That little canine bundle of love is lots of fun. Sooner or later, pet parents wonder how to calm a puppy down. It’s okay, too – puppies are a lot of work, full of energy, and require a loving role model to guide them in their formative months and years.
I prefer natural ways to calm a hyper puppy (the words hyper and puppy go hand in hand.) Like young children, each puppy is different. Each puppy reacts differently to the world, the environment, and the things they encounter.
Puppies need a way to channel their excitement. Scolding a hyper puppy is the equivalent of sticking your thumb on a leaky Hoover Dam and wondering why it doesn’t stop.
However, there’s a difference between puppies who are excited and need an outlet to expend their energy and puppies who are engaging in undesirable behaviors. These unwanted behaviors include chewing on your shoes or clothes, tearing into furniture, barking excessively, and jumping on you and your guests.
In this article, I share ways to calm a puppy down in different situations. Not only will you see a difference in your puppy, but your bond with your pup will also strengthen.
Disclaimer: I am an affiliate and brand ambassador of Pet Releaf.
How to Calm a Puppy Down
Before starting any new training, promise your puppy you will only engage in positive reinforcement methods.
Positive reinforcement training uses rewards, praise, toys, or a combination of all to teach your puppy the desired behaviors. Puppies don’t have the longest attention span, but that improves as they grow and are exposed to the world. Patience is key.
Positive reinforcement behavior rewards vary by the puppy. According to Zazie Todd, Ph.D., “For most dog training, food is the best reward to use. That’s because all dogs like food, and it’s efficient because you can deliver it quickly.”
Screaming at, spanking, hitting, pulling a collar, inflicting pain, or any other negative behavior is considered negative reinforcement or punishment. One of my favorite puppy trainers on the planet is Victoria Stillwell offers great advice.
Stillwell says the strongest relationships between dogs and humans are based on cooperation and kindness rather than a human dominance/animal submission methodology and outdated traditional training methods.
Positive training helps grow a connection between you and your puppy. When your puppy feels good about you, he will become a happier, more confident, and better-behaved dog.
Why Do Puppies Act Hyper?
Some breeds are inherently more hyper than others. For example, the Border Collie is a herding breed that loves to be on the go. They aren’t a breed for couch potatoes.
If you adopted a mixed breed puppy, it could be helpful to identify their genetic makeup and breeds. My favorite canine DNA kit is from Embark.
Most puppies are energetic because they are new to the world. The combination of genes and their environment combine to send their energy level into high gear.
Some puppies are more energetic and hyperactive than others, even puppies from the same litter. I had the fortune of watching my Cocker Spaniel puppy, Alvin, from the moment he was born until the moment we brought him home and beyond.
Here’s a quick energy level chart for the average puppy.
|Age Range||Energy Level|
|Newborn puppies||Puppies cannot see or hear, require warmth, and have no teeth|
|Birth – 2 weeks||Low energy, most feeding on mom, sleeping, and pooping|
|4-6 weeks||More energy and movement with each passing day|
|6-8 weeks||More exploring, running, playing with littermates, weaning|
|8-10 weeks||Little bundles of energy|
|10-16 weeks||Playful energy, exploring, teething, testing boundaries|
|4-6 months||Energetic, play fighting, learning group behavior, teeth coming in|
|6 months||Period of growth, surging hormones, energetic “teenage” stage|
|7-9 months||Pups may challenge you, increasing hormones, lots of energy|
|9-12 months||Settling into a routine, energetic may seem to forget housetraining.|
Before bringing a puppy into your life, be sure you are prepared for all the highs, lows, ups, and downs associated with the first year and beyond. Puppies are work, but they are worth it. They count on their pet parent to guide them, be kind, and create a safe and loving environment in which they can thrive.
What Activities Can I Do With My Hyper Puppy?
You probably want to get your new puppy out in the world and start exploring and training. You can do things with your puppy without putting them in harm’s way for canine diseases like parvo and distemper.
Getting your puppy properly socialized in those first 16 weeks is crucial. However, until he has a complete vaccination series, you’ll need to be careful about where you go and what you do.
I wrote an article called 100 things to do with a puppy in 100 days. It walks you through step by step of things to do in those pivotal first months.
The list is comprehensive, so don’t stop once your pup is four months old or so. No matter your puppy’s age, you can do these 100 things to help channel his energy and calm him down.
