How to Calm a Puppy Down · The Wildest

Skip to main content

How to Calm a Puppy Down

Yes, it is possible.

by Savannah Admire | expert review by Brittany Fulton, CTC
March 8, 2024
Dog training at leash with a puppy.
fotografixx / iStock

One minute your puppy is snoozing on the floor, and the next they’re running from room to room as fast as they can. These sudden switches in behavior can give new pup parents whiplash — and make it next to impossible to get anything done when you’re constantly worried about what your pet is getting up to. 

Puppies will be puppies, but if you’re feeling exhausted with all the running around, you can learn how to calm down a puppy when they get the zoomies (and hopefully get some relaxation time yourself). 

Why do puppies become overexcited? 

Remember that your puppy is new to the world, so everything is fascinating. Of course, they want to explore! But if your puppy experiences too many new things in one day, they may become overstimulated, overwhelmed, or even overexcited. 

In most cases, however, hyperactivity and overexcitement are a result of not enough mental stimulation, instead of too much. If your puppy feels bored, they may look for ways to keep entertained, which can be destructive, like chewing on furniture or other things they shouldn’t. Mental stimulation is essential for your puppy’s growth and development into a healthy adult dog. And while it may be exhausting when your puppy gets the zoomies, eventually they will settle down as they become more accustomed to and comfortable with their surroundings

What are common excitement triggers for puppies?

There are a number of things that can trigger a puppy’s excitement and result in a case of the zoomies, including:

  • Tiredness: Puppies need anywhere from 16 to 18 hours of sleep each day, so not getting enough sleep can make them overexcited — and make you both irritable. 

  • Stress or anxiety: Some puppies may react to stressful situations with excitability. 

  • New situations: For a puppy, almost every situation is new! Experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells can make your puppy feel overwhelmed. 

  • Frustration: Just like a toddler, your puppy may feel overexcited when they can’t have what they want.

  • Too much play: An overload of fun time with other dogs can send your puppy into hyper mode. 

“Squeaking, excited yelling, barking, and commotion can all trigger a puppy into ‘active mode,’” professional dog trainer Brittany Fulton says. “The presence of toys, other animals, and other people will excite puppies. Being in new places and experiencing new things can be exciting, especially if the humans around them keep things positive.”

How can I tell if my puppy is overexcited? 

So, how do you know if your puppy is overexcited? There are plenty of signs:

  • Zoomies, also known as frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs)

  • Nipping or biting

  • Vocalizing (whining, barking)

  • Spinning in circles

  • Jumping or leaping

  • Frantic tail wagging

  • Inability to sit still or relax

“I often advise clients to assess the amount of interaction and play that the puppy has had,” Fulton says. “If they’ve recently experienced a lot of activity (relative to their usual routine), but they’re still going 60 miles an hour, they’re likely overexcited and in need of some quiet play or chewing.” 

How to calm a puppy down

You know your puppy is overexcited, but how can you get them to calm down? Before you break out the puppy calming treats and start googling “puppy calming music,” identify what, if anything, triggers your puppy’s bursts of energy and excitement. Think about the times when your puppy got the zoomies and whether there was anything that set them off. Once you know the triggers, you can learn when to expect a bout of excitement and redirect all that energy to a more positive activity. 

1. Establish a routine

Puppies thrive on structure and consistency, which can help them adopt good behaviors that they will carry into adulthood. Make sure you have a regular schedule for your puppy’s mealtimes, potty breaks, and bedtime, so they can grow more easily adjusted to their new life in your home. 

2. Exercise with play

Whether going for a walk or playing a round of fetch, exercise can help your puppy stay physically and mentally stimulated. Plus, a little playtime can be an excellent bonding activity for you and your pup — with the added benefit of leaving them worn out afterward. 

3. Provide plenty of toys

If you’re looking for a safe and productive method for how to calm a hyper puppy, consider redirection. Redirect that excited energy with a puzzle toy or hidden treats in a Kong. You can also provide your puppy with chew toys to help discourage destructive and inappropriate chewing. 

“I recommend offering your pup a lick mat, Kong, snuffle mat, or chew,” Fulton says. “Check with your veterinarian for chews that they consider safe for your puppy. Encourage your puppy to lie beside you with one of these items. Chewing and licking are more sedentary activities that require focus.” 

4. Play music

Music can be therapeutic for dogs, just as it is for humans. Research has shown that auditory enrichment can help reduce canine stress. Paired with other strategies, music can be an excellent strategy for how to calm down a puppy at night or even during the day.

5. Reward calm behavior

The more you reward a behavior, the more often it will happen, so make sure to reward your puppy when they’re exhibiting calm behavior or engaging in an appropriate activity. 

At what age do puppies calm down? 

The question most new pup parents want the answer to is: When do puppies calm down? Dogs tend to mature emotionally as they age. By taking the time to properly socialize and train your puppy, you can help them learn how to safely explore the world and not feel so overwhelmed by new experiences. 

OK, but what age do puppies calm down? While puppy energy will certainly diminish over time, it’s more important to invest in dog training and social skills to teach your puppy appropriate dog behavior. 

Additional tips to help calm a puppy down

Helping your puppy to calm down when they have a burst of excitement isn’t easy, but with patience and persistence, you can help teach them appropriate behaviors. Here are a few more tips for how to calm a puppy down:

  • Remain calm. If you get excited, too, your puppy will think it’s OK to act excited.

  • Provide productive outlets for energy, such as chew toys, fetch, and playtime.

  • Work on basic obedience training. 

FAQs (People also ask):

Are there any calming products for puppies?

If your puppy is particularly stressed out in certain situations (like thunderstorms), calming treats may help them relax. Supplements like melatonin or products with CBD may also help your dog feel more calm. 

Are calming treats safe for puppies?

Hemp and other calming ingredients are safe for puppies to ingest, but it’s always a good idea to talk to your vet about what they recommend to help your puppy calm down. 

How do I stop my excited puppy from biting? 

If your puppy bites when they’re excited, redirect their attention to an appropriate activity, like a chew toy. Always stop playing when your puppy bites to let them know that this behavior puts an end to fun. 

Do puppies calm down after being spayed or neutered? 

After puppies are spayed or neutered, you may notice a decrease in aggression, thanks to lower hormone levels. However, spaying or neutering won’t change your dog’s behavior — that requires training. 

References:

Savannah Admire

Savannah Admire is a writer, editor, and pet parent to two dogs and a cat. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing Animal Crossing, or being an obnoxious nerd about her favorite movies and TV shows. She lives in Maryland, where she constantly debates whether or not to get a third dog.

Related articles