Poodles are among the most popular breeds in the United States, especially popular as companion or family dogs. Poodles have a reputation as spoiled lap dogs, but like many dog breeds, they were working dogs first. This transition from working dogs to companions has left many people with a frustrating problem; their poodle is hyper. So, how do you calm down a hyper poodle?
Physical activity, mental stimulation, and obedience training can often reduce hyperactivity in poodles. Poodles are intelligent, active dogs that require proper exercise and enrichment in order to be tranquil. In rare cases, poodles can become clinically hyperactive and require treatment by a qualified veterinarian.
Though poodles may serve as companion dogs today, This breed’s temperament, history, and intelligence often make curbing hyperactivity in poodles a chore. The key to calming your poodle lies in understanding their behavior and channeling it into activities that keep them happy, healthy, and calm- well, calmer. Read on to discover why poodles are hyper, when you can expect them to calm down, and what you can do in the meantime.
What Causes a Poodle to be Hyper?
There are logical explanations for your poodle’s hyper temperament. It’s pinpointing the exact reason why that can be challenging. Let’s dive into some of these reasons to help you find out what’s causing your poodle to be hyper.
Poodles are often hyper as a result of:
Poodles were first bred to retrieve waterfowl for hunters. As a result, these dogs were bred for intelligence, trainability, and energy.
Hunters realized the hair meant to keep their dogs warm, also absorbed too much water and weighed them down when working. As a result, owners trimmed their poodle’s hair everywhere they didn’t need to keep warm, leading to the poodle’s distinctive cut.
Most dog breeds were originally bred for work, usually hunting, guarding, herding, or pest control. The idea of companion dogs is a relatively recent development and leaves dogs with instincts and behaviors which are not needed any longer.
Companion dogs, such as poodles and border collies, often need toys, activities, and training so that all that energy meant to go into herding or retrieving doesn’t build up and led to negative or destructive behaviors in your home.
Poodles are an extremely smart dog breed to be hunting dogs. Intelligent dogs need to use their brain; whether they’re in training for a specific task or puzzle games played at home. These dogs are smart enough to train as service dogs, therapy animals, or even watchdogs!
Poodles need plenty of mental stimulation. In your downtime, you might read, play video games, paint, or do other activities that both engage your mind and let energy out. Poodles have the same need to keep their mind engaged, and if not occupied, poodles can get hyper and full of anxiety.
Poodles are rated as the 2nd most intelligent dog breed in the world, so it’s especially important to keep their minds occupied. A clever dog isn’t going to be satisfied just lounging around the house all day. Lack of proper socialization and intellectual vigor can lead to separation anxiety if not properly addressed.
Check out this article I wrote on separation anxiety in Poodles. In it, you’ll find fifteen easy ways to curb this destructive behavior fast!
3. Activity Level
Poodles can become hyperactive when not given enough exercise or playtime. If you ask a poodle to spend a day alone in a kennel or a single room in your house, it’s a recipe for trouble.
Adequate space to run around is essential for a poodle, even miniature and toy poodles. Limiting your poodle to one room, or even a kennel, while you’re out may sound like a good way to protect your furniture, but likely won’t address the heart of the problem.
Larger dogs generally need more exercise than smaller dogs. Larger poodles are no exception as they need up to two hours of exercise per day. While Adult poodles may be able to get this exercise all at once, puppies have less stamina but more energy, so it’s best to break up their exercise into shorter sessions throughout the day.
How do you Calm Down a Hyper Poodle?
Now that you know what might be making your poodle hyper, it’s time to do something about it.
A Hyper poodle can be calmed through exercise, mental stimulation, and various calming aids. Poodles are extremely social animals that require ample playtime and mental activities to curb hyperactivity. Medicating your poodle should only be utilized as a last resort and never without the recommendation of your vet.
Ways to calm down a hyper poodle include:
Exercise is probably the most common-sense way to calm your hyper poodle. If your dog expends energy in positive ways such as playing with toys or going for walks, they have less energy to jump on you and destroy furniture.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fenced-in yard where your poodle can run, it can be tempting to skip daily walks and let him out a few times a day to do his business. This is especially true if you are busy and don’t have a lot of free time in your schedule.
