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Hell, I know those hyper doggy nights!
My Mini Poodle Baloo used to be hyper pretty much all the time when he was younger! And the night was no exception.
I have no idea where he got all this energy from. Especially because he didn’t sleep much during the day, either. I was so glad for his crate, this was literally the only place where he was able to settle.
But of course, not before throwing a little puppy tantrum 😉
There are a number of reasons why your dog is hyper at night. The most common reasons are: he didn’t get enough exercise during the day, sleepy tantrum, he’s getting the wrong food before bedtime, he isn’t used to sleeping at night, yet or the behavior has been encouraged by you as the owner.
Let’s take a closer look at that.
Why Is My Dog Hyper at Night?
You’re ready to settle down for the night, but your dog has zoomies and you can’t seem to find his off switch. What’s going on?
There are a few reasons why your dog might be refusing to lie down in his bed for the night. We’ll go over some of them today, along with some solution to help tucker your pup out so you can both get a good night’s rest.
He Didn’t Get Enough Exercise During the Day
It’s important that your dog gets enough exercise during the day. If he doesn’t, he might terrorize you at night to get rid of all his pent-up energy.
Some breeds need less exercise than others. A Pekingese, for example, is a much more laid-back breed. Your yellow lab, on the other hand, could really suffer if he isn’t getting enough walks or playtime.
It’s generally recommended that you should make sure your dog gets at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Of course, more or less will be necessary depending on each individual dog.
For dogs with a lot of energy, I’d definitely do more. I walk Baloo for at least 1.5 hours per day, split up in 3x 30 minute walks. Additionally to that we have Agility training once or twice a week and I also take him on 1-hour off-leash walks at least every second day. And of course hiking and backpacking trips about twice a month in summer.
So, as you can see, he needs a lot of activity to be calm and relaxed! To learn exactly how I got Baloo to become more chill, make sure to get my free guide for a calm dog. This is where you’ll learn the exact 3-step process that worked like a charm for us!
Now don’t just stop at physical activity. Tiring your dog out mentally is equally as important. Make sure to include some games that work out your dog’s brain, too.
Here are some more articles to get you started with mental stimulation:
- How to mentally stimulate your dog
- 21 fun things to do with your dog at home
- Do dogs get tired? Complete guide for a relaxed dog
It turns out kids aren’t the only ones who throw tantrums when it’s time to go to bed. We’ve all seen our own kids or relative’s kids throw sleepy bedtime tantrums. If your dog is running around, barking and complaining around bedtime, he could be throwing a tantrum.
Usually the reason both kids and dogs throw these tantrums is because they’re overtired. Your dog is so tuckered out he’s losing his self-control and throwing a fit!
In this situation, it’s important to be patient. Don’t raise your voice, since that will just stimulate your dog even more and could worsen his tantrum. Make sure you have a sleep schedule implemented, since that will help him settle down.
And, just like toddlers, don’t give in to the tantrum!
Tantrums are particularly common for puppies. Check out these articles to learn how to deal with that:
- 10 overtired puppy symptoms and what to do about it
- Overtired puppy biting – change your little shark into a loving puppy
- How do I get my puppy to sleep longer
He’s Getting the Wrong Food Before Bedtime
Another reason your dog is acting up at night could be his diet. It’s possible you’re feeding him too late in the evening, in which case try feeding him a couple hours earlier instead. It could also be the food himself affecting him.
Make sure that your dog’s diet doesn’t include too many carbs or sugars. Lots of packaged dog foods include far too many carbs for your dog’s actual needs. This is because carbs are cheap and easy to get.
You should also keep track of how much protein your dog is getting. If your dog is already pretty high-energy, having too much protein could push him into hyperactivity.
There are some general rules in terms of diet depending on your dog’s breed and size. But each individual dog is different, so it might be some trial and error when figuring out your dog’s diet.
He Isn’t Used to Sleeping at Night, Yet
If you have a new puppy or a rescue dog who won’t settle down at night, it’s likely he’s just not used to it! All he needs is a routine, and soon he’ll be sleeping all through the night like a log.
Check out Dogpackr’s previous article for some tips on getting your puppy to sleep through the night!
In my free guide for a calm dog you can also learn more about how a good routine can be the key for a relaxed dog.
You Encouraged It
Knowingly or unknowingly, it’s possible that your dog is acting hyper because you’re encouraging that behavior.
Dog’s communicate through body language instead of speech. So the way you react to your dog’s hyperactivity determines what he thinks you like.
If your dog is acting hyper, and you’re giving him affection to try and calm him, that just tells him that behavior gets him attention. Likewise, if you start yelling, that will encourage your dog to yell or bark too!
