You’re preparing to go to bed but your dog has other ideas. They are excitedly running around and trying to get your attention.
What could be causing your dog to become hyper during bedtime? How do you get your dog to calm down so you can all get a good night’s rest?
In this article, you’ll discover:
- How you may encourage your dog’s hyperactive behavior.
- 7 easy tips on how to get your dog to calm down at night.
- What the atmosphere of the house has to do with your dog’s nocturnal hyperactivity.
- And much much more…
Table of contents
- Why is my dog so hyper at night?
- 7 reasons why your dog is so hyper at night
- 7 tips to get your dog to calm down at night
Why is my dog so hyper at night?
Your dog is so hyper at night due to their age, diet, lack of sufficient exercise, exhaustion, or separation anxiety. You may have also encouraged the behavior in the past or the atmosphere of the house is too lively or energetic.
7 reasons why your dog is so hyper at night
#1: Lack of exercise
One of the most common reasons why your dog is still very active at night is that they did not exercise enough during the day. Dogs need exercise not only to keep them fit and healthy but to also curb behavioral problems.
Some dogs have too much energy. When they don’t use it, they may turn to destructive behavior.
Most dogs would need to be exercised at least twice a day.
You might be asking “How much exercise should my dog get each day?”
Well, that depends on several factors.
If you own a large breed dog such as a German Shepherd, they will need more exercise compared to smaller breeds, according to Dr. Susan Nelson from Kansas State University.
Some dogs would only need 15 minutes of exercise twice a day, but others would need at least 1 hour each time.
#2: Separation anxiety
Another reason why your dog may become active at night is separation anxiety. This is especially true if you leave them alone on their own for most of the day.
Do you notice your dog showing signs of anxiety when you have to leave them for work or an errand? They may pace around a lot, or cry when they see you leaving.
Another thing to consider is if your dog is sleeping separately from you.
Then they may become more hyper in a bid to get your attention. With you being gone most of the day, at night is when they can spend time and play with you.
Separation anxiety will not just manifest at night. According to research, there are several ways to treat dogs who experience this, including:
- Behavior modification.
- Without using punishment.
- Having an established routine in the house.
#3: Feeling exhausted
While some dogs may become hyperactive due to lack of exercise, others are just the opposite. Have you ever seen a cranky baby who refuses to nap or sleep?
They usually become aggressive, whining, crying, and throwing things. These tantrums are the result of being exhausted.
Your dogs, especially if they are young, can also experience tantrums. Maybe they had too much exercise or mental stimulation, so you need to give them time to rest.
Observe your dog for signs of exhaustion like yawning, running around, or acting out of character. This may be a sign for you to adjust their activities to allow them to nap.
When dealing with a dog having a tantrum, do not be impatient. Act calm, as raising your voice will only stimulate his senses and cause them to become even more aggressive.
#4: You have encouraged the behavior
You may not realize it, but you may have encouraged your dog to become hyperactive at night. Perhaps you would give them treats, toys, or your attention when they become active at night.
Your reason for doing this may be to get them to calm down. But in reality, they get the message that when they act this way, they can get what they want.
It is imperative that you stop this at once. They must not associate being hyperactive with rewards.
Instead of giving them attention because of their hyperactivity, ignore his actions. Give the reward once they have calmed down.
#5: Your dog’s age
The AKC calls it the zoomies or frapping, from the acronym FRAP, which means Frenetic Random Activity Period. While it does happen in older dogs, it more commonly occurs with puppies.
Puppies just have so much more energy compared to older dogs. If they spend most of their time inside their crate, they will definitely run around when given the chance.
This is quite common and should not worry you. As your puppy gets older, they will outgrow this behavior and eventually calm down even at night.
#6: Your dog’s diet
Another explanation for your dog’s hyperactivity at night could be what you feed them. Look at the ingredients of your dog food.
Some of them may contain too much:
It’s important to know what nutrients your dog needs.
You should also make sure that you do not feed them too late at night. Ideally, dogs should be fed 3 hours before they go to bed.
#7: The atmosphere in the house might be encouraging it
It’s during the night that most family members are at home from school or work. This means this is probably when the atmosphere is lively and energetic.
If they are alone most of the day, then evenings are when the house becomes a hive of activity. Everyone who comes home might also be fussing over your dog, giving lots of rubs and attention.
