How to Get a Dog to Contain His Overexcitement

by Luc Braybury
    Containing over-excitement in dogs requires halting the behavior before it escalates.

    Containing over-excitement in dogs requires halting the behavior before it escalates.

    Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    A dog in a state of overexcitement is experiencing a rush of emotion-fueled adrenalin and has lost his ability to respond to verbal commands that he may heed in a normal state. In a real way, he is unable to hear your voice when he is in a state of extreme excitement and must be taught gradually that being in this state brings him no benefit. Once he becomes conditioned to understand there is no reward for his hyperactivity, he will calm himself more quickly and you can get his attention more easily.

    Step 1

    Walk your dog at least 45 minutes every day. Dogs are naturally social and energetic and need the emotional and physical stimulation of regular exercise. Ignoring this need can lead to chronic overexcitement that is difficult to contain with verbal commands alone.

    Step 2

    Act calm around your hyperstimulated dog. Do not yell and act aggressively when your dog is overexcited; this can lead to further excitation. Instead, move slowly and speak in a low, even tone.

    Step 3

    Move your dog away from the source of his overexcitement. Try to keep a visual block between the dog and the thing that is exciting him.

    Step 4

    Ignore your dog whenever he becomes overly excited. Responding directly to your dog during these times only rewards him for his behavior. Avoid eye contact, verbal communication and petting to reinforce to the dog that jumping, barking and losing control result in no reward.

    Step 5

    Confine your dog to his cage or crate at the first sign of hyperactivity and have him remain there until he has calmed down. At this point, let him out and observe his behavior. If he immediately becomes riled up, put him back in his cage or crate for another "time-out." After enough repetitions, your dog will make the connection between his hyper behavior and the punishment of being confined.

    Step 6

    Reward your dog for good behavior by giving him attention, petting and treats. Use a combination of ignoring him when hyper and rewarding him when calm to help the dog understand that rewards are only forthcoming when he sits and doesn't bark.

    Tip

    • Practice reinforcing behaviors every day. The more exposure your dog has to these behaviors, the more quickly he will learn that becoming too excited results only in punishment, while acting calm and following commands results in rewards such as treats and attention.

    Photo Credits

    • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Luc Braybury began writing professionally in 2010. He specializes in science and technology writing and has published on various websites. He received his Bachelor of Science in applied physics from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga.

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