Dog behaviourist shares the little-known reason your dog gets the zoomies

Pet owners worldwide have witnessed the their dogs getting the ‘zoomies’. But what are they? Dog trainer Adem Fehmi, behaviourist for vet-recommended pet food brand Barking Heads, explains what the phenomenon is, and the many reasons why you may find your dog experiencing them.

What pet parents may not know, however, is that the reason for a dog’s zoomies can be that they want to get away from you – but in doing so, they’re sending another message.

What are Zoomies?

Frenetic Rando Activity Periods are often known as zoomies. These are usually characterised by a random burst of energy that causes your pup to run in circles for a few minutes. They’re often funny to watch, but it’s important that dog owners understand what can trigger them, and when it can be a cause for concern.

Five reasons why dogs get Zoomies

Adem Fehmi explains that dogs can become hyperactive and get the ‘zoomies’ for a number of reasons.

Your dog wants to get away from you

Your pup might use the ‘zoomies’ to avoid your advances when you need to take hold of them at home or in an open space, such as a park. This creates an element of fun for your dog – in fact, their gamifying the situation by turning it into chase, and they’re enjoying the attention they get from you as a result.

Stage of life

You’ll need to consider your dog’s life stage. Puppies and younger dogs are more likely to get the ‘zoomies’. However, older dogs can occasionally display this behaviour too – often much less frequently, and less vigorously!

For a puppy or younger dog, the reasons behind this behaviour are likely a result of excess energy they need to burn off, a burst of ‘happy energy’ from excitement of seeing another dog or someone they know, knowing its nearly time for their favourite puppy food, or even being taken to a location they love.

Your puppy is happy around you

The ‘zoomies’ could also come about from the desire to instigate a game – whether with their owner or another dog – or simply the feeling of security and happiness they feel; in other words, it’s a display of affection towards either you, as their parent, or others they love.

Your older dog is excitable

If your dog is slightly older and such energetic, excitable behaviour is becoming disruptive, you might worry about your dog hurting themselves or others when they get the zoomies.  This behaviour could lead to other unwanted, unsafe behaviours, such as lunging and mouthing. I would suggest that advice is sought from an accredited behaviourist to address the root cause.

Your dog needs more enrichment

Finally, it could be that your dog is not receiving enough mental and physical stimulation and exercise throughout the day to meet its needs, with little or no chance to express natural behaviours constructively and safely. An accredited behaviourist will be able to assess your dog and their needs, putting a plan in place to address this behaviour.

Remember, we should never look to ‘block’ such behaviours but instead ensure our dogs have a sufficient outlet in other ways to reduce and eliminate the behaviours we would rather not see.

Featured Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash.

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