While playing in the yard is a good way to work off excess energy, walking your poodle provides the added benefit of providing a mental workout as well.
The ability to explore new places and smells lets your poodle expend mental and physical energy, and keeps him moving for longer than just letting your poodle roam freely in the yard.
If you don’t have the time or ability to walk your dog, there are many dog walking services- some are even app-based- that can help you keep your poodle active, or you can choose to enroll your poodle in a local doggy daycare where your dog would have people and animals to play with throughout the day.
2. Mental Stimulation
Although physical exercise is an important component of your dog’s overall health, an intelligent breed like the poodle needs more than just a nice long walk or run to be at its best. Poodles need mental stimulation too.
You can give your poodle the mental activity they need by providing:
Puzzle toys have become increasingly popular in recent days because they allow your pet to express their natural instincts in ways that don’t involve hunting small animals in the yard or destroying furniture in your home. Often, these toys will contain treats to encourage your dog to solve the puzzle to get the reward.
Check out this article I wrote on the best toys for poodles. In it, you’ll find exactly which toys are best to stimulate your poodle’s mind and keep him calm when you’re away.
You can even make your own like the diy toys in this video:
Whether you prefer purchasing your poodle’s toys or making them, there are some things to keep in mind for the best result.
Consider your dog’s personality– would your dog prefer to chase around a ball that will occasionally dispense treats if they get it in the right position, or would he do better with a toy that allows him to use the paws or mouth to discover a treat?
Doggy daycares – Doggy daycares help to provide socialization and activities that help calm hyperactive poodles. If your poodle has played all day around other dogs or playing games, he is less likely to be destructive and will be less hyper at night. It’s the classic ‘wear them out’ strategy, and I’ve seen it work with my own eyes.
3. Calming Aids
Some poodles will be hyperactive due to nerves or separation anxiety, and that’s where calming aids can come in. There are a huge number of products developed to help your pets stay calm, from medication to all-natural items meant to help your pup find their zen.
Medicating your poodle should be the last resort option and never attempted without the recommendation of a qualified vet.
Medications – Your vet may recommend tranquilizers or other medications that will be specific to your poodle and these solutions will be customized, not one size fits all.
Soothing Music – Some owners may find that music soothes their pups, and it’s easy to search a site like YouTube for calming music meant specifically for dogs. You may also find just leaving the TV on helps a poodle who suffers from separation anxiety.
Scent Therapy – There are a variety of scent products that can help calm your poodle. Manufacturers produce satchels that can be put inside beds, sprays you can spritz around the house, and medallions that attach to your dog’s collar and carry a calming scent wherever your dog goes. Just be sure to check the instructions on any calming product you buy or use.
Calming Vests – Special calming vests to keep dogs calm are also easy to find at your local pet store. These vests were originally developed to assist pets afraid of thunder and loud noises like fireworks. They’ve been proven effective in helping dogs with day-to-day anxiety and hyperactivity as well.
At What age do Poodle Puppies Calm Down?
If you have a poodle puppy, there’s a good chance that he or she will begin to calm down with age. But at what age do hyper-poodle puppies calm down exactly?
Poodles usaully begin to calm down between twelve and eighteen months of age. While full adulthood is not achieved until the age of two, behavioral training and daily routines can help redirect negative behaviors making a hyper poodle puppy more calm and manageable.
Training during the puppy stage is the most effective way to make things a bit more manageable and yield big results later on. While you can’t get rid of your puppy’s natural instincts and curiosity, learning to redirect your poodle puppy’s behavior can more effectivly release excess energy and make this stage of life much more fullfilling for you.
Teaching your poodle to only chew their chew toys, walk politely on a leash, behave for the groomer, and listen to your commands will have moments where it feels hopeless, but your hard work will pay off as they grow up, calm down, and become the kind of dog that everyone wishes they had.
