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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 5 month old Boxer/Pointer mixed puppy is a good dog 95% of the time, but like all puppies he has his moments. On occasion he gets a little out of control, seemingly out of the blue. I try to make sure he gets enough exercise, and at least 3 times a day take him out for walks, and at least once a day I let him out in the yard and play a game of fetch with him so he can run and hopefully wear himself out. Even still, at least once or twice a week, he will turn on me like a switch was flipped. We will be walking at the park next door, and he will go absolutely insane and start running back and forth as fast as he can, then turn on me and jump, biting at whatever he can get a hold of. I haven't found anything that snaps him out of this behavior. I've lost several shirts from these attacks (holes ripped) and a pair of pants has taken some damage, but no major bodily harm yet, aside from a little pain from the bites. He has also done this on occasion while I'm just sitting, watching TV or on the computer. He just goes crazy. When we are at the park, I try to choke up on the leash so I can hold him away from me, but he still manages to get to me. holding him down only seems to make him even more psychotic. I can momentarily get his attention away from me if I find a stick or something nearby to give him to hold in his mouth, but that often fails to keep him occupied long. After a few minutes, he usually snaps out of it. Is this just extra energy that he has built up over the day? Should I be exercising him even more? Both of his breeds are high energy breeds, so possibly so. If this keeps up past his puppy age, I could be in for some tough times. He's already 30 pounds, and growing every day.

My typical response is probably not productive as I usually have to grab him by the scruff of the neck and pin him down until he cools off, or just pick him up and carry him so that he can't reach me with his mouth. It's either that or take the bites and scratches.

Any idea as to what is triggering this, and what may be done to fix this issue? I know negative reinforcement isn't the answer. Maybe carry a favorite toy with us on walks, so if he hits this peak, I can give it to him to divert the energy from me to the toy?

Thanks.
 

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This is a completely normal puppy behavior, in fact, all young mammals have it :D It even has a term "zoomies" - basically a sudden burst of energy. It is not related to aggression in any way, it`s just annoying.

My dog would get zoomies a lot when she was younger, they have almost completely stopped now - she is 2.5.

Don`t punish for this behavior, and dont try to hold him down. If it happens in fenced yard at home - just leave him alone to burn it off - walk to other area/inside. If he is not destroying anything, it`s not really a problem if he runs around like a maniac. If it happens inside or on leash as you described - a favorite toy is a very good idea.

My dog loves her rope toy and tug - I taught her the name of the toy and every time she would get the zoomies, I`d redirect her "Go get rope toy" and would play with her with that. Basically you channel the energy to an appropriate way of playing. It is possible that he might not want to stop playing - so if he still seems hyper after a little tug, you just leave the room or put him in another room to cool down. Dont hold him down etc that wont work. Just isolate him and give him time to be alone to cool down.

Sometimes puppies are like hyped kids - they get overstimulated and tired but wont stop zooming around. Some dogs need to be taught how to relax/time out. If he is like that just put him in a separate/boring area where he doesnt have much option but to cool down and sleep.

I would do that to my puppy when the zoomies seemed like they wouldnt end and she would get even more hyped. She would pace a bit in the other room and then pass out cold. After 10 min I could open the door and she`d be sleeping there soundly.

So to sum up that long monologue - find his favorite toy, teach him the name of it, carry it with you and direct him to play with it once zoomies hit. If it looks like zoomies wont end/he get more and more overstimulated put him in spare room to cool down.

They really can`t help these zoomies, it is just nature and they need to get them out of the system to some extent. Also remember, it WILL pass :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the tips. My main concern is that is usually happens on walks at the park, a good half mile from home. I can't let him off the leash there, and I'm a bit trapped with him. He starts flying at me with claws and teeth going wild, and I almost always end up with ripped clothing or scratches, and feeling embarrassed as other people see this wild behavior and my inability to control it. He's relentless with his playful attacks. I guess a toy for diversion is the best bet for distracting him long enough to get him back home where he can be let loose to run wild and burn it off.
 

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I'm not sure how far along in his training and how treat motivated he is, but perhaps you could bring some extra tasty treats and ask him for some commands? If there's any chance he'll listen to that ...good luck!
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's a good idea. He does like his treats, and will follow a few commands. Sit and shake for a treat might get his mind off of zooming around long enough to get him home.
 

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Thanks for the tips. My main concern is that is usually happens on walks at the park, a good half mile from home. I can't let him off the leash there, and I'm a bit trapped with him. He starts flying at me with claws and teeth going wild, and I almost always end up with ripped clothing or scratches, and feeling embarrassed as other people see this wild behavior and my inability to control it. He's relentless with his playful attacks. I guess a toy for diversion is the best bet for distracting him long enough to get him back home where he can be let loose to run wild and burn it off.
There was a reason I didnt wear anything nice around my dog until she was like .. 8 months old.

Try redirecting and you can try treats/commands.

Our trainer also taught us that if it gets really out of hand, just try ignoring them. Just turn your back to them and make NO eye-contact and don`t stay anything (no "shh" or "stop it" etc). Stay completely still. No matter how much nipping/jumping goes on. They will lose interest in you then. But you need to wear old ugly clothing for that because at first they probably will hang onto your clothes .... :D

My BF did that with Ella and it works to this day. If she gets too excited and starts jumping up at him, he just freezes and turns his back to her --> instant sit and calming down on dog`s part.

In some ways ignoring is the biggest "punishment". Screaming/yelling humans can be quite entertaining and the reason why so many dogs keep on jumping and nipping ppl`s butts. Human who is completely still and does not give a reaction is boring.
 
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