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"Hyper" - Out of Control Behavior

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.


Dogs that are active and reactive are more difficult to train than other dogs. If you want to be successful in your training, you need a more thorough understanding of how your Fido learns and of training techniques than the average dog owner. Our 4 CD audio program “How Fido Learns Best”, teaches you what even some trainers don’t know. Your dog will be part of your family for many years, and you will always need to be updating his training, so you’ll get years of value from this program. Any trainer you choose to help you should know the information contained in this program. So even if you decide to hire a trainer, this program will help you evaluate that person.

“Hyper” dogs benefit from lots of feedback about their behavior and being rewarded immediately when they are calm and in control. If you start “clicking and treating” your dog for these behaviors, you will be amazed at how quickly the behaviors you like occur more often. To get started right away, get our Clicker Training For Dogs Kit.

If part of your dog’s “hyper-ness” or out of control behavior occurs when guests arrive, our “Managing Chaos at the Door” audio CD is just what you need. This program gives you over 10 strategies to easily train your dog to sit quietly or engage in behaviors you like rather than annoying your guests.

Sometimes the simplest tools are the most effective. You’ll be amazed at how much information we’ve packed into two little booklets 76 Ways to Get Your Dog To Do What You Want and What Dogs Need and How They Think. Written from Fido’s point of view if you followed all the tips in these booklets, you’d have the best behaved dog on the planet! “Hyper” dogs have short attention spans, and these booklets are particularly suited to that need – doling out information in digestible tidbits for you to apply.

If your dog just needs more opportunities to keep busy, try Tug a Jugs and Bouncy Bones. These toys provide HOURS of fun for our dogs because they are refillable. No more having to replace squeaky or fleece toys that our dogs chew up sometimes literally in minutes. Watch these toys in action in our video!

Animal Behavior Associates - Helping Fido
4994 S. Independence Way
Littleton, CO 80123

Phone: 303-932-9095
Fax: 303-932-2298