All Things Dog

Dealing With Your Dog’s Energy Bursts

Once or twice a day, most puppies kick up their heels and go a little gleefully wild. One label for this extra energy burst is a FRAP, Frenetic Random Activity Period. This condition is especially true of older puppies that will soon be leaving puppyhood behind. And, though FRAP is mostly associated with pups, some young adult dogs still exhibit these bursts of energy.

What to look for and expect

FRAPs most often happen in the early morning and early evening. Racing around the house, rolling on the rugs and careening off the furniture are all normal parts of the canine FRAP. When you can, sit back and enjoy the brief show.

You may be able to determine that a FRAP is coming when you see a glint in your dog's eye. Or maybe he'll assume a bow-like position, with his chest on the floor and his tail in the air. Then, suddenly, he'll bark or bounce, and then—he's off spinning in circles, racing up and down the hall, around or over the furniture, barking at you, and pouncing at toys. He's a veritable whirlwind and few things in life are as full of pure happiness as an energetic FRAP.

How to deal with FRAP

Sometimes a good FRAP is just plain fun, but other times you need to tone them down a bit for the sake of your house or dog's safety. A simple solution is letting your dog run around inside a fenced yard. Opening the door is usually all that is required to get him outside, but you can attract his attention with a favorite toy and toss it outside if he needs to be coaxed.

If you don't have a fenced backyard, close the doors of the rooms inside your home that you want to keep off limits. As a precaution, dogs should be kept off slippery surfaces to avoid slip 'n' slide accidents. Be especially aware of anything that could topple if bumped hard. The good news is that FRAPs rarely last more than a few minutes.

One way to keep a FRAP from erupting is to put your dog in his crate with a good chew toy for a few minutes. Or, if he'll focus, you can get out some treats and harness this energy into some obedience practice.

What you want to avoid is supporting this behavior. Chasing him around or laughing at his antics encourages more of this behavior. Remember, most dogs experience FRAPs at some point or another. It's a natural part of their development—and an event that can add smiles to your day.

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