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How to Calm Down a Hyper Dog! 5 Tips That Really Work | Pupford

January 11th, 2024

Filed under Pet Parenting

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Trying to calm down a hyper dog can be extremely difficult and frustrating! And don't even get me started on hyperactive puppies!

Sometimes it seems like their energy never ends... yikes.

In this article (with the accompanying podcast and video), we'll break down 5 ways to calm down a hyper dog or puppy. These tips are effective, simple, and should be implemented right away!

Here are the 5 effective ways to help calm down your hyper dog.

  1. Mental Exercise
  2. Place/Settle Training
  3. Physical Exercise
  4. Trick Training (PS- if you need help with the training basics, check out our 100% free app)
  5. Impulse Control

Listen to or watch this episode for a full breakdown of each tip. And remember, all of these 5 tips must be done every single day.

Yep, you read that right.

Every. Single. Day.

Podcast Episode of How to Calm Down a Hyper Puppy

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YouTube Video of Hyper Dog Episode

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A Poll of Your Experience with Calming Down Your Dog

What has been the most effective way that you've found for calming down your dog? Vote in the poll below 👇

Overview of Ways to Calm Down a Hyper Dog

Remember, dogs have been bred for 1,000's of years to have high amounts of energy. So, never forget the power of giving your dog a job and making sure their physical and mental needs are met.

And while it can be difficult, that what you see as a high-strung dog might be part of their normal breed and behavior!

Here are the 5 effective tips to calm your dog down.

  1. Mental Exercise
  2. Place/Settle Training
  3. Physical Exercise
  4. Trick Training
  5. Impulse Control (PS- if you need help with this, check out our 21 Impulse Control Games)

Related Reading: My Dog Is Driving Me Crazy!

Mental Exercise

puppy getting mental exercise to help them be more calm and less hyper | Pupford

When we say 'mental exercise' (aka, enrichment for dogs), we're referring to games, puzzles, or behaviors that work your dog's brain!

Mental exercise is one of the most effective ways to help calm your dog down.

Here are some popular mental exercise ideas for adult dogs and puppies ⤵️

  • Puzzle feeders and games
  • Hide and seek
  • Foraging boxes
  • Obstacles courses

Those are just a few, but the main idea is to make your dog think!!

For more in-depth ideas, check out this article about mental stimulation for dogs.

Place/Settle Training to Help a Dog be Calm

Wouldn't it be nice if you could tell your dog to go to their 'place' and they would do that instead of jumping up on guests?

With practice and consistency, it is 100% possible!

Here is a basic breakdown of how to teach a dog place: ⤵️

  1. Using a mat or bed, lure your dog onto it
  2. When they step onto the place, mark and reward
  3. Repeat and slowly only starting marking and rewarding once all 4 paws are on the place
  4. Once your dog understands the concept, reduce the lure and start introducing the cue word of 'place'
  5. Repeat and then start luring your dog into a down or a sit while on their place
  6. Over time, only reward once your dog is laying on their place
  7. After your dog understands this concept, start adding a delay in giving the reward. Gradually increase this time so your dog understands that 'place' means staying on that place
  8. Practice this behavior by adding distractions, distance, and especially duration

The "place" behavior can be a wonderful replacement behavior for barking at the door, jumping on guests, or even nipping and biting!

For a more in-depth breakdown with accompanying GIFs and "Levels of Completion" check out 21 Impulse Control Games, part of Pupford Academy!

Physical Exercise

Dog and human running on trail | Pupford

NOTE: Be sure to not give a young puppy too much physical exercise. Consult your vet. Generally, you can exercise your dog 5 minutes for every month of age, twice a day. So a 3-month-old puppy can be exercised for 15 minutes twice a day!

Just like humans, dogs need exercise. They've been bred to 'work' over centuries of time.

Dogs NEED a physical outlet.

You cannot expect your dog to be content in a home all day long.

Here are some fun physical exercise ideas ⤵️

Stuck indoors? Check out indoor exercise ideas here.

Ensuring your puppy has plenty of age-appropriate exercise can help to calm down even the most hyperactive dog out there!

🐶 Don't miss out! Sign up for a 100% free online dog training course, 30 Day Perfect Pup with Zak George. Get access to videos & daily tips covering biting, leash walking, potty training and more! Sign up for free here! 🐶 

Trick Training

corgi doing a trick | Pupford

Dogs are amazing. With enough practice, you can teach them almost any trick. Seriously!

Here's a quick how-to on teaching "spin".

