Whether or not your dog deserves to be labeled as “hyper” depends partially on what your expectations for his behavior are. If you want, or were expecting the activity level of a Basset hound, and instead your dog has the energy of a Dalmatian, you may conclude your dog is “hyper”, even though her behavior is pretty typical for her breed and age.

A research study comparing owners who had surrendered their dogs to shelters with those who had not found that the former reported their dogs were more work than expected. So concluding a dog is “hyper” is to some degree quite subjective.

Many dogs need more exercise, playtime, social time and mental stimulation than they get. If your young sporting breed dog is crated all day while you are at work, and then wants to play play play when you are home in the evenings this should not be surprising.

There are dogs however, whose activity level could be considered “abnormal” for their lifestyle, age, sex and breed. Often, when dogs get labeled as “hyper” it’s not so much that they are too active, but rather overly REactive. Such dogs react with a “10” energy level to a “1” event. For example you say “Good dog”, and your dog becomes so excited she’s bouncing off the walls. At the same time, it may also be difficult for her to calm down once she is excited. Combined with what seems to be endless energy, no matter how long of a walk or run they get, or how long you play fetch with them, “hyper” dogs just want more.

Dogs with high reactivity, long recovery times, and lots of energy require very calm, very consistent training techniques. Physical corrections and/or loud verbal reprimands tend to excite them even more. To successfully manage a behavioral “hyper” dog you need to know how to use techniques other than punishment, “discipline” or scolding. Eliciting and rewarding quiet calm behaviors is the key.

Rarely, dogs can have a medical condition known as hyperkinesis. This is “hyperactive” behavior due to neurochemical imbalances. Only your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist can diagnosis this condition by monitoring your dog’s reaction to a stimulant. The condition is truly quite rare. We’ve seen only 4 or 5 hyperkinetic dogs in over 25 years of working with pets. The proper medication, prescribed by a veterinarian, along with behavior modification, can successfully manage this condition.

If your dog is just highly active and exuberant, meeting her behavioral needs and providing the right kind of training may be sufficient to resolve things. Review the product descriptions below that will help you.