Puppies are certainly exciting animals to have around the house. One minute they’re snoozing comfortably under your feet, the next they’re rampaging around the house and looking for someone with whom to play. If you’re new to the world of puppies, your dog’s tendency to get excited in the early evening may catch you off guard. However, it’s a perfectly healthy habit for dogs to form, and has a lot to do with their natural patterns.
Dogs will generally adapt to whatever sleeping pattern you have, but if left to their own devices usually sleep through the night and midday. The morning and evening then are their prime periods for activity. If your dog spends his day in a crate or lounging around your house waiting for you to get home, his sleep habits will fill him with energy usually at the moment you return from work. Puppies, who spend a great deal of time sleeping, are especially prone to evening energy bursts.
Dogs experiencing sudden and frenetic energy bursts are common enough that there’s a name for the phenomenon: FRAP, or frenetic random activity period. If your dog launches himself over the couch, rolls all over the ground and starts throwing play bows your way, he’s probably experiencing a FRAP. When managed correctly, FRAPs can be an exciting and fun period for you and your dog to bond. If unsupervised, however, a dog may get into trouble during his FRAPS by finding his own activities.
While occasional energy bursts are normal for a healthy puppy, it’s important to focus these energy bursts in the right direction. Constructive playtime is a good solution; take your puppy out and work on some training basics while playing fetch or tug-of-war. This is also an excellent time to take your puppy for a walk or a quick jog, as he probably needs to go to the bathroom just after waking. What matters is that you find a positive expression for your dog’s energy instead of leaving him to find his own (possibly destructive) fun or reprimanding him for his natural enthusiasm.
FRAP events are fun, but you can limit their intensity by providing your dog with plenty of exercise. Dogs are most energetic after a long sleep, and respond well to long morning walks. If you can, have a dog walker come by during the day to let the dog use the restroom and stretch his legs a bit. An evening walk will give him one last chance to work the energy out. All dogs experience FRAPs from time to time, but if you’re seeing a daily pattern it could be a sign your dog needs more physical activity in his life.
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