  1. With your dog standing, place a treat close to their nose
  2. Slowly lure your dog in a circular motion (keeping it close to your dog's nose is the key)
  3. Start by marking and rewarding when your dog does a half spin
  4. Gradually move up to a full 360-degree spin
  5. Once your dog has a grasp, start to introduce the cue word of 'spin' as your dog is doing the motion
  6. As your dog gets more comfortable, decrease the usage of a treat as a lure and instead use a hand motion (you should still reward when your dog completes the spin)
  7. Eventually, you can give just the hand signal or cue word "spin" and your dog will do a full 360-degree spin

As we said, the number of tricks you can teach is almost endless.

For access to over 40 (yes, 40) different tricks, purchase access to Pupford Academy today!

The beauty of dog trick training is that it not only gives your pup some mental exercise to help tire them out, but it really can improve your bond and communication.

Give your dog something to focus on with tasty soft chews, and improve their cognitive health with our Cognition + Focus Supplement for Puppies. 

Impulse Control Training - The Key to a Calm Dog

Ah, impulse control... the ability to not act instantaneously to an impulse.

Related Reading: 4 Impulse Control Games for Dogs

Let's be real, it's hard for us humans. Imagine it for a dog!!

Generally, when we refer to impulse control for dogs, we're talking about a dog not bursting through doors, snatching food that is dropped, chasing every squirrel they see, etc.

Our dog's impulse control truly is like a muscle. We have to constantly train it so that it keeps its strength.

Here's a quick little game you can play to help teach impulse control.

  1. Grab your dog's bowl of food and get them into a sit position
  2. Slowly lower the bowl to the ground
  3. If your dog doesn't move toward it, mark and reward
  4. If they do move toward it, raise the bowl back up
  5. Keep repeating until you can place the bowl on the ground without your dog moving toward it
  6. To take it to the next level, teach your dog to 'wait' while the bowl is still on the ground and before they go to get it

For even more fun impulse control games like that, check out 21 Impulse Control Games, part of Pupford Academy.

Extra FAQs About Hyper Puppies & Dogs

a hyper puppy rolling on the grass | Pupford

While we hopefully gave you some actionable tips for calming your pup, let's dive into some other frequently asked questions!

How to Train a Hyper Dog

When it comes to training a hyper dog, utilizing their energy is key!

While that may seem counterintuitive, hyper puppies are often very motivated by play. So, try using play as a reward! 🎾

The best way I found to teach my reactive dog a proper recall was by using fetch as the reward. I could not get her to focus outside until we started using the ball as a reward.

Once we did, it was like a switch was turned on in her brain! 🧠

Here are some other tips for training a hyper dog or puppy 👇

  • Do your training sessions after proper exercise
  • Focus on rewarding the positive and calm moments, especially when your dog chooses to be calm on their own
  • Use play (fetch, tug, etc.) as a reward during training sessions
  • Try different times of the day to find when your puppy is naturally the calmest (it is often toward the end of the day)
  • Ensure you're working on new behaviors inside the home FIRST, not outside
  • Make sure your dog cares enough about the reward, high-value treats matter

Remember to stay patient and be consistent. Training a hyper dog takes a lot of time, patience, and practice!

🐶 Don't miss out! Sign up for a 100% free online dog training course, 30 Day Perfect Pup with Zak George. Get access to videos & daily tips covering biting, leash walking, potty training and more! Sign up for free here! 🐶 

Why Is My Dog So Hyper?

a hyper shepherd dog chasing a frisbee | Pupford

Understanding why your dog is hyper can help you properly overcome and train that hyperactivity.

Dogs are hyper for many reasons, but here are a few👇

  • Certain breeds have more energy for jobs they were bred to accomplish (herding breeds, hunting dogs, retrievers, etc.)
  • Your dog may be undersocialized, especially in the socialization period as a puppy
  • They may need more exercise, both physical and mental
  • Boredom
  • Lack of proper outlets for their energy (see exercise)
  • Not enough training, especially impulse control training

While that list is NOT exhaustive, hopefully it gives you some ideas as to why your puppy is acting hyper!

How to Stop My Dog from Getting Overly Excited

The key to training a dog to not get over-excited is to teach them what you do want them to do.

So, take a look at what your dog's overly excited behaviors are, and look at teaching alternatives.

Here are some ideas to stop your dog from getting overly excited ⤵️

  • If your dog jumps up on guests when excited, work on proper greeting behaviors
  • If your dog barks out the window, consider closing blinds/drapes and not giving access to the window
  • Try to give plenty of exercise before guests come over
  • Work on impulse control training, especially teaching the place/settle behavior

Above all, remember that an excited dog often just needs to be taught what you DO want them to do!

