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Labrador Retrievers were initially bred to help their owners with various hunting activities that required a lot of energy. This hyperactivity is passed down via their ancestors, yet many owners find it overwhelming and question whether it is permanent.
Labradors usually slow down between the ages of two and four. Some pups will be more active for a longer period than others. It’s always best to consider frequent, everyday exercise for an overly active puppy to ease its hyperactivity.
It’s best to understand why your Labrador is energetic and how you may help your dog relax. I’ll go through the additional symptoms of hyperactivity in Labradors and provide some suggestions on how to use their energy productively and reduce unwanted behaviors.
Why Your Labrador Puppy Is So Hyper
In the early years, every breed will have naturally high amounts of energy. This results in an above-average surplus for Labs in particular.
Some hyperactive symptoms in Labradors include, but are not limited to:
- Resource guarding
- Barking incessantly
- Anxiety disorders and phobias
- Food allergies or intolerance
- Negative behavior
- Excessive sensitivity to light and sound
- Panting, pacing, and a continuous state of motion
It is important to remember that if your dog exhibits these symptoms, it is not random, and there is most likely a reason.
Labradors Are Naturally Energetic
It is typical for a Lab to be active. That is why the breed has traditionally been employed extensively in hunting and tracking.
Since Labradors are hunting dogs, they have a lot of energy and seem high-strung, particularly in their first years of life.
You should also note that Labrador pups develop at a somewhat later age than other breeds. As a consequence, your dog may seem grown yet retain the enthusiasm and curiosity of a puppy.
Your Labrador Needs More Exercise
Labradors should exercise daily. It is normal for them to become hyperactive when they do not receive enough exercise.
It is generally advised that they often be walked since they need the most significant activity on the AKC exercise scale.
If it’s a puppy, though, it’s best to restrict activity to 5 minutes per month of age until the dog is completely developed. For example, for a four-month-old pup, 20 minutes of exercise each day is excellent.
They can go out for considerably longer after they are completely mature.
While taking your dog for walks on a regular basis is ideal, you may not have the time to do so every day. In such a scenario, try allowing your dog to run about in the backyard.
It is not necessary to have a large backyard to keep a Labrador. However, if the backyard will be the main source of exercise, a minimum of 500 sq. ft. (46.45 sq. m.) is required to provide adequate space for Labradors to run.
A Hyperactive Puppy Seeks Attention
Another reason for your dog’s hyperactivity may be a need for attention.
If you do not give your Labrador much attention throughout the day but do when they are hyper, they will have learned that acting in that manner will win your attention. As a result, your Labrador will be hyper more often.
It is also possible that you have fostered the habit by rewarding them with toys or sweets when they are hyper. As a result, they will likely be restless more often to get more rewards.
If you suspect this is the case, you can try ignoring them when the pup attempts to gain your attention by being hyper. Likewise, reward your Lab with your attention when they behave correctly.
Separation Anxiety Can Make a Labrador Hyperactive
Separation anxiety may potentially be the source of the hyperactivity.
This is when your Labrador dislikes being apart from you, a favorite toy, or another friend. The dog may get nervous as a result of this absence and exhibit abnormal behavior.
In the case of separation anxiety, there is a slew of additional symptoms that often accompany the increased energy levels, such as:
- Indoor peeing
- A lot of barking
- Destruction of furniture
There is no convincing data that explains why dogs experience separation anxiety. However, some of the causes are as follows:
- New timetable
- Residence transfer
- Changes in guardianship or family
- A frequent household member had left home.
How To Calm Your Labrador
When it comes to reducing the extra energy levels that Labradors have, exercise is the most excellent option.
A minimum of 30 minutes of walking each day is required to keep your dog’s energy under control.
It helps to be creative in how you spend these 30 minutes. You can, for example, stroll your dog to and from your favorite food truck. Or, if your backyard supports it you can play games like fetch or frisbee.
If you cannot devote this much time to working out your dog, there are alternative ways to calm your Labrador. While none of the following are as beneficial as exercise, they may provide some results.
Try Nose Work
Long walks aren’t always the best option for some pets. For example, some dogs may not be taught to walk on a leash or live in an area where lengthy walks are not always possible.
In such a case, there are several alternative energy options.
When teaching your dog nose work, a scent-based exercise is one method to engage their attention and expend some energy. A dog’s sense of smell is its most acute sense, and it surely enjoys using it.
Your role is to conceal different things and train your Labrador to locate them depending on a keyword. You can also look for nose work courses in your region or buy a kit to help you out.
This approach will stimulate your dog’s intellect, improve their hunting abilities, and exhaust them.
Use Clicker Training
Clicker training is a simple and successful method for teaching your dog the behaviors you want them to display. While it will not necessarily decrease their energy levels, it will lead them to utilize their energy more effectively in accordance with your directions.
The first step is to get a clicker. They are often tiny, basic gadgets that fit in the palm of your hand, and are relatively inexpensive.
Following that, you can begin teaching your dog by following the tips outlined below:
- You’ll teach your dog that the click indicates they will receive a treat. It’ll soon associate the sound of the click with the reward you give it.
- When your dog displays a behavior, you want them to learn, click. For example, if you’re going to train the dog to calm down, instantly click the clicker and give it a reward when it relaxes on your instruction.
- Never forget to commend them on their good conduct with a treat.
Bex88 has a video showing how a training session should go if you want a more thorough explanation of clicker training. Watch the video using the link below:
Use the AKC’s STAR Method
You can also use the American Kennel Club’s STAR idea, which they utilize to educate dog owners on how to raise their dogs properly. STAR is an abbreviation that stands for:
- Responsible owner
When dealing with an energetic dog, the whole STAR concept can be beneficial.
Granted, it may not cure the issue on its own, but when combined with exercise and other training, you may end up with a calmer pet.
Also, realize that training isn’t necessarily for submission, but to help help your dog see you as a pack leader.
One of the techniques I mentioned above will almost certainly help your Labrador settle down, so give them a go as soon as possible.
Remember that even when your Lab is energetic, they need all of your love and attention.
Your joyful best buddy will be more well-behaved sooner than you think, thanks to your care and training.
- American Kennel Club: Mark & Reward: Using Clicker Training to Communicate With Your Dog
- American Kennel Club: How AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Is Part of Being a Responsible Puppy Owner
- American Kennel Club: 5 Tips For a Hyperactive Dog
- Best Friends Animal Society: Dog Nose Work: Scent Training Sport for Dogs
- CUNY Academic Works: Does Clicker Training Lead to Faster Acquisition of Behavior for Dog Owners?
- Texas A&M University CVMBS News: Separation Anxiety
- Hill’s Pet: When Does My Puppy Become an Adult Dog?