Ask the Dog Trainer: Zoomies Are a Teachable Time

Dear Kendal,
Every evening at 5 p.m., our poodle Missy transforms from a wise and majestic lady into a mad creature with wild eyes. She runs through our house, scattering the couch cushions and pacing. Last week she ran right into my little niece and sent her flying. Everyone was fine, but the incident was still scary. We love our sweet Missy, but why does she turn into a bouncing, wriggling, zigzagging menace every night?
– Fast and Furious Missy

Dear Missy Fast and Furious,
Fear not, “zooms” as we affectionately call them, are completely normal. Happy frolicking is a burst of high pent-up energy that expresses itself differently for each dog. Some dogs spin in circles, others wriggle and roll on the floor. My dog ​​Boomer likes to race up and down our stairs while his brother Charlie does laps around the yard, tail high, paws flapping, eyes fixed on a distant point on the horizon.
Some dogs break out into ecstatic barking or grab a toy. I have known an Airedale that was a picture of grace and poise all day until 11 p.m., when it would rip off its owner’s felt and dart through their house at breakneck speed. As entertaining as these antics can be, they can also lead to unfortunate accidents. So I’m going to give you some tips and tricks to help you channel Missy’s night runs into your home.
It’s wonderful that you noticed that these zooms occur at regular and predictable times. If you know Missy likes to romp uncontrollably in your living room at 5 a.m., then a few minutes before you can put her on a leash and go for a walk, play fetch in your yard, or grab some treats and channel it all. wild energy in focused learning. Brain games like puzzles, Peanut Butter Stuffed Kongs, or special chew toys are all great sources of entertainment and safe redirection if Zooms come at an inopportune time, like when your niece is visiting.
In addition to channeling Missy’s energy into a safe activity before her zooms, you may also find that she benefits from an increase in her daily exercise. Experiment with enrichment walks where you both explore your neighborhood or local trails, looking for new experiences to observe or following scent trails. You can enroll Missy in agility, dock diving, sheep herding or shelter hunting lessons or teach her to run on a treadmill indoors if venturing outside n is not an option.
If Missy starts running around your house and it’s not a safe time for her to do so inside, try redirecting her by inviting her outside to a more open space where she is less likely to run around. hurt themselves by hitting furniture. Avoid chasing her and trying to catch her. If you were playing a game with her and she explodes into action, pause your game and quickly run to your patio, calling her name and inviting her to chase you outside to continue his race.
A final tip is to pursue professional training with an experienced trainer who specializes in canine behavior, who can help you teach Missy to control her high-energy moments. Safety is always a top concern of mine, so I suggest teaching reliable recall so that if Missy is in an unenclosed area, you can call her to your side despite the high energy. An additional habit that I suggest implementing is not playing chase or initiating the game during the 5 o’clock zoom time.
With these changes, Missy should be just as fast but not as furious.
Kendall and Chandler Brown are owners of Custom K-9 Service Dogs, a dog training business serving Minden/Gardnerville, Carson and Reno. For more information, visit or email

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