So you walk your dog every day, you make sure he gets a lot of exercises, and you even take the time to play some toss with them. You walk back to your house and you expect him to be burnt out and ready for bed, but when you arrive home, he’s bouncing off the wall and jumping around!
Does your canine companion show no signs of slowing down? Well, most dog owners would count this type of behavior as ADHD or hyperactivity. But even though the condition is known to affect both human beings and canines, it is actually pretty rare for dogs.
According to vets, “hyperkinetic” is a more accurate term to describe hyperactiveness in dogs. These are the dogs that don’t seem to get used to their current environment. They jump, bark, and bounce at even the most ordinary stimuli. Hyperkinesis in dogs makes the canine completely restless, no matter how calm and comfy his surroundings are, which is why raising a hyperkinetic dog has become harder for most owners than it should be.
Raising a Hyperkinetic Dog: Everything a Pet Owner Should Know
What characterizes a clinically hyperkinetic dog?
A hyperkinetic dog is described by veterinarians as hyperactive, impulsive, and having a short attention span. This kind of disorder may affect the dog’s ability to discover a new behavior, consequently coming in the way of your obedience training. Hyperkinetic disorders are often the result of breed characteristics, lack of physical and mental stimulation, conditioned behavior, or a combination of all that was mentioned. It may also stem from hereditary and environmental causes.
A dog is typically diagnosed with hyperkinesis at 3 years old and above. Physical symptoms that your vet may take note of are increased breathing, heart rate, agitation, and poor health.
How do I determine if my dog is hyperkinetic?
Raising a hyperkinetic dog must start with knowing what the condition is. Unfortunately, a majority of dog owners are not familiar with this type of disorder. Inexperienced owners may even end up neglecting their dogs when they start acting out. Unfortunately, extreme cases of hyperkinesis may result in euthanasia or mercy killing of the dogs. This is typically the case when canines don’t respond well to prescribed medication or when unwanted behavior goes unnoticed.
While understanding dog body language and being attentive to your dog’s every need helps, it goes without saying that in raising a hyperkinetic dog, you are better off working with a trained professional. During the consultation, your veterinarian or animal behavior specialist will ask you for a full list of the dog’s unwanted behaviors, along with the intensity, degree, and how often they tend to display them. You’ll also need to provide the physical and mental activity your dog gets on a daily and weekly basis.
The vet will use your information to determine the underlying causes of your dog’s behavior, including the way you respond to each behavior. For example, the way your dog calms down when they are interacting with kids could be noted as an improvement on the canine’s hyperkinesis. Alternatively, if your rewards and affection only fuel the unwanted behavior, then you could be conditioning the hyperkinesis in your dog.
Scroll down for the video
Symptoms of a hyperkinetic dog
- Poor trainability
- Extreme sensitivity to sound
- Excessive vocalization (barking, whining, etc.)
- Aggression (often associated with overstimulation)
Before diagnosing clinical hyperkinesis in a dog, there are a number of causes that need to be ruled out as well. These include phobias, anxiety, territorialism, hyperthyroidism, and low IQ. This is why consulting a vet is always the best way to go. Vets help you rule out root causes of hyperactive behavior to avoid unwanted medication.
What do I do if my dog has hyperkinesis?
If you are raising a hyperkinetic dog, there are a lot of things you must keep in mind. For most cases, veterinarians recommend an increase in daily exercise activity, stimulation, and socialization. You may need to come up with more effective ways to support your pet. Stimulation may come in the form of toys filled with dog treats, puzzles, sand pits, and balls that give your pet an outlet to channel their anxiety. When it comes to training, you could come up with more challenging obedience training activities and even try engaging in competitions to build the trust between you and your dog. You may also opt to enroll your dog in an obedience class to make sure they’re getting all the professional attention they need.
The dog appeasing pheromone component in sprays may release synthetic hormones that are known to reduce stress in dogs. Medications like this could be used as a complementary treatment for your pet. D-amphetamine has been shown as an effective management drug as well. But as always, do ask your veterinarian to determine any possible side effects, allergies, or other negative reactions.