Another hurdle that we encountered after adopting Sasha was her general hyperactivity in the house. Though this was not too big of a problem and was the least of our concerns, it still is something that many dog owners deal with. I have a feeling that a lot of people would benefit from learning about what I did to help to manage Sasha’s hyperactivity and general zest for life.
Sasha’s hyperactivity manifested itself in both grabbing and stealing anything she could get her mouth on, and a general restlessness in the house. It seemed to stem from two things:
- Her age. When we adopted her, the shelter believed her to be about a year old: essentially, still a puppy.
- Being in a new environment. Any dog will take time to adjust to a new environment, and Sasha was no different.
I should note that the best remedy is to have a very well-exercised dog; an exercise routine is essential, and will help your dog, to an extent, to be calmer and more relaxed. Then, if they still display these behaviors, I recommend some of the following things:
- Puzzles and food toys. Although a dog’s body may have already been exercised, it is equally important to exercise their mind! By hiding treats or food in a puzzle or food toy, you are giving your dog something to keep them busy while also giving them much-needed mental stimulation. (For more details, read about what is so great about puzzle toys here!)
- Games. A game that Sasha loves is called “Find It!” For this game, I cut smelly treats into small pieces and hide them around the house. (When starting out, stick to a small area of your house; once your dog knows how to play the game, you can expand.) Then I say “Find it!” and she uses her nose to sniff out where the treats are. You can also play a version Hide-and-Seek with your dog; hold your dog in one room, while another person hides out of sight in another room. Then, say “Find (insert name here)!” and have the hidden person call the dog’s name. I think you will find that your dog catches onto this quickly and will enjoy using his skills! You will also see that dogs can get just as tired from mental games as they can from a long walk.
- Chew toys/Kongs/bones. When Sasha is extra excitable and has already been well exercised, we give her a Kong full of frozen peanut butter or a bone. (Read about my personal favorite, Primal frozen raw bones, here!) She has her own bed where she knows she is supposed to go when she gets a Kong or chew toy. Alternatively, you can give your dog some quiet time in their kennel while they have one of these things to keep them busy.
I also highly recommend that you be proactive! Note what time of day your dog typically gets hyper; then, before they start testing your patience, do something to keep them busy: grab their leash and go on a walk; play fetch or tug; or use some of the suggestions listed above. You will probably find that it is easier to keep them busy before they get crazy.
In the five months we have had Sasha, her hyperactivity has gotten a lot easier to handle. Most importantly, we discovered her favorite kinds of exercise, and the best types of exercise for her to let off steam. We have also purchased multiple food toys for the times that she does get super energetic, and have discovered which bones and food toys will keep her occupied for sufficient amounts of time. As with anything, though, it also takes time: she has grown up a lot since we adopted her, and already I can see that she is turning into more of an adult dog. So take heart, try a few of the suggestions that I made, and try to enjoy these puppy years while they last- because believe it or not, someday you will look back on these days and miss them!