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How to Calm a Hyper Puppy

puppy lying down calm on floor

In the years that I've been training puppies and been to so many homes to see hyper puppies, I've never been asked once to make a puppy more hyper or more excited. New puppy owners always ask me how to calm their hyper puppy. What can they do, or what can they not do to calm down their puppy when they have the zoomies around the house, they're jumping all over the furniture; they're jumping on everybody. They're play biting too much, and so on and so forth.

I've identified three things that are important t to achieve the goal of puppy calmness, it's mostly about trimming the fat or eliminating things you are doing that overstimulate the puppy. In other words, most new puppy owners unconsciously create and reinforce unwanted hyper puppy behavior. Calming, hyper behavior in your puppy is about doing less, not more.

Tip #1

Stop talking to your puppy so much with commands they don't know in a high-pitched voice. It's just gibberish to them, like Charlie Brown's schoolteacher, “Wah wah wah wah.” The words have no meaning to the puppy because a young puppy doesn’t know English. Their software has not been programmed. And even if it has, it's only going to know a few words such as sit, down, or their name.

When a puppy is super excited try not to say much to them because your voice is going to get them more excited. And here's what I experience when I go to new puppy's homes where their owners have overstimulated the puppy and created a hyper puppy with their voice. “Dixie, sit. Dixie. No, Dixie down. Dixie. Sit, sit, sit down off. Dixie, no, Dixie, stop. Stop. No, okay, down. Okay, Dixie, come. Dixie, stop. No, Dixie, no. Stop. Dixie.”

A better way is to minimize vocal commands, never repeat commands, and not use their name so much. A trick that I learned from acting classes is to be like John Wayne. In a hotel lobby in the 1970s, John Wayne gave Michael Kane one tip, and it was: “Talk low, talk slow, and don't say much.” Do you understand how this type of voice can calm down a puppy when they're excited versus this high pitch voice, which just gets them more excited, and then we calm them down with a low tone?

Even if you're a female, you can drop the pitch, slow your voice, and calm yourself down with your breathing. Your puppy will immediately get less hyper by about 50% just by changing your voice. I did a previous podcast episode on How to Speak to Your Puppy using these skills with your voice.

Tip #2

Stop touching your puppy so much because all that affection reinforces their hyper behavior when they are already hyper. When your puppy is calm and tired, save the affection for a life reward. You're reinforcing that hyper behavior because they are getting affection and attention from you just like they were with your voice, and that hyper behavior is being reinforced. Only give them affection when they're already calm, tired, and already in a calm state of mind.Use affection as a life reward after you've mentally tired them out from training or a long walk.

Tip #3

Ensure your puppy gets enough sleep, exercise, mental stimulation, and leash training. Also, be sure to put them on a strict schedule for discipline. One of the main reasons why puppies get hyper is that they're not on a strict schedule, there’s no leadership, there's no guidance, there's no structure. Check out a past article that I've done on Creating a Puppy Schedule.

In review, to calm a hyper puppy try not talking to them so much, not touching them so much, and make sure they get enough sleep. In addition, place them on a structured schedule right away and develop some leadership and discipline in their lives.


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