When your hyper dog starts acting crazy don’t lose your cool. How can you control your dog if you can’t control yourself?
Owning a dog is a lesson in self-control.
Just as with many other behaviors, the intensity of hyper and crazy behavior can be regulated. It can be increased or decreased. I discourage people from unintentionally reinforcing over active behavior. Reinforcement in this situation could be simply attending to the dog. If getting your attention is rewarding then ignoring the dog should take away one form of reinforcement. Remember ignoring your dog means no looking, talking or touching.
While ignoring the dog is better than rewarding hyper behavior there are more effective and proactive solutions.
Active extreme behavior and punishment
Some people try to punish their dogs during periods of hyper active behavior. The problem with punishment is it can lead to reinforcing an avoidance response. Punishment can also get an appeasement play solicitation response from the dog, which will actually make the dog respond more actively. The increased activity is caused by putting the dog under social pressure. When placed under social stress the dog will try to solicit play to break the tension caused by your aggression. When in a state of tension and heightened arousal, active behavior is self reinforcing.
If you’re training your dog and you have done the proper preparation (both for yourself and your dog), times of extreme activity can be great training opportunities. Preparation for you begins with having the proper mind set. The next step is to have any training equipment you might need ready and in place.
It is advisable to have equipment to deal with problems and emergencies that may arise. I would say that you should at least have a slip lead and food rewards for training at this time. It may also be a good idea to have a retrieve toy that can double as a chew toy.
I prefer using positive reinforcement for working through hyper active behavior problems. Especially when working with puppies. This will require having a rather high value food reward handy during times of active extreme behavior. If you believe only in force training, you will need a training collar and probably a light line and training tab.
For the first part of this series go to Hyper Active Puppy