Making activities like playtime or their daily walk routine as a puppy will also make it easier to stick with these habits for yourself long term and can help you avoid having to make more drastic changes later on.
What if my Poodle is Still Hyper After Year Two?
If the two-year mark has passed and your poodle hasn’t started to calm down as they settle into adulthood, it may be time to up your efforts in helping them express their energy or even call in a professional if you haven’t already.
Poodles of all sizes are highly trainable by design, and I will always advocate that every dog have at least some basic training. Whether you train at home with the aid of videos and books, take a class at the local pet store or book private lessons with a trainer, you can see huge improvements in your dog’s behavior.
A great behavioral training course can really help when command training your dog. I found a fantastic training system called Brain Training for Dogs. I really liked the private member’s area where I was able to connect with other dog owners to get solutions to issues I had with his training. If you need any behavioral training at all for your dog, I would highly recommend this course! Check it out here
The combination of mental stimulation from learning the tricks and the exercise of performing the tricks can help keep your poodle calmer. This also will make it easier for you to exercise your poodle, since if they’re trained to walk politely instead of tugging you along, walking the dog becomes a nice break instead of a daily chore.
Some pets are just hyper their whole lives, and the best way to view it is as something to manage instead of looking for a permanent solution. Owning any pet is going to be an exercise in patience, and a poodle is no exception.
Can Hyperactivity in Poodles result from a Medical Condition?
Occasionally, hyperactivity in poodles and other dogs is, in fact, medical. If you’ve tried training, enrichment, long walks, and plenty of playtime with no results in your poodle’s behavior, then it’s time to take your dog to the vet and see if there’s a medical condition causing our poodle’s hyperactivity.
Testing poodles for hyperactivity involves monitoring the heartbeat before and after taking a controlled dose of amphetamine. From this, your vet can determine whether your poodle is clinically hyperactive. Medication for hyperactivity involves a stimulant such as Ritalin, shown to calm down hyperactive dogs.
Be sure to stay in communication with your vet about how your poodle is doing on the medication and continue to use other calming methods like training and exercise even while your pet is medicated.
Tip: Do not start your pet on any medication or supplement without consulting your vet’s office first. Giving a pet medication, they don’t need can lead to severe side effects, harm, and even death to your pet.
Is a High Energy Poodle Right for You?
Now that we’ve gone over the basic information, it might seem like owning a poodle is a huge challenge and not worth the effort, especially with the requirements needed for their mental and physical wellbeing.
However, there is a reason that poodles are one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S., especially for families. While a poodle’s energy and intelligence might seem intimidating at first, in practice, most owners find that their boundless energy makes poodles great for kids, and their intelligence makes obedience training easier.
A poodle might be the ideal dog for you, especially if you’re already active or want motivation to get more exercise. If you want more of a couch potato dog, then a poodle, especially a younger one, probably isn’t going to be your best bet.
However, if you want to have a dog that will learn quickly and one that you can teach a lot of tricks, a poodle’s high intelligence could be just the thing you’re looking for. If you want a dog that can play with your kids all day or run along with you as you cycle, poodles can do exactly that.
When choosing a dog, it’s a good idea to dive deep into what you want and what kind of dog will suit you, and a poodle is no exception.
Ask yourself some of the following questions to see if a high-energy poodle might be the right choice for you.
- Do I have time to train a puppy properly, or should I look into adopting an adult?
- Can my lifestyle fit an active dog?
- What kind of activities do I want to do with my dog?
- Do I have enough space for the dog I want to get?
Calming your hyper poodle may seem like an impossible challenge, but it can be done. Mixing mental and physical stimulation in the right amounts will help your poodle live his best life and help keep your house undamaged, your friends from being tackled, and maybe even keep you active!
While most poodles will start to calm down as they leave their puppy stage and enter adulthood, they remain active, smart dogs who need to express these traits in healthy ways.
You can calm your poodle by providing calming aids, behavioral training, distracting with puzzle toys, and keeping your poodle active. It may take time, patience, and testing many different methods, but your hyper poodle can be calmed.