If your dog is acting way too hyper, don’t give him the attention he wants. Only reward him if he’s being calm and quiet. This will show him that you like when he’s settled down.
How to Calm Down a Hyper Dog or Puppy at Night
Now that you understand what the possible reasons for your dog’s hyper behavior at night are, let’s look at how to calm your dog or puppy next.
Ignore the Behavior, Most Puppies Will Grow Out of It
The good news is, if your new puppy is acting hyper at night, he’ll most likely grow out of it. This is assuming, of course, that you aren’t encouraging the behavior.
You can help speed up the process by ignoring him when he’s acting out, and rewarding him when he’s calm.
Reward Calm Behavior
To elaborate further, you can use positive reinforcement to help show your dog what you like. If you dog is running around and barking, wait until he’s stopped and his quiet for a few seconds. Then, treat him and tell him “good dog.”
Positive reinforcement will make your dog associate the behaviors you like with positive things for him. Rewarding his calm behavior will show him that the way to get attention from you is by being quiet.
Here’s a complete tutorial on positive reinforcement:
Give Him a Chewy or a Kong Toy
Distracting your dog is another way to get him to stop acting up at night. If your dog is especially hyper in the evening, give him something to chew on, or a Kong toy. This will keep your dog busy, and get his mind working too. Plus, chewing and licking are calming behaviors that will make him sleep far more easily.
Just make sure you aren’t giving him these treats and toys while he’s acting out. Again, wait until he’s settled down and is quiet for a few seconds, and then give him the toy. This will ensure you aren’t accidentally encouraging the wrong behavior.
Make Sure He Gets Enough Exercise
You’ve probably heard the mantra “a tired dog is a good dog.”
This is a saying for a reason! Making sure your dog is getting enough physical and mental stimulation will guarantee he’s burning off all his energy before bed. If your dog is tired (but not overtired), he’ll have a much easier time settling down for the evening.
Make sure your getting your dog at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, or more if your particular dog needs it. Play fetch in the yard, go for a walk or jog, and add in some mental games like hide and seek.
It’s best to place those activities and playtime earlier in the day. I wouldn’t have your dog do anything super active right before bedtime. Because that can easily lead to him being overtired.
Set Up a Bedtime Routine
Dogs behave best when they have a routine. If you have a bedtime routine, then at that time every day your dog will know it’s time to settle down and get ready to go to sleep.
Implementing a bedtime routine will remove the unpredictability in your dog’s life. It will also help your dog sleep through the night, if he’s struggling with that.
In my article about puppy sleep there’s an example routine that should help your puppy (or adult dog) calm down.
Consider Getting Different Food
If you think your dog’s diet is what’s making him so hyper in the evenings, maybe consider trying different food for him.
Read the labels and check how many carbs, sugars, and proteins are in the food. Also, try to give your dog high quality food. It’ll be more expensive, but your dog’s digestive system will thank you.
You can also try making your own meals for you dog! They’re a great way to make sure your dog is getting all the nutrients he needs.
Let Him Sleep in a Crate
A dog’s den instinct compels him to seek out small, safe places to feel comfortable. Many people consider crate training to be unnecessary or even cruel. But the truth is that crates are great tools for helping your dog calm down and feel safe.
Getting your dog to sleep in a crate at night could help with his hyperactivity. By learning to associate his crate with calmness, when he goes to bed in his crate, he’ll settle right down.
Check out Dogpackr’s previous article for some step by step tips on crate training your dog.
You can also crate train an older dog by the way. So, don’t let your dog’s age put your off.
Train Him to Be Calm with BrainTraining4Dogs
This is an awesome tool that helps dog owners train their dogs. Not only does it help you teach your dog to calm down, it also covers basically every other behavioral problem under the sun.
This program is based on force-free training methods making use of your dog’s intelligence. With 21 brain games your dog basically learns to solve problems by himself. Especially the game “jazz up and calm down” is excellent for hyper dogs to learn to calm themselves down!
So, if you’re struggling to train your dog to be calm, consider investing in BrainTraining4Dogs. This will cost far less than visiting countless dog schools and trainers and is well worth the money!
Here’s a video of how Adrienne Farricelli cured a hyper dog’s jumping problem:
There are few things more frustrating than wanting to go to bed after a long day, and having your dog running around in circles unable to settle down.
The good news is, once you’ve figured out why your dog I acting up, you can train that behavior out of him.
Make sure your dog is getting the right kind of food, without too many carbs or sugars. Monitor his levels of protein, because too much can increase hyperactivity. Give him enough exercise during the day, both mental and physical. And use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior and steer him away from bad behavior.
With the right tools, mindset, and a little bit of patience, you can help your dog settle down at night.