How to Calm an Excited Puppy

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Puppies are often overstimulated by the world. They don't have the same experience as your adult dog and don't always know how you want them to behave. While puppies often will mellow as they get older, you should teach your puppy to calm down in exciting environments.

Ignore Unwanted Behavior

Dog owners tend to ignore their dogs when they are behaving and give attention when they are unruly. Instead, give your puppy attention when he is acting properly and ignore him when he is misbehaving.

For example, if your puppy is jumping on you when you get home, ignore all jumping. Don't push or yell. As soon as your puppy is sitting or walking politely next to you, greet him.

Teach Settle

Teach your puppy a command that means stop and settle down.

  1. Start by getting your puppy excited. Try running around, getting out a toy or jumping up and down.
  2. Stop and say "settle." Don't talk to or look at your dog. Turn your back on her if necessary.
  3. When your dog stops and looks at you with all four feet on the ground, praise your puppy and reward.
  4. Keep practicing until your dog can stop immediately.
  5. Have other people play this game with your dog so she learns how to calm down with other people as well.

Practice a Calm Sit

Most dog owners teach their puppies to sit when they get them, but they don't spend enough time practicing it. Once your puppy can sit, wait a few seconds before releasing your puppy from the command. Give a clear release command, such as "go free." This will help him learn to stay in place until you say it's OK.

Once your puppy can sit for 30 seconds or more, start practicing in distracting environments. Start with low levels of distraction, such as the backyard or quiet neighborhood. Gradually build to more distracting areas.

Practice with people walking toward your puppy as well. If he gets up when the person is approaching, have him stop while you get your puppy's attention again. Your puppy shouldn't get any attention until he can be calm during the entire approach.

Tip

  • When you increase distractions, remember to lower your expectations. Don't expect your puppy to sit long at first. Build up the calm sit in each environment. If your puppy can't handle it, be patient. Reduce the distractions if necessary.

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