Recap of How to Calm Down a Hyper Dog

brown puppy running wildly in grass | Pupford

Hopefully these tips will help you think of new ways to help calm down your dog.

And the reality is, most days you'll need to use ALL 5 of these ideas to help your pup have less energy throughout the day.

If you need extra help with training your puppy, be sure to check out the 100% free (no cc required) 30 Day Perfect Pup Course here!

Any ideas we missed? Tell us in the comments below!

And before you go, check out even more resources below for helping calm down your hyper puppy!

(PS- Check out the full podcast transcript below the resources section)

Extra Resources for Hyper Dogs

Struggling with a hyper dog when you come home? Learn some tips here!

Long-lasting chews can be a great way to encourage calmness, shop our full line of chews here!

The secret weapon for calmer dogs, mental exercise!

Puppies are tough... Learn when puppies calm down here!

Full Transcript of Calm Down Hyper Dogs Podcast Episode


All right, everyone. Welcome to the perfect pup podcast. Another episode together. We are happy to be here. Today we're going to talk about five specific ways that you can calm down a hyper or excited pup. If you have a hyper pup, if you have a pup that gets easily excited you know the challenges that come with that. So we're going to give you some actionable tips to help you overcome that with your pup.


And for today's pupdates, I've got a cool little article here that we'll share in the notes. Disney is recreating Lady and the Tramp, because Disney is just recreating everything.


Like a live-action version of it?


I think it's still kind of like what they did with Lion King, where it's not people but it looks a million times better. What is that called? It's still animation


Isn't it live-action? Can I Google on this podcast? Keep talking, I'll figure it out.


He's going to Google that and figure out what it means. But for Lady and the Tramp, it's real dogs doing things, I believe.


Not CGI?


I think it's actual dogs, and I'm an idiot. This makes sense. It's actual dogs because the dogs that they have cast for these roles are rescue dogs. I believe all of them, definitely most of them are rescue dogs. Which is pretty awesome. I think it's cool. It goes along with the story of Lady and the Tramp, about dogs finding their way and finding their homes. I've never seen Lady and the Tramp in a long time. The only scene you really even know is the spaghetti scene.


Oh yeah. And I love making jokes about that actually. If I'm eating anything that has any length to it, I'll just make a joke with a buddy, "You want to meet me in the middle of this, like Lady and the Tramp?" It's a good joke. Try it.


It get a laughs like eight out of ten. Which is a good percentage.


And it catches people off guard.


So, go check out that article. And check out Lady and the Tramp because who doesn't want to watch a movie about dogs. So to today's episode, we're going to talk about, like Mike said, five actionable tips we'll give you five tips quick and then we're going to break down each of them. The tips are these:

  1. Mental exercise
  2. Place/settle training
  3. Physical exercise
  4. Trick training
  5. Impulse control

Those are the five that we're going to talk about. Let's dive headfirst into this. Let's go. MENTAL EXERCISE.


Okay. So, you've got a dog that is super hyper. A lot of times you think "Alright, how do I wear this off physically for them?" That's probably most people's first thought with that. Most people don't think or realize that if you wear a dog out mentally, I was gonna say emotionally but it sounds weird that way, like abusing your dog. Now if you wear a dog out mentally, that will help them calm down physically as well. I think that a lot of people don't consider that but it's a really important part of making sure that your dog has the ability to exercise all the muscles in their body, including the brain.


It's just like you and I. If you are sitting at home all day long and you don't do anything all day, mindlessly just like watching TV, number one, you usually just feel lazy physically, but also mentally, you kind of feel groggy, and you get too wound up by things and it's harder for you to control your emotions. So the mental exercise is so important. We could talk for hours about mental exercise, but a couple points we want to hit on is number one, don't skip out on mealtime as an opportunity to do mental exercise. I think so many pup parents, we've all been guilty of it at one time or another, we say, "Oh my gosh, I just got to get out the door. I just need to put the food in the bowl, get rolling on with my day." Maybe you woke up late or whatever.


I mean it's fine, inherently. It's not a problem.


Right. It's gonna happen sometimes. But when you have the opportunity to use mealtime as a way to engage your dog's brain, do it. Food is such a powerful motivator for dogs. You can do things like forging boxes where you hide parts of their food in different boxes. Or in puzzle toys, or in little brain game toys. There are so many ways that you can use a mealtime as a way to get that.


The other thing is using the kibble as a training reward too. That would be a great way to mentally stimulate your pup during mealtime. 


