We have all seen it; the crazed look in their eye and a sudden dash too and fro across the living room. Their butt is tucked low, and they are on a mission to run as fast as they can to nowhere. It is entirely natural to think your beloved pup has lost its mind. What's really happening is your dog is experiencing dog zoomies.
Thank goodness the research shows that zoomies are perfectly natural, and there are tons of studies on the causes and how to deal with it. Dog Zoomies occur in most dogs' breeds, so all dog owners should know how to handle them when it happens.
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What Are Zoomies?
The scientific name for zoomies is Frenetic Random Activity Periods or FRAP. These periods are often started when dogs have an excessive amount of energy and need to act them out. They can even be triggered by stressful situations, as well.
Zoomies may even be triggered by specific times of the day. It is noted that many dogs experience zoomies early in the morning or in the evening hours.
Thankfully, zoomies are usually a short-lived experience, and your dog will tire out relatively quickly.
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Are There Triggers for Zoomies?
There are many reasons that zoomies can take place in your dog. That built up energy can come for many different reasons, like after being left home alone in a crate. Another common trigger for zoomies is bath time. Often, dogs will run wild after receiving a bath. That comes from the fact that dogs don’t really like being confined to a bath. They want to be free, and running wildly after a bath is how they show it.
If you think that your dog starts to have zoomies around the same time, you’re probably right. Dogs, especially indoor dogs, tend to exert their energy around the same time every day as a part of their ritual. Settling down for the evening may actually be a trigger for FRAP.
Zoomies are also very infectious! If one dog has zoomies, all the surrounding dogs tend to catch a case. If you have multiple fur babies and one gets a little wild-eyed, be prepared for a stampede of smiling doggies charging around the house.
Even though most dog breeds are akin to having FRAPS, it has been found that as dogs age, the number of episodes they experience begins to subside. So typically, you will only see these bursts of energy while your dog is still young.
How Do You Control Zoomies?
Create a Safe Place
While zoomies do cause quite a bit of chaos, they are a natural part of your dog's life and should not be discouraged. The most important thing a dog owner can do is make sure there is a safe environment for your dog to run out its zoomies.
The most common area for dogs to run out their zoomies will ideally be in the privacy of your own backyard. However, if you are low on outside space, there are some things you can do inside to ensure your pooch has a safe zooming experience.
One thing you can do is create an area to put your dog while it is going through FRAP. You can designate any room of your house, but ensure it is a safe environment for your family and your dog.
Try to take all breakable items out of your dog's space. The last thing you want is glass on the floor while your dog is mid zoom. Next, you will want to make the floor as soft as possible. It's adorable when a dog is trying to make its way around a tile corner, and its feet are slipping each and every way, but slippery surfaces can be dangerous for your dog. If possible, lay down some carpet so your dog can have a safe space to run free.
Make Them Chase You. Don’t Chase Them
One thing an owner definitely doesn't want to do is to chase a dog that's zooming. Engaging with your dog and creating more excitement will give them more energy. This can make it more difficult to calm them down.
What do you do if your dog starts zooming at an inopportune time or in an inappropriate place? Your instinct is to catch them and leash them or to bring them to a better place. However, if you start to chase, dogs may misread your actions and think it's playtime.
The best thing to do in the situation is to run away from them. It may appear to be the opposite of what you should do. However, if you let them chase you to a better-suited or previously designated area for FRAP episodes, then it's the best option without causing more excitement.
Also, having treats at the ready is a great way to positively reinforce their good behavior and train them for similar situations in the future. Like we said before, punishing your dog for zooming isn't helpful, so make sure you practice some training techniques that will be beneficial for you and your pup!
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Keep Your Dog Well Exercised
Zoomies usually only happen about once per day for just a few minutes. They shouldn't be more frequent or longer than that duration.
If you notice your pup experiencing FRAP more often, this might be a sign that they need to get some more exercise. Burning energy during exercise is essential for dogs. If this is
happening, try to take your dog out for long walks or take them out to play for longer than usual.
If you keep your dog well exercised, you should see a decrease in how often they experience zoomies.
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What Do the Zoomies Look Like?
You have probably seen your dog experience a case of the zoomie but haven’t put the right word to it. Many dogs with zoomies will sprint for a short distance or even chase their tails. Some will run in a circle. A dog could tuck their tail and rapidly change directions. In most cases, pups will vocalize during a zoomie outburst. That sudden burst of energy and expressions will cause them to pant. You will be wondering what happened? That was a zoomie. These brief bursts of energy last for a short bit, and dogs are often exhausted after that crazy behavior.
In a few cases, you might be able to predict when a zoomie episode will begin. Many dogs will let out a “fake sneeze.” The pup will assume an active stance with the tail held high, butt up in the air, and the head close to the ground. When dogs want to signal that it is time for play, they will often Tdipaly this behavior. Those sneezing sounds are not a fluke; it is a way for dogs to signal to their owners (or other dogs) that it is time to be chased. Remember, you are part of the pack, and your dog wants you to know it is time for a zoomies session.
When that happens, get out of the way and watch your dog zoom around the house.
Is This Behavior Always Safe?
Dog zoomies are totally normal, and they are the result of pent-up energy. Even a dog with an appropriate exercise routine will experience zoomies from time to time. Some dogs will not ever zoom in on their lives, which is completely normal. You should never be concerned about witnessing your dog with a case of the zoomies. Think of the zoomies as another quirky canine behavior that will make you love your pup even more.
A few pet owners do worry about their dog’s nervous energy. Could FRAPs be a sign of obsessive-compulsiveness rather than a natural behavior? Yes, dogs can be diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but the occasional zoom across your living room or backyard is not a sign of this condition.
You have to be on the lookout for other problems, such as eating non-food items, pacing, or self-mutilating (chewing on paws, limbs, or skin). If you notice any of those symptoms, then your dog could have anxiety. With that, you need to schedule a visit to a veterinary clinic. In almost all cases, zoomies are a natural and innocent burst of energy, not a symptom of problematic canine behavior issues.
If zoomies are getting to be too much for your dog, you can always try to curb the urge. Consider obedience training, behavioral conditioning, or natural supplements to keep your dog a bit calmer. The key to reducing anxiety in your dog is maintaining a consistent routine. When your dog knows what to expect every day, she is more likely to have less nervous energy and stay calm.
FRAP is an entirely normal experience that most dogs go through. Even though it may be overwhelming sometimes, remember they are short-lived bursts of energy and don't mean your dog has any underlying condition.
Also, creating a safe place for your dog is the best way for everyone to have a good laugh while your pup sprints across the yard wide-eyed and out of its mind with happiness.