Have you ever wondered why your dog runs in circles, chases its tail, or runs all over the house? That behaviour is known as the 'zoomies'. Below we will explain what zoomies in dogs are, why they occur and what you can do when your dog shows this type of behaviour.
What are Zoomies in dogs?
A zoomie is technically known as a FRAP (Frenetic Random Activity Period) and there are a number of reasons why our canine companions may have a FRAP.
During zoomies, your dog runs at high speed in circles, zigzags, or side to side with no apparent aim. They may appear to be possessed by a sudden burst of energy.
When do dogs have a zoomie?
In many dogs, zoomies occur first thing in the morning and first thing in the afternoon. In more playful puppies and younger dogs, they are more common simply because younger dogs have a lot of energy that they need to burn off.
In older dogs it may be noticed that zoomies often follow a period of restraint such as after a bath or when a dog has been groomed. The frenetic zooming around is simply then a release of pent up energy following the stress (to some dogs) of having to stay still for a period or simply to dry off.
Dogs can also exhibit the zoomies after eating, long periods of sleep, relieving themselves or even when they are tired or frustrated. In these cases it's possible to associate certain activities that precede the frenetic activity in your own dog. Certain stressful situations, such as a visit to the vet, can also provoke the zoomies.
What should be done?
First of all, there is nothing to be distressed about. Even if your dog's zoomies are accompanied by the odd nip or bite, this is nothing to worry about.
If zoomies occur at home in a more confined area and you're wondering what to do about these crazy little bursts of canine energy then the two best options are:
- If you can distract your dog by doing an activity he enjoys, such as a long walk. Some dogs will be happy to divert their attention and burn off their energy in a less frantic way.
- Another option, if you have a secure garden area, is to simply open the gate and let them have fun.
Are zoomies bad?
Zoomies are a natural part of canine development or behaviour. Most dogs show this behaviour less and less as they get older and outgrow it.
If your dog is healthy and won't harm himself or his environment, zoomies are a harmless way to be a dog.
How to react to zoomies?
When your dog is experiencing zoomies, it is important that you react appropriately to ensure his safety and avoid problematic situations. Here are some guidelines on how to react to zoomies:
- Keep calm: Zoomies are a natural expression of energy and emotion in dogs. Stay calm and avoid overreacting or frightening, as this could further upset your dog.
- Provide a safe environment: Make sure the area where your dog keeps the zoomies is free of obstacles that could cause harm. Remove breakable furniture, small objects, or anything he might knock over or trip over as he runs.
- Supervise closely: Keep a watchful eye on your dog during zoomies to make sure he doesn't wander into dangerous areas, such as roads or bodies of water. Observe his behaviour for any signs of exhaustion or annoyance.
- Don't try to stop him abruptly: Avoid grabbing your dog or getting in his way as he runs briskly. This could cause injury or scare them. Allow him to safely release the energy from him until he calms down on his own.
- Redirect energy: If the area is safe and you have enough space, you can redirect your dog's energy by providing interactive toys, such as a ball or frisbee, to chase and retrieve. This can help channel his energy and provide more focused activity.
How to avoid zoomies
- Establish an exercise routine: Zoomies can be a sign that your dog needs more regular exercise. Be sure to provide him with enough daily physical activity through walks, games, and other forms of exercise that are appropriate for his age and physical condition.
- Provide mental stimulation: In addition to physical exercise, it is important to provide mental stimulation for your dog. Puzzle games, interactive toys, and obedience training are all great ways to keep his mind busy and satisfied. A mentally stimulated dog tends to be more balanced and less prone to zoomies out of boredom.
- Proper socialisation: Exposing your dog to different environments, people, and other dogs in a safe and controlled manner can help reduce anxiety and over-arousal that can lead to zoomies. Proper socialisation helps your dog feel more comfortable and secure in a variety of situations, which can decrease the frequency of zoomie episodes.
- Avoid excessive stimulants: Some dogs are more prone to zoomies when overstimulated. Avoid exposing your dog to excessive stimuli, such as loud noises, crowds, or overly exciting interactions, if you know this triggers his zoomies.
Does your dog get the zoomies? Was it something you found amusing or worrying? Let us know below!