Try out different things. Snuffle mats, even just a Kong, you freeze part of their meal. There's so many different ways. Just another general tip on mental exercise, and we'll talk about this with physical exercise as well, but prioritize the morning. For most people, you're leaving your dog at least for some time at home while you go to work or school or whatever it might be. Making sure that they get that mental exercise in the morning before you leave them is super important. It'll help with a lot of those potentially destructive behaviors that sometimes pop up when our dogs get bored. I know that's kind of like a boredom side, but it's also going to ultimately help your dog be more calm even if you're there or not.


A good tip for that as well, you cannot over-do mental exercise. I don't think you can. I'm trying to think of some areas where you could.


I mean, if you did a 12-hour long training session, maybe. 


For all realistic scenarios, it's very hard to over-do any type of mental training. That's super valuable. So the next one is SETTLE or PLACE. A great way to get your dog to chill out is if you teach them place or settle, where they have a place where they can go and lay down, that will inherently calm them down. They'll have the ability to really take a step back from whatever situation is exciting them. It will remove them physically from what's exciting them as well. Most dogs will take nice steps towards calming down if they go to their place and they kind of chill out a little bit. A big tip for that is don't expect too much from your dog too soon. Start simple. Don't make them go to their place and have them sit there for 20 minutes or anything. Start easy with just five seconds, or three seconds. A very short amount of time. If you start simple like that and then work up, and start in different scenarios where they're more excited or less excited, but work into those more difficult situations and they'll get better and better at it as you practice.


Just continue to build on it, and eventually you will be able to get to the point where you can tell your dog to go to their place, they will relax for multiple minutes. Lots of dogs get to the point where they can just chill there for multiple hours until you tell them to leave. Like Mike said, it's a way for them to reset their brain. It helps them understand, "Okay, when I go to my place, I'm here. I'm laying down and I'm not jumping up on people. I'm just being calm." A really solid way to reinforce that with your dog is to give them tasty chews, or maybe it's a frozen Kong, or things that are going to help them be calm on their place. To really reinforce that this is where the really good things happen, number one, and number two, this is a time for you to just relax, calm down, hang out basically.


We've got a perfect example, with Doris, our dog. She loves meeting people.She's just so excited to meet the vast majority of people. If you get somebody with sunglasses on and dark clothes, or hoodie or something, she doesn't like it. It makes her nervous for some reason. But anyway, most people she loves meeting. So they'll come over to our house, and we'll have her go to her bed, we'll hand her a Kong or a chew that she doesn't normally get or something like that. By the time she finishes that she comes over and she greets way more nicely, rather than jumping on people or getting too excited.


Just in a better state of mind overall. I like it. Okay let's move on to tip number three. This is probably what you would think of first, like Mike said. That's PHYSICAL EXERCISE. We talk about it a lot, and there's a reason for that. Really, if you look at dogs and think about how they've been bred over the past hundreds of years, thousand of years, whatever, they've been bred to like have a lot of energy especially a lot of the popular household dogs, like the retrievers and the shepherd. They have been bred to do these jobs, to run all day long, and retrieve all day long, and herd all day long, and have the energy to do it. Although in the past two hundred years they've become more of just pets in the house, they still have those inherent genes and desires to run, and do the jobs, and be moving around, and accomplishing things. So you cannot underestimate the power of physical exercise. Don't just think, "Okay, I need to take my dog out on a walk." and that's enough exercise. It's often not enough. You need to do more rigorous activities, like playing fetch, playing tug-of-war, using a flirt pole, going jogging, going hiking with your dog, things that are gonna get their heart rate up. Just like you and I. If you and I went on a walk around the block, we would come back and your heart would be up a little, but you wouldn't be panting, you wouldn't be super tired. Whereas if we went out and did wind sprints, you're gonna be feeling it. It's the same thing with your dogs. Really get them moving. Get them physical, like moving around. And if you can combine both, like mental and physical exercise into one, like with fetch and even tug toys and flirt poles. That kind of gets both at one time, that's where you really start to unlock the calm side of your dog after you're able to do those things.


For sure. Just like with humans, the more that you exercise your body, the clearer your mind is going to be. There's multiple reasons why they say "a tired dog is a more trainable dog." So, especially if you have puppies, you're working through that training time. If your puppy is tired, they're gonna be more compliant. Their mind is gonna be more clear and ready to focus on whatever it is you asking them to do, as opposed to "I need to get these pets." or "I need to chew that thing." or whatever else it is


Super important. One quick note, too, on physical exercise. If you have a puppy, the general rule is five minutes per month of age, twice a day. If your puppy is three months old, three times five minutes 15 minutes, twice a day. Again, that goes for rigorous exercise. That doesn't mean doing training in the house, or even going on light walks. That's more of the physical demanding exercise. That's typically to protect their grip plates and their joints, and just them as they're growing if they're still in the physical growth stage.


