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If you have a dog you may have heard the term "The Zoomies". Even if you haven't heard of the zoomies, there is a very good chance your dog has had the zoomies. This is when your puppy (or adult dog) suddenly goes zooming around the house or yard like crazy, seemingly out of nowhere, making laps, maybe jumping on furniture or parkouring off of trees before dropping down for a hard rest! This usually only last a few minutes, at most, and it's best to stay out of their way. I'll explain why.
The technical term for this behavior is Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAP's) and they are TOTALLY NORMAL! While it seems that puppies tend to engage in the FRAPS or zoomies more often than adult dogs, any dog can enjoy a good zoom. The reasons seem to vary and more research needs to be done on the subject to know the why's. In my observations, I see that puppies tend to go into zoomies after an exciting or somewhat challenging game or training session, possibly as a way to let go of that brain energy. Many of my clients and even my own dogs have zoomies after returning home from a walk. I believe this is due to coming into contact with arousing and possibly somewhat stressful stimuli during the walk and needing to release some of that excess arousal or stress upon return home. Loads of puppies need one final zoom before bed at night to get rid of any excess energy from the day. I have also seen some dogs go into zoomies during a group training class when they are possibly over excited, confused or conflicted with what is expected of them or the environment in general. Again a way to release pent up energy, frustration or stress. I've seen many zoomies become contagious to other dogs, like in puppy socials or dog parks, telling me that all involved are having quite a good time and just want to party!
A very popular time for many dog parents to observe the zoomies is after bath time or after getting wet. This seems to be a way to release any of that left over excitement or stress from the experience of the possibly scary bath or swimming time. Sometimes chasing of the tail comes along for the ride, but in most cases, puppies and dogs do quite well at not crashing into items and people as long as we stay out of their way.
That brings me to my next point, should you stop the zoomies? I don't think so. There is nothing to worry about as long as your dog is in a safe place. Just try not to get in his way. But what if you need to stop him? What if he is getting himself into trouble? In the video attached you will see Kai experiencing some zoomies and deciding to take them out on a few throw pillows, I'm pretty sure his humans would not have wanted that so I explain how to trouble shoot in that video as it was happening. Here are some additional recommendations:
- Remain calm: Your puppy is already very excited so chasing after them or scolding them will likely just lead to a more aroused puppy that makes bad decisions or think you are playing a game!
- Ask for simple behaviors: If your puppy knows their name, just try that! If they respond be prepared to give some yummy treats as this may distract from what they wanted to chew up before
- Ask for calming behaviors: If you do gain their attention, ask for simple behaviors like sit/down so they can remain calm for a few seconds. Remember to reward heavily as this is hard when they are so distracted with zoomie brain.
- Distract with food: Many puppies/dogs experiencing the zoomies seem to be unable to respond to even simple cues so you may need to distract by tossing some yummy treat until they return to their normal state.
- Distract with appropriate tug toy: If the zoomie leads to mouthing or biting if your skin/furniture/clothing or more, try to redirect onto a "legal" toy and wait it out
- Lead to a puppy safe area: Until you are sure the zoomie event is over, lead your puppy to an are where they cannot make any mistakes like a confinement area or even safe backyard to get the zoomie out.
Have Fun! If your puppy is safe, and not causing any havoc, let them enjoy it. The zoomies only last so long for some dogs and you may be sad when they are gone.