An excited dog is something that freaks many people out for some reason. I think maybe they feel like they’re going to lose control of whatever situation has gotten their dog so amped up, but there’s really no need for apprehension.
An Excited Dog is a Happy Dog
Unless your dog has a history of being aggressive, remember that an excited dog is usually a happy dog. This is where it pays to have really worked with your dog and know its cues. If you know your dog well, you can watch it for physical cues as to whether its in “excited dog” mode or “I’ll kill you!” mode.
Don’t Get Nervous
Remember this. Do not get nervous. Dogs pick up on both our physical cues and our vibes. If you start getting stiff, nervous, or in any way acting in a manner that your dog is unfamiliar with, it will go from an excited dog to a protective dog. That’s generally when things go downhill.
Don’t Be Afraid
Remember what the Bene Gesserit said in Dune: “Fear is the mind killer”. Don’t freak out when your excited dog starts to pull at the leash or bark. Don’t even freak out if its hackles are up. Never freak out no matter what’s going on, and always approach a situation as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. This helps both you and your excited dog remain cool, calm, and collected.
Calm Your Dog Down
If your excited dog is acting like a major goofball, do your best to calm it down. It might just be excited, but another dog or the kid that it’s trying to play with might see a vicious killer. You want to stop your dog from getting overly excited before it happens. So if you dog sees something that really catches its eye, get its attention to divert it from whatever it sees.
Control the Situation. Don’t Let it Control You
If what’s making your dog excited is another dog or a person, you can allow them to approach if you have a friendly dog. Just remember to keep the leash short in case your pooch gets too rambunctious. This is a great way to allow your dog to interact with the world and the creatures in it without losing control of the situation.
An Excited Dog is Nothing for You to Fear
No matter which side of the leash you’re on, an excited dog is nothing to fear. I’ve seen so many dogs that people said were snappy and bad, but it was only because people were approaching them incorrectly.
I remember a very cute, very excited dog named, Guinness. As you might guess, he was a Boston Terrier. Well, no one at the vet could touch Guinness except his owner. However, I was always picking him up and scratching him and getting kisses. Do you know what the problem was? His owner.
His owner pretty much did the opposite of everything I laid out here. Guinness is a very excited dog, and his mom always approached the situation with too much tension in her body and on the leash. He picked up on that and snapped at everyone. I finally ordered her to drop the leash while we were in the exam room, and as soon as she did, Guinness was fine.
The moral of the story is this, an excited dog is just an excited dog. Nine times out of ten, there’s nothing to get nervous about. In fact getting nervous is what can cause that tenth time to be a disaster.
Does your dog get really excited easily? What sets him off? Tell us in the comments!