Ask the Trainer

Ask the Trainer: What Causes My Dog to do the Zoomies?

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“About once a day, my dog gets in a frenzy of running around my house, bouncing off the couch.  She does this in the yard too.  She will circle my pool about 15 times and then lays down panting.  I just get out of the way and wait for it to stop.  Why does she do this?” – Dana P.

Hi Dana,

This is a classic case of the “zoomies”.  The technical name is Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAP).  These are random bursts of energy which typically only last for one or two minutes.  FRAP is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the dog letting out a burst of energy.

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Assuming the dog is in no immediate danger and you do not mind them letting out their pent up energy, you can just let the zoomies run their course.   If you see your dog starting to gear up for a case of the zoomies, you could preemptively try to curtail it.  Some ways of doing this are providing your dog a chew toy or bone to occupy their time or engage them in obedience training.  If FRAP tends to strike at predictable times each day, you could crate your dog for a short period of time in order to prevent it, or better yet, take them out for a walk or play session in order to tire them out.  Doing this will avoid the zoomies because you are productively eliminating that pent up energy.

Unless my dog was in danger of getting hurt or hurting someone else, I would not intervene.  Intervening could get you or your dog hurt.  That’s why it’s best to simply let it run its course or to proactively prevent the zoomies.

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As always, there is no replacement for providing your dog adequate mental and physical exercise on a daily basis.  I prefer obedience training for metal stimulation and Tug, Fetch, or a structured walk for physical exercise.  Dogs are active companion animals by nature.  This means you need to get out and live life with your dog.  They want to be with and do things with you, not just sit around the house.  This will improve both your dog’s longevity and quality of life.

Steven Reid is a Professional Dog Trainer who provides dog training in Putnam NY.  For more information about Steve: www.srdogtraining.com. Also become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SRDogTraining.

Check out Oakley the Husky doing the infamous “couch zoomies!”

 

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Sponge

    Dec 1, 2016 at 9:58 am

    It means your dog is bored and you should do something with it

  2. Jean

    Nov 29, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    So sad to think anyone would want to stop the zoomies, providing they are safe for zoomer and watcher. They are an expression of joy and good health. You can encourage your dog to zoom by standing in a safe spot and yelling, “GO. Zoom, zoom” and eventually even instigate them on your own. When your dog is old and doesn’t want, or is unable, to zoom you will miss them. 🙂

    • roy and romona

      Nov 29, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      Agree! My family has always called it “the super sonic” and we actually sit back and enjoy the dogs “down time”. If only we had a time to do the same!

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