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Canine Behavior/Puppy Hyperactive Following Walks

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Question
Hello Jody. I am a new dog owner and currently have an eleven-week old jindo hound-poodle mix named Buddy. Since he's young, I try to take him out for walks about every four hours. Sometimes though (usually late at night) after returning from a walk, he'll all of sudden become super active. He'll run around back and forth between the family room and kitchen(which is basically where I stay for most of the time while at home) really fast. Sometimes when he's in this kind of mood he might even want to bite me. I don't know whether it's because there's something that he wants from me, or if it's because he's forcing me to play with him. Perhaps the walks just simply are long enough. But I can't really say. So I'm just wondering if this is all typical behavior for same-age puppies like Buddy or if there's something that I'm not doing right. Outside of these post-walks he's actually a good, fun-loving puppy.

Answer
Thank you for your question and congratulations on your new furry family member. What you're describing is a totally normal dog behavior. Most dogs have two high-energy periods during the day - within the first couple hours of waking and sometime between dinner and bedtime. These are known as Frenetic Activity Periods. I just call them Puppy Frenzies. They are more high energy with puppies, though adult dogs will still have them as well.

Most dogs will have a couple of shorter bursts of energy throughout the day as well as the two major ones at the start and end of their day. Sometimes you'll see a last little burst. My terrier mix will often be sound asleep on the couch for more than an hour in the evening and then when I announce it's time to go to bed, he'll run to the room, jump on his bed, spin a few circles at top speed and dig at his bed before laying down and going directly back to sleep. This mini-frenzy only lasts about a minute as compared to a full puppy frenzy which can last from 5-45 minutes. As dogs get older, they frequency and duration of the frenzies will usually decrease, but even my late dog had mini frenzies once or twice per week nearly up until her last day at more than 14.5 years of age.

The best way to manage the Puppy Frnezy is to get ahead of it. By this I mean, note the window of time when it usually happens, and then rather than wait for the puppy to beign running at top speed and trying to play tug with everything in sight, you will instead begin a more structured game a few minutes before you expect him to go into a frenzy. If you can get 2-10 minutes ahead of the frenzy onset, then you can direct his energy into an "approved" activity - one that you'd like him to do.

You may play Tug with him. Let him win at least 50% of the time. Allow him to do the "kill" shake if he likes to, and even to vocalize (growl) during the game so long as it's clear that it's only part of the game and he's not directing aggression toward you. If he has a Drop command, you can practice that as well as Sit and Wait during Tug. This allows you to help him work on impulse control even during those very high energy moments. See the video link for an example of what that would look like: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4IAoyDu5brM
Note, the white dog in this video growls the entire time he's tugging, but as soon as I tell him "Drop it," he not only lets go of the toy but also stops making noise. This is part of how I know that his vocalizing is strictly part of his play and not an aggressive behavior.

If you have the space in your home, you can play Fetch with him (if he plays fetch). This allows him to run around, grab at something and return.

One of my favorite games for many dogs is the Laser Pointer. But, some dogs are more prone to developing obseesive compulsive behaviors than others. To minimize the potential for that, I have a couple of rules for playing with the Laser Pointer.
1. Periodically, while he's in one area chasing the laser "bug", drop/toss a small treat in another area, then make have the laser "bug" make its way over to and "land" on the treat. As the dog pounces to catch the "bug," you turn off the light and he eats the treat. This gives him something tangible to have caught.
2. When you're done with the game, make sure it ends with him catching the "bug" and then redirect his attention to another activity. That can be a long lasting chew (e.g. Bully Stick) in another room or in his playpen/crate, or it can be belly rub time or brushing time or perhaps you take him for his walk AFTER chasing the laser bug for a while.

In short, know that his behavior is perfectly normal and that if you can get ahead of it, you can direct that energy into an activity you'd prefer rather than just his random racing around. Though, allowing him to just race around can be entertaining as well. I will sometimes stand and just let my dogs run their circuit in my yard, and every time they approach me, I'll do a little playful lunge toward them to set them off another circuit around the yard.

I hope this information proves helpful. Please feel free to followup if I can be of any further assistance.

Jody, CPDT-KA, APDT
Los Angeles Behaviorist
http://www.NutzAboutMutz.com  

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, CPDT- KA, APDT

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IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 5 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at http://CashewsCorner.wordpress.com/ If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.

Experience

I have been professionally modifying behavior and training obedience for 7 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I have just changed the name of my business. It is no longer Good Dog! Dog Training. The new name is Nutz About Mutz!. If you see previous questions with the Good Dog! website information, that is my response.

Organizations
I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications
http://NutzAboutMutz.com ; http://CashewsCorner.wordpress.com ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

Education/Credentials
I have a graduate education in animal behavior and learning. (While I completed my coursework and did the requisite research, I did not defend a dissertation. I am qualified, but not certified and so technically not a doctor. This is commonly referred to as Ph.D.-ABD which means All But Dissertation.) My educational focus was with non-human primates, but my personal interest is with domestic dogs and their relationships with humans and other animals. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences.

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