Crazy Puppy Zoomies: Wild Running, Jumping, and Biting
What do you do when your puppy or adolescent dog has the zoomies?
In my twenty-year career as a professional dog trainer, I’ve often had dog guardians ask me why their puppy runs crazy like a devil dog daily, sometimes twice a day. The puppies are running so fast that their back legs often end up at the front of their body, looking like some weird creature. This is often accompanied by jumping on furniture, grabbing pant legs, mouthing hands, and even knocking children over. How often are pet parents asking me? About once a month! That frequency in itself should help those unsure about this crazy dog behavior realize it is normal. No, your puppy is not possessed by Satan!
3 Tips to help you survive the Puppy Zoomies
The good news is that it’s typically a puppy thing. Meaning, after about a year of age, a puppy does this behavior less and less. Of course, that also means your cute little puppy is definitely turning into an adult dog. No more sweet puppy breath.
- Predict: If you can guess when a puppy zoomie will happen, you can get ahead of it. Typically, puppy zoomies are in the morning and evening. Say your puppy usually has a goofy puppy zoomie around 9 am. Then, at 8:45 am, you are going to help get that zoomie out, so you can control it, to some extent.
***If you prefer to have your puppy run and race outside, then about 15 minutes before a typical zoomie, take your dog outside with your props (#2). If your puppy happens to start racing around the house before you get outside, encourage your puppy to go outside with you, by calling his name and running outside. If you don’t have a fenced-in yard, attach your puppy’s long leash on him for your outside romp.
- Toys: If you want to help teach your puppy not to mouth or bite you, then it’s your job to show him where to put those sharp puppy teeth. By this time, you probably have a good idea of what dog toys your puppy likes to fetch and chew.
***For this exercise, typical puppy toys are soft, but your puppy will be the final judge on what is valuable and worth the effort. When you take your dog to the place you want him to have his zoomie, grab at least four of his favorite toys. You will be tossing these toys and your puppy will be fetching, so consider that in your dog toys selection.
- The Zoomie Game: Now that you and your puppy are excited and in your preferred zoomie location, take one of his prized toys, wiggle it around, and toss it for him. If you have a good play relationship with your dog, he will likely run after the toy. As your dog runs after the toy you tossed, be ready with one of the other toys. After he grabs the first toy and turns around toward you, wiggle the second toy. He will then likely start running toward you, either with or without the first toy, it doesn’t matter. When he’s about 5′ from you, toss that second toy in the direction he’s running, so he’ll run PAST you to the new toy. As he’s running to get that second toy, run in the opposite direction with the third toy. When he looks toward you, again, wiggle the toy and get him excited about it. As he’s running toward you again, repeat the toy toss in the direction he’s heading.
***Now that you are orchestrating where your puppy will be running and focusing his puppy teeth on appropriate toys, your puppy will be less likely to jump on you or mouth your hands or pants. Now, just like with anything, it may not be perfect, but with practice, you and your puppy can appropriately get through the puppy zoomies with less mouthing and jumping.
On a final note, please make sure your puppy has a good potty break prior to going back into the house. Most puppies will have a bowel movement after puppy zoomies, so be prepared. Remember to enjoy puppyhood, because they are never with us long enough.
Have you experienced The Puppy Zoomies?
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