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24–27 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

How to Help Your Puppy Through His Fear Imprint Period :: Prevent Future Health Issues by Screening Your Dog Early :: What to Do With a Frenzied Puppy :: A Guide to Advanced Obedience Training

What to Do With a Frenzied Puppy

You're standing in the kitchen when a blur of a fur ball runs between your legs, circles at the wall and runs back from whence he came. You figure it must be the puppy but it makes no sense - he's never done this before.

What do you do when a calm puppy is suddenly in a frenzy, as if he had a bee in his bonnet (or on his bum)? It's a common problem at this age. Your puppy is having something similar to a toddler's tantrum. He is causing havoc partly because his hormones are racing but also to get attention because he's bored and, again, to test you. He also has an excess of energy which you might recall from being a child.

Warning signs that a frenzy is coming on include puppy's eyes becoming glazed and his lips curling back a bit, baring teeth. He may also tense his muscles and crouch as if preparing to run. Any puppy at this age who has been quiet for a long time is ripe for frenzy. The first stage of this state is your puppy suddenly rising from a dormant state and immediately taking off.

The amount of speed puppies can get up to in a few seconds is astounding and sometimes means a painful blow to your shins. First, we need to understand exactly what a frenzy is and then look at how to avoid it.

More Ways to Recognize a Frenzied State

  1. A frenzied state, or cycle, is more than a puppy running into a room. It becomes almost obsessive and involves movement in circles and often all over the house.

  2. Your puppy's mischievous nature now takes over and he may try to tackle you or steal things from you and taunt you with them.

  3. It could escalate at this point to destruction of the stolen items, the rug, even the couch. You also might receive a play bite. Your pup is acting like a small tornado.

  4. The frenzy will eventually peter off with exhaustion. Your puppy will collapse and pant heavily and look at you in pure innocence.

Avoiding a Frenzied State

  1. The best solution is to avoid this state completely or, at least, to nip it in the bud at the very beginning when he's just risen.

  2. The crate is your friend here. When you see the warning signs, calmly put him in his crate with a good chew toy.

  3. Don't crate him too long. What he really needs is exercise to burn off the excess energy.

  4. If you're not a crate user, you can distract your puppy with obedience training. Do this for at least ten minutes, then give your pup a favorite toy.

If your puppy gets going before you see it coming, gently grab him by the collar and place him in his crate or yard. Make certain you stay calm and only reprimand him mildly. This is natural, almost unavoidable, behavior for a pup his age and he's not going to understand why it's wrong. The trick is to trick him out of it. But do offer him alternatives as leaving this behavior unchanged can result in problems later in his life and will take more training to resolve.

Luckily, most of us know what it feels like to be in a frenzy when a project is due in two hours or you go to a sale on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It's not a pleasant feeling for us and it's not for our puppies either. So, be patient and quick-acting and you'll be able to keep him calm and save your shins.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

You can't crate a tornado

It makes no sense to me to pen up a puppy suffering from an excess of energy. He needs to be helped to find acceptable ways to burn it off!

Now is the time to add an extra walk after dinner (if the zooms hit in the evenings), or run around/toss a ball in the yard.

~Denise B. , owner of a Cavalier King Charles Spa

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