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We brough home an 8-month-old male Bichon Frise about six weeks ago. The little bugger fits the description in this pets.se question ...

My dog is becoming unusually hyper. Whining, won't hold still, and jumping/nipping at me

My dog is just over a year old, so full blown puppy stage... but she is constantly hyper. I don't mean like burst of energy then she lays down. She is always moving. I'll play with her, take her on walks, let her go to the bathroom regularly...but she just jumps on me and whines like she needs something, then when I pay attention it's more play. If she does sorta lay in my lap she's constantly moving positions and biting at my hands and legs. Then I'll pet her and she'll start play growling and biting more. It doesn't matter how many times I tell her 'no'. She keeps doing it. It doesn't matter how much I play with her, She is never tired. Is ADHD in dogs?

... with the exception that he was super hyperactive from day one.

We live in a rural area, and he gets his exercise tearing through a pasture which occupies the majority of our 10 acres. (Then he comes in and does the same thing in our large house.)

He was neutered a couple of weeks ago, but his hyperactivity hasn't diminished one bit since (presumably) there is less testosterone flowing through his veins.

The vet recommended 25 mg Benadryl. That worked at first, but now 50 mg only calms him for a couple of hours at most and it takes over two hours to take effect at all.

This is very stressful, not to mention time-consuming.

Is there another medication, etc. that anyone has found to be effective so that we can get a little peace and quiet?


Also, he doesn't sleep more that an hour during the time when he is not asleep on the bed (or in his crate) with us. Also, I have noticed that his head sometimes seems to nervously "vibrate" back and forth slightly when he is intently gazing at something.

  • I am home with this dog over 99% of the time. And I am not a young man anymore. – Mike Waters Nov 16 '19 at 17:33
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Medication won't do a thing for this dog. It is only an easy way for you to drug the dog to get some calm without having to spend time actively interacting and training him.

Burn off energy

What he actually needs is to burn off his energy. Despite your large property, your dog won't do that on his own. Dogs are social animals and crave social interactions. He won't jog a mile around your house on his own, he wants you to do it with him.

Since this breed is rather small, you have the advantage that you could keep up with him. Just a simple walk won't be enough for him, but you can go jogging, hiking, roller skating or biking with him (at a pace he can keep up with). You must do this daily with little exceptions (due to bad weather), or he'll terrorize you again.

Some alternatives to walking with high energy dogs are playing frisbee or agility. These also have the advantage that they burn lots and lots of the dog's energy while requiring less energy investment from you. The prerequisite for this is that you have trained the dog to move to certain spots without having to move there yourself (like: dog bringing the frisbee back to you or running through a tunnel when pointed there).

Have a look at this collection for instructions and some more ideas.

Obedience training

In parrallel to burning off some energy, you should really do basic obedience training. This not only strengthens your bond with him, it also teaches him patience and to control his impulses. The lack of this control is what's making him so stressful right now. He wants to play and he wants it right now, now, NOW!

You don't write enough about you and your dog to be sure, but it could be that he feels like noone is leading this family (or pack in dog terms), and therefore he has to be the pack leader. At 8 months of age he sure is a strong young adult and might be so hyper because he feels the need to keep everything and everyone in check and control his chaotic human pack that doesn't do what he wants. Obedience training is the best way to make him understand that you are the pack leader and decide what to do, so he doesn't have to control you anymore. If he's the nervous type, this knowledge that someone else is leading the pack and making the hard decisions is very reassuring and can calm him down a lot.

For such an active and high energy dog, you can make him earn his entire daily meal by doing tricks and following your commands. Weight his daily meal in the morning, then train with him 2 - 3 times a day and give him his meal as reward. Start with the basic "sit", "stay" and "come here" and then slowly work your way up to things like "high five", "roll over" or "jump over my arm". It may not seem that way at first, but this training is also a social interaction between you two and making you happy can make your dog very happy, too.

Time out

In addition to this, I suggest to crate train your dog. You don't actually need a crate for this, a dog bed or basked should suffice. This place should be a retreat and calm place for your dog. Ideally, he should sleep there every night and not get reprimanded while being there.

Teach your dog to go into his crate on command, reward him with a treat or a chewing stick, then either close the crate door or clip the leash close to his bed to make him stay there. As with all new things, you must start slow (release him after a few minutes) and work your way up. This gives you the chance to send him into a timeout, either when he's too rough and demanding, or when you have guests over.

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  • Thank you, but I have had dogs (including a female Bichon puppy) before. This one has not responded to exercise. – Mike Waters Nov 16 '19 at 17:14
  • We always have crate-trained our dogs. He has a crate. – Mike Waters Nov 16 '19 at 17:32
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    @MikeWaters As far as my (limited) experience goes, he will either stop reacting to medication after a while or just be doped up to the gills. What about his character? Is he a very nervous or anxious dog? Or does he control people and other pets around him? Does he respond to obedience training or ignore you? Maybe add more information to your original question and describe in detail what you mean with "hyperactive" and how exactly he behaves. – Elmy Nov 16 '19 at 18:45
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    @MikeWaters Thanks, but that doesn't answer my questions about his character. I'm not sure this kind of behavior isn't caused by an insecure dog who is very reactive or anxious, tries to control people around him and therefore cannot relax. Maybe it's time to ask a local dog trainer for help. I really hope you find a solution because I'm afraid he won't calm down on his own for a long time to come... – Elmy Nov 16 '19 at 19:21
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    This is a great answer. Dogs don't need drugs/medication to calm down. This answer gives the perfect remedy or a solution. If its not working then something isn't being done correctly. – UIO Nov 18 '19 at 10:44

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