Poodles are high-energy dogs that can display hyperactivity in certain situations. Poodles that don’t have enough stimulation will become high-strung or start acting out.
The good news is that most Poodles don’t exhibit clinical hyperactivity due to a medical issue. Instead, they tend to react to an unsettling situation or a lack of activity.
As high-maintenance dogs, Poodles require a lot of attention, so putting a Poodle in a crate or one room all day isn’t going to make your dog happy. Hyperactivity is also more common in Poodle puppies than in older dogs.
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So, If you’re wondering are poodles hyper or if your Poodle is having a hyper episode, there are several things that you can do to help your dog calm down.
What Will I Learn? 👇
Poodles are one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. Due to their high intelligence, poodles need regular engagement to keep them from going into hyperactive overdrive.
A famous poodle study demonstrates Poodles’ keen intelligence.
According to Professor Stanley Coren, professor of psychology and neurophysiological research at the University of British Columbia, poodles ranked high on the list for canine intelligence.
In his 1994 book, The Intelligence of Dogs, Coren produced the results of “obedience & working intelligence” tests conducted by Coren and 199 obedience trial judges from the American Kennel Club and Continental Kennel Club.
Coren studied how many repetitions Poodles (along with other dog breeds) needed to learn a new command. The more dogs that understood and obeyed a command on the first try scored high on a canine intelligence list.
Poodles came out at the top of the list. Only the Border Collie ranked higher than Poodles for intelligence. As a result, the study classed Poodles as one of the top 10 smartest dog breeds.
Here are the top three ways that a Poodle’s intelligence can cause it to act hyper.
They Need to Learn New Tricks
Since Poodles are highly intelligent, they excel at learning commands or completing training. These clever dogs need various interesting activities to satisfy their intellectual needs.
They’re Emotionally Sensitive
Poodles also easily pick up on their owners’ moods. If an owner acts angry, frustrated, or stressed, sensitive Poodles will start to act hyper.
They Get Separation Anxiety
If your pup is getting regular exercise and experiences a calm and stable environment, check if your pup is needing some quality time.
A lot of owners might leave the house for work, study, or errands during the day, leaving their dog behind.
Poodles need a lot of attention. They might get overexcited if left alone for too long.
A second reason why Poodles are hyper is that it is an innate part of their breeding.
Originally bred as working dogs to run, swim, and retrieve, Poodles are energetic dogs that respond well to lots of exercise, commands, incentives, and outdoor activities.
Today, most owners keep Poodles for companionship rather than as working dogs. Poodles can become hyperactive if they don’t get enough physical exercise or mental stimulation. If Poodles can’t follow their instinct that urges them to hunt, fetch, and herd, they can display destructive hyperactive behavior in attempts to relieve their lack of fulfillment.
High-energy dogs like Poodles are best matched with an active owner. Unlike their portrayal in movies, Poodles don’t like to lie around the house like lapdogs.
You might notice that your Poodle gets more hyper during cold winter months. That’s because your dog gets antsy cooped up inside with less access to regular exercise in bad weather.
Confining your Poodle to a kennel or a single room without adequate exercise or playtime is bad for your dog’s emotional and physical health. Many Poodles will develop nervous behavior or medical issues such as heart problems under these conditions.
If you want to keep your Poodle happy and cut down on negative, hyper behavior, be prepared to plan a lot of physical and mental activities into your dog’s day.
Most Poodles need a lot more regular activity than just a few minutes romping around the backyard each day.
Instead, they require a brisk walk or two every day, energetic game times, or vigorous training classes.
Are Poodle Puppies Hyper?
The smaller and younger a Poodle, the more likely they are to act hyperactive.
That’s due to a combination of nerves, training, and learning about their environment.
Poodle puppies who aren’t fully trained or who have a lot of pent-up energy can get extra bouncy and hyper.
Puppies, like babies, are also super sensitive to changes or upsetting home situations. Puppies can get easily startled, jump at a sudden touch or a loud sound, or experience intense separation anxiety when you leave the room.
The smaller Poodle breeds can also display hyperactive behavior due to both environment, high-strung nerves, and breeding.
For instance, Standard Poodles are typically the calmest dogs in the Poodle breed. Miniature and Toy Poodles tend to act more frenzied than bigger dogs. At the same time, bigger Poodles need more exercise than Poodle puppies to keep them fit and happy.
How to Calm a Hyper Poodle
There are some things that you can do to calm your hyper Poodle today.
- Take your Poodle for a brisk walk.
- Give them the run of the house for a few hours if the weather is bad outside.
- Integrate some throwing, running, or fetching games like tying a toy onto the end of a mop or broomstick into your dog’s day.
- Create a calm atmosphere.
- Get an interactive puzzle toy that will keep your Poodle busy and engaged in a fun mental goal as he works to obtain the treats contained in the toy.
- Spend some quality time with your pet.
- Pick up a calming vest online or at your local pet store. These vests will help keep your pet feeling secure during a thunderstorm or other situations.
- Work on regular “heeling” commands during free walking at a trail or park. This will help your dog bond with you and respond well to instructions.
- Sign your Poodle up for a next-level training class.
- Try doggy daycare to allow your Poodle to socialize and engage in calming group activities.
Keep in mind that a hyperactive puppy or a Toy or Miniature Poodle doesn’t need as much exercise as an adult dog or a Standard Poodle. That’s because small dogs have shorter legs so it’s harder for them to keep up with long or extra vigorous activities. Puppies also haven’t developed an adult Poodle’s stamina.
If you’re unable to give your Poodle the exercise that they need, consider paying a friend, a dogwalker, or a teenager to spend time playing and exercising with your dog.
Head to the Vet
If you’ve done everything possible to calm your dog and ensure mental and physical stimulation and you’re still experiencing hyperactivity issues, consider taking your pooch to a veterinarian for a checkup.
Most vets can run a test to check for canine heart problems by giving your dog amphetamine and checking your Poodle’s heart rate before and after administering the drug.
Your vet can also perform and full physical and bloodwork to check if there are any other health issues that might keep your Poodle restless and prevent him or her from relaxing.
Some dogs might experience clinical hyperactivity that isn’t relieved by games, time, or exercise. If this is the case, your vet might recommend putting your dog on Ritalin. This drug is a stimulant that creates a reverse effect and helps calm both hyperactive adults and canines.
Find what works best for your Poodle. That can include soothing music, walks, puzzles, treats, socialization, or even medicine to tone down hyperactivity and encourage your pet to feel secure and happy again.
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Marko is the founder and author at PoodleHQ, where he blends profound expertise with formal training in Animal Behavior and Canine Genetics. With multiple generations of poodles under his care, he’s a breed connoisseur, honored with the Canine Care Excellence Award and lauded by the International Pet Enthusiasts Association.