All About Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity is often chalked up to a personality trait in dogs. In fact, many behaviors are. You may have a naturally calm and relaxed dog, a naturally hyper one, or a naturally aggressive one. But many of these “natural” states of being for your dog may in fact be due to unnoticed environmental factors. Hyperactive dogs may actually be suffering from anxiety. Aggression may be fear related or due to a feeling of possessiveness. A calm, relaxed dog is quite simply an owner’s dream come true!

Obviously, aggression must be addressed. Hyperactivity, on the other hand, is usually owner’s choice. Some owners can deal with the jumping, racing, counter surfing, tail chasing, etc. When circumstances change or the hyperactivity includes destructive behaviors like digging and chewing, it often becomes necessary to hire a trainer.

I was recently hired by a client whose hyperactive dog had begun barking excessively in their apartment building, in addition to jumping on any visitors to the home and upsetting rugs and small tables. The owner could handle these habits, but the neighbors could not, and they’d begun filing noise complaints. Although the owner didn’t realize it, I was able to observe during the in-home consultation that the dog, named Ivy, was actually dealing with a fair bit of separation anxiety. It was simply manifesting itself as hyperactivity.

To help Ivy deal with the stress, we implemented a training plan focused on structure. We began performing basic obedience training, practicing proper leash handling techniques, putting her on a structured schedule for daily events/activities, and training her to go in the crate when her owner had to be away from home. The owner was committed to keeping Ivy happy and in her life, so she even went so far as to hire someone to let her out, water her, and walk her every afternoon.

Ivy came to rely on this schedule and find solace in the routine, and after just a few months her anxiety and hyperactivity had noticeably improved.

If you’d like to address your dog’s hyperactivity, or you’re wondering if you should, let’s set up an in-home consultation. Call me today at 215.709.2560.