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Advice for hyperactive and anxious dog

825 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  DaySleepers
I have a foster dog who is extremely hyperactive. She's actually fairly well behaved in comparison to other hyperactive dogs, but the thing that stumps me is when her anxious side comes through into the hyperactivity. She is not a nervous dog by any means, but she is anxious. If that makes sense... Nothing phases her. She'll greet any stranger and be oblivious to any thunderstorm. But her hyperactivity can turn into what I can only describe as anxiousness.

She's not a dog you can just let wear themselves out and call it a day. She will go and go and go, likely until she truly can't go anymore which is what scares me. It can be 90 something degrees outside, this pup just ran around like crazy with her foster brother, she's panting like no tomorrow and she still just can't hold still. She's absolutely exhausted and gasping with every pant but she refuses to stop moving. She walks around almost mindlessly, will even trip over herself or anything in her way. If I manage to get her to sit (or rarely lay) down she's up a few seconds later aimlessly walking around with no direction or intent. She is the poster child of doggie ADHD.

My question is, what's the explanation/root for this behavior and what's the best way to deal with it? It gets in the way of training because she is often reckless, even to the point of self harm. Even if I know she knows how she should behave when she's in that state of mind it's like the outer world is a blur to her.
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Sounds a lot like how my poodle boy was as an adolescent. He was just always turned up to 11. A few things helped:
1. Bedtimes: being overtired only made it worse. If you popped him into a dark, quiet crate when he was really wound up, usually he'd fuss for a minute then flop over and fall sound asleep. (Mind you, we'd spent a bunch of time on crate training when he was a puppy, so he doesn't find crating upsetting.) He didn't want to sleep because there were so many fun things to do and so many things to investigate, but as soon as he was in a quiet boring safe place like a crate, he'd just crash.
2. Sit on the Dog: The Sit on the Dog Exercise • Canine Life Skills
3. Redirecting the energy: puzzle toys, games like hiding treats around the house, frozen stuffed kongs, working on a new trick, etc. all could interrupt his "busy" behaviors. (I actually found I had to limit "fetch," though, because he'd get obsessive about it and that would make him even more amped up - so it depends on what your dog finds engaging but not invigorating, I guess?)
4. Making sure he was getting plenty of mental and physical exercise.

Following several months of that, he's learned to settle on his own now without having it "enforced" by a crate or command. He's actually resting next to me right now. Much easier to live with now and I'd say he's happier.
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