The “Zoomies” is when a puppy hits a time during the day or night and starts running around back and forth like a possessed maniac.
This is a common puppy behavior. It usually starts as an expression of play and joy. Most often than not, it turns out to be an outlet of pent-up energy that ends up in a completely out of control behavior.
So why do they have the “out of control” “Zoomies”? Should you exercise more your puppy?
Restless and “out of control” behavior is caused because of the lack of sleep and structure, not because of the lack of exercise.
It’s a very common mistake to think that unruly behavior, restlessness or the “Zoomies” is because your puppy needs more exercise. As a matter of fact puppies do not need a lot of exercise, but they do need a lot of sleep and structure, just like babies.
Have in mind that puppies, like babies, are growing and developing. This takes a lot of energy out of them and that’s why they need a lot of sleep and rest.
Should I let him have the Zoomies? – “He really turns into a little devil.”
Leaving your puppy have the zoomies unchecked can lead into injuries for both humans and puppies. It can also start unwanted behaviors that will carry on as an adult dogs. Examples of these are overexcitement, unruly behavior, excessive barking, anxiety, not listening and sometimes even aggression.
There are two key elements to manage the “zoomies”
- Having a consistent schedule and making sure your puppy gets all the sleep he needs. Having a “safe area” such as a crate, an ex-pen, or some kind of confined area where they can sleep with no interruptions, is key in order for them to get the rest they need.
- Providing structure to a puppy with clarity.
But what does structure mean?
Structure means to provide guidance, boundaries and limits during their play time or activities. Just like their mothers do.
Whats important to understand is that It’s not the endless play or exercise that’s going to tire your puppy out. Quite the opposite, this will make your puppy restless, feisty and cranky. Puppies when they play the reach a point where they start getting feisty and frustrated. They stop listening and they become relentless. This is a red flag. The more you continue this activity, play or exercise the more restless and unruly your puppy will become.
On the other hand, providing structure by asking your puppy to play-stop- play; teaching your puppy to calm down in the middle of the play; and setting up clear boundaries in a calm and gentle manner will put your puppy at ease. This is precisely the meaning of structure. It’s usually the lack of clarity and consistency that creates anxiety and restlessness in your puppy.
Try and put a bunch of kids that weren’t tought any boundaries and have no self-control in a basketball court with no rules. Then see what happens. It will not end up well.
If there’s no rules, there’s no game. If there’s no game, there’s no fun.
Providing plenty of sleep/down time and providing structure to your puppy, not only will diminish the amount of “Zoomies”, but it will also keep the “Zoomies” at an intensity level where it’s just a healthy outlet of play and joy, instead of an unhealthy outlet for craziness and chaos.
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