All right. We've got the next tip. Tip number four. TRICK TRAINING. The reason why trick training can be powerful for this is that it's a good mix of both physical and mental stimulation for them. When you teach you dogs cool tricks, you're friends are impressed as well.


That's probably the most important part.


It's like 50% why you own a dog.


Probably 51%


Yeah. Potentially. But really, it'sa great way to mentally stimulate your dog, in addition to that. Because they're having to think about all these new things. In addition to that, it gives them a little bit of that physical exercise as well. You don't have to start out with them doing all kinds of crazy tricks or anything like that. It could be something as simple as "spin" or "roll over" or "play dead." We taught Doris "bang bang." When you say "bang bang" she'll roll over on her back. It could be really simple tricks. It doesn't have to be anything super complicated. Practicing those types of things will help your dog get a little bit of mental exercise as well.


I think another important part of trick training in general is, I think a lot of times as pup parents, when we're trying to overcome these problem behaviors, we get into this rut of, "Okay, I've got to train my dog. They're kind of being a punk. They're doing bad things. I need to overcome this." It becomes this mentally exhausting thing for us as pup parents. It becomes a little bit too serious where we get overwhelmed and we're frustrated. The trick side of things, it's a good way to break that up. If you're in a 10-minute training session where you're working on "stay", and your dog is struggling, break it up and go do a minute or two of trick training. Get them to do "spins" and "roll overs" and keep it light and fun. Then step back into the more serious side of things. Trick training really is a valuable way to help your dog calm down. I'm gonna put a link in the description of this episode. A video of a super hyper border collie. It set a world record for an agility course. This dog, you can tell, it just has so much energy. It is bouncing off the walls. The pup parent created this level of communication. Because agility is trick training in a sense. It's all about channeling your dog's energy into positive things. I'll show that link in there so you can watch that video. That leads us to the fifth and final tip, which is a combination of a few of these. It's IMPULSE CONTROL. Kind of a little buzz word. You hear it a lot on the internet. In a simple form, it's helping your dog understand how to control their impulses. How to wait, how to be patient.


Running through the door, waiting to greet people, going to their place, waiting to get their food. All kinds of stuff like that.


Understanding that those things can still happen, and they're still going to be able to explore and do all the good things that dogs like to do. But it's more of a "hey they're structure to this," "hey you need to look to me for guidance" and for saying "okay, go ahead and do that." It's all about them understanding that they can't just go wild and do whatever they want. They need to listen and focus. The power of impulse control is a lot of these are problem behaviors. If you're listening to this and you have a hyper dog, or a ton of energy, in your mind that's probably equating into your dog jumping up on everyone, and barking, and being reactive. A lot of those things is just a lack of impulse control. It's a lack of your dog not understanding that "I'm not supposed to do that,"  "I can't just go wherever I want, I need to be focused and pay attention to what my pup parent wants, and I'll still get the good things of the dog world." It's not about stopping them from doing things. It's just teaching them the right way, and how to wait, and how 

to be patient. Super important. It's a lifelong process, too. I just want to add that. Impulse control is one of those things where it'll take months, years of practice. You'll continually be improving your dog's ability to control their impulses. A little shameless plug on this, we here at Pupford have 21 Impulse Control games. They're like it sounds, 21 games that you can play with your dog. They're super fun. there's different levels that you can kind of progress through for your dogs abilities with these specific games. They're all gonna help with impulse control. Some of them are going to be more specific to jumping or barking or pulling on a leash or being reactive to people at the door. In general they're all going to help your dog gain better impulse control. We'll put the link in for you if you want to go check that out.

Related Reading: Reactive Dog Training


Those behaviors build on each other. Understanding one of those will help your dog understand all of them, and also understand how to behave in general. Just how to be better in general.


Recap, real quick. The five tips, if you are looking for ways to calm down your hyper dogs, do these five things:

  1. Mental exercise
  2. Place training or settle
  3. Physical exercise
  4. Trick training
  5. Impulse control

We gave you tons of awesome ideas. These are actionable. You can go start working on these right now, today.


Do it to it. What are you waiting for?


I love that phrase.


When's the last time you said that? I mean I feel like I haven't heard that since high school.


I don't really know what it even means.


Do it to it. It doesn't matter what it means. It feels good when you say it. You know that it's the right thing to say. And we will end on that. Everybody have a great week!


Subscribe, if you haven't already. Subscribe to the podcast. Subscribe on YouTube. Thanks so much for listening. Leave us a review. We will see you guys next time


See you.


Thanks much.


Thank you


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