While you can’t blame them for becoming more lively when people come home, it should not be encouraged.
What you can try is waiting for 5 minutes after coming home before showing your dog some affection. This is so they know that it’s not their barking or lively behavior that is making you play with them.
7 tips to get your dog to calm down at night
#1: Ignore the behavior
It may sound counterproductive but yes, ignoring the behavior can help. Especially if you are dealing with puppies.
If you chase your dogs while they are running around the house, they will just think it’s a game. They will keep repeating this behavior until you put a stop to it.
The next time they attempt to goad you into running after them, just ignore the behavior. If their actions become too troublesome, distract with some toys or walk away.
Not acknowledging them will make them realize that this kind of attitude will not get them your attention. It will keep them from doing it in the future.
#2: Arrange a conducive space for sleeping
Perhaps one of the reasons why your dog is active at night is because they don’t enjoy their sleeping space. It could be that their bed is uncomfortable, too hot, or too cold.
Lack of quality sleep can affect both humans and dogs. Unlike humans though, dogs follow a different sleep cycle. Instead of having one long sleep, they take many naps throughout the day.
Instead of sleeping with you though, it’s best that they have their own spot. Studies have shown that dog owners whose dogs sleep beside are not able to sleep properly.
Get them a good quality dog bed instead, along with their favorite blanket. Put them in an area of the house that will not be disturbed by other noise or bright lights.
#3: Feed them at the proper time
Not only will feeding them late at night cause weight gain, but it will mean they have all this extra energy to burn.
You can feed them late at night only if you are sure they are able to spend that energy through a walk or exercise before going to bed.
Note: Professionals recommend that you wait a couple of hours after your dog eats before you let them exercise. This is to avoid a condition called GDV or gastric dilation-volvulus.
#4: Use positive reinforcement
Instead of punishing your dog for doing something that you do not like, just ignore them. Instead, use positive reinforcement.
This is when you reward them when they do something you like. It has proven to be effective in potty training, and can certainly be used for dealing with a hyperactive dog.
There are many types of reward you can give. You can give treats or a toy. Even just praising them with your words is already a form of reward.
When you use this method, you can even get the whole family involved in the process. The key is to be patient and consistent. Pretty soon you will see the fruits of your effort
#5: Let them have more time for exercise
We already know that exercise is important for dogs to spend that pent-up energy they have. It also prevents them from becoming obese.
It’s essential to remember that taking walks should not be the only form of exercise they have.
While walking is good for smaller dogs, you should think of other ways to exercise larger canines.
You can go hiking or biking with them. A simple game of fetch is good and can be easily done from your front yard or a nearby dog park.
Running is also great, but remember to take a break and let your dog wander and sniff around when they want to. We know how curious they are about their surroundings so let them explore too.
Swimming is also a good form of exercise. Take advantage of beaches, lakes, or even your own pool. You can also let them join competitive sports or agility classes.
Aside from physical exercises, they would also need mental stimulation.
This can be done through toys or games such as:
- Puzzle toys.
- Hide and seek.
- The shell game.
- An obstacle course.
You can also teach them new tricks. Don’t forget to reward them for a job well done.
If your dog is already old or has a physical ailment, be sure to talk to your vet first. Get their approval for the types of exercise you want to do.
#6: Set a routine before bedtime
Unlike some people who thrive in spontaneity, dogs behave better when they have an established routine.
If your dog is too hyper at night, perhaps a bedtime routine would help to lessen this. They will know when it’s time to settle down for bed.
What are some activities you can include in your bedtime routine? You can take them for a night walk, or give them a treat.
A rub down and massage can also be a great addition. You can bring out a cuddle toy that would be specifically just for bedtime.
For dogs who may feel anxiety during the night, you may use some calming scents to get them relaxed.
#7: Consider crate training
There are many benefits to crate training, including:
- To help with house training.
- To keep them safe while traveling.
- To allow them to practice their “denning” instincts.
Dogs are able to have a safe space with their crates. They can go there when they need to rest or keep away from anything that stresses them.
It would also keep the house safe from any destructive behavior that could result in furniture damage. If you keep your dog in a crate with a chew toy, they will not turn to chewing the couch.
Note: The crate should not be used as a punishment because it is supposed to be his safe space. Also, they should not be left in the crate for too long, especially puppies.