Labrador retrievers naturally have lots of energy. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why they are one of the most adored dog breeds. However, you might begin to wonder if this high activity is just because they have too much energy to spend or if it’s already because your Labrador is so hyper.
If your Labrador is so hyper, they may have one major reason why they are hyperactive, or it could be a mix of different reasons.
To help you learn why your Lab is so hyper and how to calm a hyper dog, here is a quick rundown of the symptoms of and possible causes behind their hyperactive behavior.
What are the symptoms of hyperactivity in Labs?
Your Labrador retriever may be so hyper if they exhibit the following signs:
- They are easily distractible.
- They have high energy levels.
- They are unable to pay attention.
- They are impulsive.
- They are hyperactive, such that they do lots of fidgeting and movements.
Common Reasons why you have an excited Labrador
Think of your Labrador as a kid. When a kid is bored, they often get jumpy and hyper. Your dog will be the same way.
If your dog feels like they do not have much to do all day, then they may feel anxious and bored. They may exhibit hyper behavior to try to stop feeling bored, much like a child.
Thankfully, boredom is easy to fix if that is why your Lab is hyper. You can leave more toys around your home so your dog can play with it whenever they feel like it.
Plus, you can also try to play with them more. They will surely get bored if they are always playing by themselves.
For more suggestions on what bonding activities you can do together with your little Lab, check out our blog post.
Your Lab could be acting out and hyper because they feel lonely. Sometimes, hyper behavior could mean that they want your attention.
Luckily, there is a simple solution to this—spend more time with your Labrador. Remember, they are also a part of your family, so you should treat them like one.
Try to put time aside in your day where you can hang out with your dog. You do not have to pet them 24/7. You can just keep them in the same room as you, or you can let them sit or lay down next to you. As long as they are with you, they will feel less lonely.
Lack of Exercise
Labradors are very energetic dogs. If they do not get enough exercise, they will find other ways to burn their energy, which includes being hyper.
Most Labrador puppies need 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. However, the duration of their exercise also depends on them since some canine companions are more energetic than others. Regular walks, playing fetch, playing tug-of-war, and even swimming (when they are above 3-4 months old) are great ways to encourage your Labrador pup to exercise!
As for adult Labs, one hour of exercise every day is usually good. If your Labrador likes to relax, they may prefer 45 minutes of low-impact exercise like walks or jogs. However, if your Labrador Retriever is a bundle of energy, they may want up to 2 hours of high-impact exercise like running or swimming laps around a pool.
Lack of Mental Stimulation
The brain is a muscle too, and it needs exercise to stay strong. Because Labradors are intelligent dogs, they also get bored quickly when they do not feel mentally stimulated.
So, how can you mentally stimulate them?
Well, you can try to teach them a new trick or make sure that they remember old ones.
You can spend 20 minutes a day to teach them a new trick and repeat it daily until they remember it. You can also try doing quick drills for 10-15 minutes a day to make sure that they remember old tricks. This will help keep their minds sharp. You can also try to encourage them to play a game of “find it” to help them strengthen their brain and nose.
You encourage hyper behavior.
If your dog acts hyper, and you give them what they want right away, then they may think that being hyper lets them get away with anything.
For example, if your Labrador retriever acts hyper, and you give them a snack to calm them down, then they may repeat that behavior to get more snacks.
So, you have to make them unlearn that behavior. When they act hyper, and you know they expect to get something from it, you need to ignore their request. Instead of giving in, you can try to say a command like “sit” or “down”. Once they listen to the command, give them treats to help them learn that obedience will give them rewards, not hyper behavior.
Remember the earlier statement where you should think of your Labradors like kids? Well, dogs are more similar to humans than you may think. Believe it or not, dogs can experience ADHD-like symptoms, too, as shown in this study.
Physical factors and social factors can also cause ADHD-like symptoms in a dog. Additionally, certain dog breeds like the German Shepherd may be more likely to have ADHD-like behavior.
To treat ADHD symptoms in your Lab, you can try any of the tips mentioned above. However, if your dog seems like they have serious ADHD, you may need to consult a veterinarian to know how to effectively manage it.
As mentioned earlier, loneliness can make your dog act hyper. However, if your dog gets trauma from being lonely or has been lonely for a long time, separation anxiety can cause hyperactivity as well. Additionally, a sudden change like moving houses or changing their schedule could make a Labrador experience separation anxiety.
If your dog gets separation anxiety, they will get anxious, which leads to hyperactivity. Some symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include escaping, pacing, howling, and/or barking, among others.
If your dog has mild symptoms, then you can try to counteract each time they may experience anxiety. For instance, you can give them an educational toy that will take them a while to finish. You can also refer to our post here for tips on how to calm down a dog with anxiety.
For moderate to severe separation anxiety, it would be best to get professional help. You can consult a veterinarian about medications, treatments, and training that you can get for your Labrador.
Most dogs are hyper because of loneliness, boredom, lack of mental stimulation, and lack of exercise. However, these are mostly easy to fix, and you can refer to our tips above for some measures that you can take to keep your Labrador from being hyperactive.
For more serious issues like ADHD and separation anxiety, you may have to train them and get the proper treatment. Remember, it takes time to change your Lab’s behavior, so be patient with them.