a crate in there where you can put him if he can’t control himself.
Separate activity hours and sleeping hours
This has also worked great for us!
Dogs love routine and will happily adjust to yours if they know how it works. When Baloo was still a puppy, I stopped playing with him when we were inside. Playing games such as tug of war would just excite him even more, so it was absolutely counterproductive! However, I still wanted to play with him sometimes. Playing is important to strengthen the bond between you and your pooch and Baloo loves it. So, my solution was to only play active games when we were outside. We would still play scent games inside on rainy days because this is a calm activity.
This is a great way to teach your dog that outside is the “active zone”, while inside is the place to rest and relax.
I highly recommend that you only do any sort of physical exercise when you’re outside. If your dog is having the zoomies and you would like to let him get rid of his excess energy, let him run outside! But don’t play tug of war inside, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll calm down like that.
Most dogs that are hyper and restless show this behavior because they think this is the right way to behave.
If it occurs all of a sudden, however, it’s most likely that your dog doesn’t know how to deal with a situation. Something’s uncomfortable or he’s overwhelmed.
What helps in most cases is for you to stay calm and for your dog to get enough mental and physical exercise. These are key parts for a happy and even-tempered dog.
And lastly, show your dog that inside your house or flat is a “no-activity-zone”.
If you observe all of these measures, I am sure your dog will manage to calm down very quickly.
How do you get your hyper or restless dog to calm down? Any other suggestions?
P.s.: Don’t forget to check out Braintraining4dogs if you want to take your dog training game to the next level. It offers a 60-day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.