Puppy Training – How To Handle The Zoomies

FRAP – Frenetic Random Activity Periods – that’s what the “zoomies” official name is. Almost every puppy gets them. First of all, they are normal for pups to have and don’t worry, “this too shall pass.” 

What Are the Puppy Zoomies?

They naturally occur in puppies from just 8 weeks old to about a year and a half. Puppies have lots of pent-up energy and they have to express it in one way or another. Believe it or not, it is also a way for pups to express contentment. If your puppy suddenly starts running around in circles or another pattern, including jumping on furniture and running under tables, he has the zoomies. Puppy zoomies happen more frequently under 4 months old, as it is difficult to impossible to exercise a puppy outdoors due to the fact they have not had all of their vaccines yet. Veterinarians are very strict to say a pup should not be outside at all until they have all their vaccines, happening usually around 4 to 5 months of age.

Managing the Catch-22 of Puppy Exercise

You are in a catch-22 – they need exercise – about 1 to 1 and a half hours a day. But if you can’t throw a ball outside or take them on long walks, what do you do? Well, one way is to let them have their puppy zoomies, but you want to keep them safe at the same time. Following is a list of ways to either make the zoomies safer or reduce their occurrences:

Redirect

Move your puppy to an area that is more open (if you have that option) in your house. If you have to throw a ball or toy in that area, it might help get them there. Monitor your pup during this period to make sure he is staying safe in the area you designate.

Give Him a Chew Toy

Your puppy is most likely teething and that could be instigating the puppy zoomies. Chewing is a pup’s natural way of alleviating the pain that comes with teething while releasing calming endorphins. I recommend a couple of different chews – first is the Yak Himalayan Cheese Chew – it’s a rectangular, cubed, compressed stick with natural cheese flavor. They are lactose, gluten, grain, and preservative-free and a great natural way for a puppy to chew to their heart’s content. Another great chew is the Benebone Wishbone chew, that comes flavored with Bacon or Chicken or Peanut Butter.

Mental Stimulation

Many dog behaviorists say that a minute of mind stimulation exerts the same amount of energy as a minute of physical activity for a puppy. That being said, it would be wise to invest in some puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys. My dog’s favorite is a classic Kong filled with either frozen yogurt, frozen pumpkin, frozen sweet potato, or frozen, wet dog food. It lasts 40 minutes for the average dog.

Training

Along the same lines of mental stimulation, obedience training can zap a lot of the energy out of a puppy as long as you keep them engaged and use high-value treats. It’s a win-win. They learn new commands and you tire them out at the same time! One specific command is “settle.” It’s a technique that gets your pup to lay on her side and remain still for a period of time – the minimum is 20 seconds in order to get your pup to reach that meditative, calm state of mind. If you repeat this “settle” command enough, then when they are in the midst of their zoomies or just being hyper, you can say the word “settle” and they will take it down a notch.

A good recommendation is to attach a 4-foot lead to your puppy so that you can reel her in if she is being destructive or just needs a break in her pen or crate.

FAQs

What are the zoomies?

The zoomies, or Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAP), are bursts of high energy where puppies run around wildly, often in circles.

Are zoomies normal for puppies?

Yes, zoomies are a normal behavior for puppies and are a way for them to release pent-up energy and express contentment.

How long do puppies get the zoomies?

Puppies can experience zoomies from as young as 8 weeks old up to about a year and a half.

Can I prevent the zoomies?

While you can’t completely prevent zoomies, you can reduce their frequency by ensuring your puppy gets enough exercise, mental stimulation, and has appropriate chew toys.

How can I keep my puppy safe during zoomies?

Redirect your puppy to a safer, open area, monitor them during zoomies, and provide chew toys to keep them occupied.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that zoomies happen, and while you may be able to reduce the frequency of them via the suggestions above, they WILL happen. But again, it’s a known, natural phenomenon and is nothing to be worried about. Eventually, all puppies grow out of it – until then, have fun!

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