How to Calm a Puppy For Grooming and Nail Clipping
Depending on your dog’s coat needs, you may need the services of a groomer or learn to groom your puppy at home as I did.
Puppies aren’t always the most cooperative subjects for grooming or nail clipping. Here are some things you can do leading up to professional grooming to calm your pup:
Start touching your puppy’s feet, coat, and body as soon as they enter your life. Get them used to touch. Massage in between their toes, touch their head, their ears, their mouths, etc.
Brush your puppy and run an appropriate tool through their fur. If you have a Cocker, here are my favorite brushes for Cocker Spaniels.
Exercise your puppy to tire him out. A tired pup is a happy pup.
Do a trial run at home on your table or another elevated surface. Go through the motions of grooming. Do this in 5- to 10-minute bursts and slowly increase the amount of time.
Find a groomer that understands how to groom a new pup and has the patience to do so. Here’s my guide on how to find the right groomer.
Using Hemp Oil For Nervous Puppies
Many brands market their CBD and hemp oil products as high quality when they are cheaply made. Pet parents may not see a result.
I groom my Cocker Spaniel puppy at home, but he gets very agitated and hyper when I try to groom his legs and clip his nails.
I switched to Pet Releaf products. After just one hemp edibite chew, Alvin was calm, and I was able to groom his legs and clip his nails. If I want to add a bump to his dosage, I can give him two chews or use the Pet Releaf Ultra Releaf hemp oil for fast-acting results.
Pet Releaf is safe to use on puppies over six months of age in accordance with your veterinarian’s guidance. Pet Releaf is a high-quality, full-spectrum product that puppy parents can use.
Start with a low dose and follow the instructions included with each packet. Like many other Pet Releaf users, I discovered administering Stress Releaf about a half hour to an hour before I groom calms my puppy down.
Another Pet Releaf product I love is the Liposome Ultra Releaf which absorbs into the dog’s bloodstream three times faster than traditional oils. I plan to give this with food for about 15 minutes before grooming Alvin’s legs and clipping his nails.
Here’s a small dog CBD dosage from Pet Releaf that you can follow or contact their customer service on the Pet Releaf website.
Where To Learn More About Pet Releaf for Puppies
P.S. Because I fell in love with Pet Releaf products for my puppy, I asked if I could become a brand ambassador to help my followers save money as they discover the line. Visit PetReleaf.com and use code FIDOSE20 to save 20 percent on your orders. BONUS: Free shipping on orders over $75.
I wrote an article about why Pet Releaf hemp oil is good for dogs and not just in excitement or nervous situations. I plan to keep him on low-dose Pet Releaf products for life for good health.
You still want to work with your puppy, but Pet Releaf products are like a silent best friend working in the background during puppy training and beyond.
Ways to Calm a Puppy Who Pees From Excitement
Some call it pee-mail and others call it glee pee, but excitement pee happens when a puppy or dog gets excited from people, fear, or a situation.
Submissive urination is a very common issue in puppies and adult dogs. Submissive urination does not mean your dog isn’t housebroken.
Some puppies pee when they are excited, if they are scared at the veterinarian’s office, at fireworks, or if someone gives them attention.
Learn about submissive urination in dogs and how to help your puppy in the article we authored on this topic.
How To Calm A Puppy Down from Biting
All puppies will mouth, break teeth, and play-bite. Puppies use their mouths to communicate with the world in the way we use our hands and other senses.
By the time your puppy is seven months old, puppy biting should begin to stop. There are things you can do in the meantime to calm your excited puppy when he tries to bite.
Biting, in this case, is defined as play biting, not trying to take someone’s finger or arm off. If you’ve ever seen puppies playing, they teach their littermates what’s too hard. The littermate or mama dog will yelp out as if to say, “hey, too hard!” The puppy will back off.
In this way, you will train your puppy in the process of bite inhibition. You can make a high-pitched “ow” when they bite you. Some puppies may get more excited if it seems they associate “ow” with doing it again.
Walk away, calm down, game over, if your puppy keeps biting at you. Reward your pup with a treat and verbal praise if they back off.
Do not yell at or punish your puppy for biting. Puppies view this as getting your attention, and they may think that’s a good thing. It isn’t ever a good thing.
