Sometimes puppies get overstimulated during their training sessions. All of the new sights, sounds, smells, and, yes, even a bit of frustration can create a bit too much energy for your pup. It’s times like this when your puppy can lose it… Their eyes won’t focus on you, they want to play, they act like learning is the last thing they want to do. Don’t worry, nearly every puppy goes through this phase, much like a child and the terrible twos. Here are some tips on how to reset your excited puppy.
First, don't fret, life and excited puppies happen. Getting frustrated won't help and can cause your puppy to become even more frazzled. When your puppy 'loses it' you'll want to employ methods that break down barriers in a fun way. Here's are some tried and true methods that can help:
- The Laydown Method: The laydown method is a way to show your puppy some physical attention at his/her level. This method relies on the natural instincts of puppies to snuggle with their human… But in an organized fashion. The laydown method helps if a pup is confused-excited. You can tell because they just can’t seem to keep composure. They are fighting being frustrated and this will help make your puppy happy once It’s simple, really. Just lay down with your back on the ground and all four appendages spread out. Your dog will more-than-likely, come to you, licking your face. Don’t act excited or giggle, just treat the moment like a lite meditation session. Gently pet your pup in a soothing fashion. When you lay like this, and remain very calm, your dog will catch the vibe. It helps them reset, calm down, release anxiety, and experience stress relief.
- The Toss Treats Method: If your dog is losing his mind, behaving in a hyper and somewhat agitated, pulling manner, you need a way to quickly grab his attention. This is particularly true if your pup is somewhat frantic due to another dog’s presence or actions. Use the 'toss treat' method for these very rare times. For this method you'll need a very unique and special treat, think of something that your dog loves and save it for this method - liver treats tend to work like magic. To help reset and redirect your puppy, don’t give him the treats, you need to make it very different from what your pup has experienced. Have a special word and voice/tone used only for this time, I like to use the words “ta-da” said in a happy, louder-than-normal, sing-song, squeaky voice. When you say your word your pup will look at you, this is when you toss the treats gently up in the air so that they land at your pup’s feet. You don’t need to throw them far, the goal is to completely reset your dog’s senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, etc.,) so that he desires nothing more than what you have. This reset works great, and so you want to use it when your puppy is completely having a melt-down, typically due to another dog.
- The Go to Bed Method: This final step involves helping your puppy learn how to self manage when he goes a bit bonkers. Believe it or not, your puppy will learn how to do this once you begin to teach him how. The first part of the “go to bed” method is to recognize that your pup needs resetting and likely a time out session. Using your pup’s crate you want to use treats to get him to walk in and eventually settle down - hopefully to the point of relaxing and going to sleep. After you have your pup in his crate and had a few treats, use the ‘down’ training word to get him to lay down and continue to calmly administer small pieces of the treats until you sense the anxiousness has left his body. It is important to note that this method is never a punishment or a correction for dogs. Instead, it is a way to get your dog to calm down and reset after a particularly difficult training session. Therefore, the “go to bed” should be done with a happy face and tone.
How to reset your excited puppy is really easy to do with these methods. The trick is for you to stay calm, gentle, happy, and low-key. Your pup will pick up on your energy. All pups experience a bit of tension during training, it’s normal. Helping your puppy to reset helps strengthen your bond, and is a really good way to teach your pup positive ways to deal with frustration.