Almost all dog owners will have to deal with an overexcited dog. Especially when it comes to puppies.
Dealing with an overexcited dog is like dealing with an overactive toddler, so we have to be calm and patient when calming them down. But if your dog’s excitement comes to the point where he can’t respond or hear you, there is a chance that he is already “over the threshold”.
Over the threshold is often mentioned during a dog training class, let’s learn more about this including 7 ways on how to deal with your overexcited dog.
Different Types of Dog Excitement
Knowing and interpreting the different kinds of excitement that your dog experience is important. It’ll help you understand and control your pet more.
A lot of dog owners find it difficult to know if their dog is excited-happy or excited stressed. Because both emotions may include signs like panting, tail wagging, perked-up ears, drooling, and whining making it hard to determine its emotion.
An example of this is when a dog has a closed mouth, a steady gaze, and pricked ears. It may mean that he is focusing intently on something, it may be on another animal or dog that may seem as a threat for him or on the food that you’re eating that he’s waiting for you to drop for him.
Whatever the situation may be, you can teach him with some of the techniques to calm a dog below:
1. Encourage Your Dog with A Calm Behavior
When your dog is in an excited behavior, do not encourage him and ignore it. The more you give him attention, the harder it is to keep him calm.
Only give him the attention and affection that he needs when your dog is in a calm and submissive state. Give him a treat if that’s what gets him motivated. In this way, he’ll instinctively learn to be in a calm state.
2. Feeding Time
When it’s time for food, most dogs will automatically get excited and might devour their bowl of food before it even reaches the floor.
This behavior can be easily managed. First, you’ll have to put him on a leash or just simply stand while holding his bowl of food. Next, lower the bowl slowly, if he tries to reach out. Retract quickly, say “No” and wait for him to calm down. Repeat these steps until he learns how to patiently wait until the bowl touches the ground.
3. Other Dogs or Animals
When you are having a walk with your dog and then suddenly he becomes rigid while looking intently on a dog or other animals like squirrels, observe him first. If he remains calm while just looking try to bring him closer to what caught his attention. But if he starts to lunge and pull on his leash, try to pull him away and avert his attention to you or with treats.
This can be seen as an aggression by others and can be dangerous if your dog gets away, it can be dangerous for your pet or the other animal once he catches it.
So avoid walking past the distraction while your pet is pulling on its leash, it will just encourage him further. Avert his attention from the distraction by excitedly calling on his name and giving him treats when he listens to you.
4. Before Taking a Walk
Once a dog owner mentions the word “walk” their pet will become overly excited and starts whining and jumping around making it hard for them to latch the leash onto its collar.
This can stop by trying to keep him calm by teaching him how to sit still, once he is calm enough slowly reach for his collar. But once he starts wiggling again, move back and wait for him to be still again. This will teach him that he cannot go out for a walk until he sits calmly.
5. Playtime with Limitations
Control the length and the intensity of the activity during playtime, meaning if your dog starts to get too excited, then it’s time to end the game. This will give your dog the idea that “if I settle down I get a treat” and “if I don’t then the treat will go away and playtime will be over”.
You can play with him with fetch, running him through obstacle courses, and by having him search the hidden treats that you hid around the place. This can keep his mind stimulated and drain his excess energy.
6. Tire Out Your Dog
The main reason why your dog gets overly excited is that of excess energy buildup, tiring out your pet will make it too tired to be excited and bounce around the house.
That’s why engaging your pet with playtime and giving walks is important, that way he’ll get to release his energy, stay focused, and stay connected with his primal instinct. In fact, not doing this regularly will just make him more and more excited once he gets the chance to play and walk outside.
7. Be Calm and Patient
Training and teaching your dog how to calm down isn’t an easy task, in fact, it comes with great calm and patience. Shouting at your pet when he doesn’t get what you wanted him to do will just make him scared or excited. Having a loud voice will make him think that you wanted to play with him.
Correcting your dog with a loud is only necessary when he is about to go on a dangerous situation, like for example, crossing a busy traffic. Also, you cannot calm down a dog if you aren’t. The emotion that you show will mirror on your dog.
For example, try calling your dog with an excited voice and by clapping your hands together, your pet will mirror it and gets excited as well.
3 Stages of Threshold
When you hear the word threshold, the first thing that you’ll think of is a groom carrying his bride. But in dog training, the definition of “threshold” is where the provocation is strong enough to cause a reaction on the dog.
Those reactions may show anxiety, happiness, fear, aggression or any kinds of intense emotional reaction towards a person, place, or an object. So for you manage the dog’s overexcitement is that he should be “under the threshold” for a more effective training.
#1: Under the Threshold
It means that the dog doesn’t show any sign of fear or any emotions towards the present provocation.
#2: At Threshold
In this stage, the dog may go from not showing any kind of emotions to showing some of them on the current stimulation.
#3: Over the Threshold
In this last stage, the dog shows obvious signs of emotions towards the object, place, animal or person.
Teaching and dealing with an overly excited dog can be hard if you don’t have enough patience. Remember, teaching a dog is like teaching a 3-year-old child. It’s important to keep calm and be patient and to know how to engage them with activities that will not only teach them but also drain their energy to avoid overexcited behaviors.
Try doing one or all of the ways above to help deal with your pet. It may take a while to see the results but as long as you don’t give up and keep on using them consistently, you’ll be surprised and excited at the same time once you start to see the expected results.