Give your puppy appropriate chew toys and treats, offer quiet time or a walk outside, and reinforce desired behaviors.
Once a puppy is past teething between five and six months of age, you want to discourage biting with bite inhibition or the services of a positive reinforcement dog trainer.
Fact: Puppies have 28 little razor-sharp teeth that hurt when they clamp down on skin. Puppy teething is normal.
Ways To Calm A Puppy Down at Night
Has your puppy ever had a case of the zoomies? They appear to run around suddenly and without provocation in the yard or house. Most of my Cocker Spaniels have had the zoomies over the past 30+ years.
There are a number of reasons puppies get hyper or wound up at night, including:
- Not enough daily exercise
- Boredom from being home alone a lot
- Separation anxiety and sadness
- Pain or discomfort
- Sleeping most of the day
- Trying to adapt to your schedule
- Not being taken outside to potty enough
- Lacking mental stimulation
Make sure your puppy is getting enough stimulation, exercise, mental activity, and one-on-one time with you.
Enroll your puppy in doggy daycare, hire a pet sitter to come over and play with or walk your puppy, watch your pup from a webcam to see what they do all day, get up early to tire your little one out, have someone check your pup midday, and don’t ignore your puppy dog in the evening hours.
Most puppies can’t sleep through the night until theta re about four months old. You need to take the puppy outside for potty breaks in the middle of the night.
Here’s how to potty train your puppy and what to expect.
Fun fact: Puppies require more sleep than adult dogs to grow. Each puppy has needs, and it varies by size, breed, activity level, lifestyle, and any medical conditions.
Mental Activities to Calm Your Hyper Puppy
There are a few fun activities the American Kennel Club has to offer that your puppy can get involved in.
Consider enrolling your puppy in an age-appropriate positive reinforcement class. One of the initial titles the AKC offers for puppies is the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy.
Your puppy gets to socialize with other puppies and will be enrolled for at least six weeks. The instructor teaches you how to best communicate with your pup.
Bonus Tips To Calm Your Puppy Down
Redirect Your Pup
Puppies have a mind of their own…they are driven by their innate curiosity and as such, it is up to us to guide them along. When inappropriate behaviors occur, redirect the pup.
I love “ah-ah” – a low-pitched and serious tone that is said when the puppy engages in something he or she should not. Trying to chew the couch? “Ah-ah!” On the flip side, reward and praise for positive behavior.
When training our Cocker Spaniel puppy, Dexter, we would say “good puppy” or “good Dexter” to reward and reinforce acceptable behavior.
Do not hit, spank, or punish a puppy, as this only reinforces fear, which is unacceptable.
Praise Puppies For Being Quiet
Praise your puppy for being quiet. Allow the pup to go into his “quiet” spot (i.e., kennel, playpen) while you are home, so he can see this is a good thing, and you like what he is doing. “Good puppy” is positive reinforcement.
Never scold a dog and put him in “time out” in his kennel or playpen. This teaches a dog that a kennel is a bad place. One of the keys in training my dog was to “think like the puppy.”
Imagine you are that puppy, a blank canine slate waiting and wanting to learn. If all you hear is “no” or “bad dog,” you aren’t much of a kind, caring pet parent, right?
But if you praise good behavior and assert patience with a kind demeanor, you are a rock star in your dog’s eyes.
Set a Training Time Limit
Keep training sessions short: 5 to 10 minutes at first are best. Practice and train your pup in an area with minimal distractions.
Yes, before photo shoots (a tired puppy is a cooperative puppy), before a vet visit, and before a road trip, to name a few.
Start getting your puppy used to a car as soon as possible. When our Alvin puppy was a few months old, he developed car sickness. We gave him Cerenia from our veterinarian during those times. If your older puppy fears car rides, use Pet Releaf in conjunction with car training.
If your puppy just isn’t cooperating and not doing the desired behavior, it isn’t that he is being spiteful or defiant: He is just being a puppy, and your behavior needs to be modified. Consider the task at hand and reconsider how you are training. Also, it could be the puppy isn’t ready for that task or is distracted.
End each training session on a positive note. Never get frustrated and simply walk away or give up. If the puppy cannot master a certain task in a training session, go back to one he knows, carry it out, praise him for doing so, and end the session.