Is Your Dog Hyperactive or Overly-Excited?

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An Excited Dog is Not A Happy Dog

There is a common misconception that many humans have about dogs which is that “An excited dog is a happy dog”. This could not be farther from the truth.

The reason this is a common belief is that oftentimes when a human is excited, they are also happy at the same time.  Dogs are different psychologically than humans in many ways, this being one of them.

When dogs are overly-excited, that emotion is paired with anxiety. When you understand that, it helps you understand that a dog who is excited is not a happy dog. This really helps you to stop reinforcing this state of mind.

Dogs repeat behaviours and states of mind that they receive positive reinforcement for.

The vast majority of dogs you see who appear to be hyperactive are actually not like that naturally. This behaviour is almost always created by the pet parents. 
Dogs repeat behaviours and states of mind that they receive positive reinforcement for. Positive reinforcement for a dog can be as simple as attention of any kind from their human. They will learn quickly that if they are over-excited or obnoxious, that they are much more likely to get attention than if they were calm and sitting by themselves minding their own business. 

This is why we see so many dogs that have become ‘over socialized’, meaning that they have learned that every time they see another human or dog, if they get overly excited and start jumping and pulling on the leash, that they will inevitably get attention from them. 

In order to stop this cycle, you must first figure out what it is your dog is getting out of being this way. If attention is the answer, you must make sure that when they are like this you are not giving the attention they seek. 

There are many different techniques to how to do this. Each dog will be different in which methods are successful in helping them understand this concept. What is for sure, is that if your dog is exhibiting a behaviour you don’t like, using treats at that moment is likely to make them believe that this behaviour is what leads to them getting a treat. Dogs are far too intelligent for this, and will always figure out the pattern that leads them to the food. 
This is why a one size fits all training methodology just doesn’t cut it. It really depends on your dog’s personality on what will and will not work.
Kristina and dogs

When working with dogs who are overly excited (or who have what's called impulse control issues), I use a lot of calming exercises that will help your dog learn how to calm themselves when they get this way. Many dogs with this issue really struggle to turn off their excitement when they get this way, and so it is up to us to teach them how to do it.

The Hairy Dogmother

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  • Kristina is a knowledgeable trainer and resource. From the video call that I had with her, she was able to provide multiple training exercises to help with leash reactivity, setting home boundaries, and teaching 'settle' to my rescue dog. At the end of the session, she provided a detailed email covering the training exercises we had discussed during the call. She even followed up a few weeks later to see how we were doing! I would recommend her services to anyone!

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  • My family adopted a rescue this past February who was quite leash reactive. We heard about Kristina through a friend of a friend who hired her as a trainer. Kristina taught us the foundations to teaching our dog that we are his protector. From there she taught us how to redirect his reactiveness. Today he is walking by my side beautifully and rarely reacts to another dog. I have even had people come up to me saying how well behaved my dog is.

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  • We got a rescue dog a little while back and we were having some minor behavioural issues with him and he seemed to have no training as well. Kristina was very professional and patient with not only our dog Willi but also with us, she helped us notice behaviours and explained why he had them and set up an easy to follow training routine for him. Willi has come a long way in the short time we had him. I will continue to use Kristina’s services and I and Willi think she’s great.

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