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Bailey reserves the right to edit any posting for spelling, grammar, length, and inappropriate content. Only one question per person will be considered. Your question may or may not be posted with Bailey's reply. Bailey can take up to several months to reply to questions. He is extremely busy being a dog.

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Disclaimer: The material provided by Bailey on this web site is designed for educational and entertainment purposes only. The information presented is provided with the understanding that Bailey is not engaged in rendering medical or professional behavioral services. Such information should not be used as a substitute for behavioral advice provided by a qualified canine behavior therapist.

Please remember that Bailey's advice, comments, or opinions are solely Bailey's, and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff here at Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs.

Pawsitive Training for Better Dogs is not responsible for actions taken based on the advice provided herein.

Puppy Energy

Dear Bailey,

We have a 16 week old lab puppy.  She will run around in circles under the table, behind chairs, following the same path in an all out run.  This usually occurs when she is reprimanded. 

Should we let her go and wear herself out, or should she be stopped and settled?  Is she burning off excessive energy?  Is this something normal for a puppy?

Thank You,

BC


Bailey's Reply:

Dear BC, 

Ahhh...there's nothing quite like puppy energy!  I, too, had that kind of energy when I was younger.  I still run in patterns like that sometimes when I play with my person.

If your puppy's excess running around is not a problem for you in your home, then let her run to her heart's content until she tires out.  At this age, it's not an unusual behavior at all.

You mentioned that it tends to happen when you reprimand her.  From my knowledge of puppies, I would suspect that your pup has a fairly good knowledge of how to get your attention.  In a pup's world, ANY attention is GOOD attention.  And puppies love to play.  So it's possible that she may be deliberately doing things that get you all worked up in order to get your attention and start a play session (the excited running around is often an invitation).

Here's an example:  Your pup grabs a sock left on the floor.  From your puppy's point of view, a sock in her mouth in front of mom always ends up with mom chasing pup to get the sock back.  Your pup has cleverly figured out one way to get mom to play!

However, if it's a problem for you and your family, there are a few ways to help curb her "scampering":

  • How much exercise does she get a day?  A tried puppy won't have energy to tear through the house.  Most puppies need more than just a walk around the block or two.  If she's had all her shots, try taking her to a dog park.  Another option is to slowly teach her to how to go jogging.  I love taking  my person out for a good run. 
  • Take a look at what triggers her "scamper" button.  Try to avoid any scenarios that are likely to encourage excited, uncontrollable behavior indoors.  Give her something else to focus on before she has a chance to get worked up, like a stuffed Kong toy.  Give her lots of calm praise while she's working on it.
  • It's easy to ignore a quiet, well behaved puppy.  Make efforts to notice your pup when she's being good with calm praise and treats.  The more you reward quiet, calm behavior, the more your puppy will exhibit quiet, calm behavior!  Get enrolled in a group positive reinforcement Puppy Kindergarten to help work on learning ways of self-control.

Good luck with your puppy and all her energy!

<bark!>

Bailey

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