Over-excitement is a big problem - one of the major behavioral issues in dogs. Over-excitement can be exhibited not only by the domesticated dogs but also by the dogs in the wild. Dogs are social animals and they have emotions that that they try express in their own unique ways that varies from dog to dog and from situation to situation. While some dog shows over-excitement during feeding time, others exhibit this undesirable behavior during the play or when they meet their loved ones or even during the periods or stress and anxiety.
Dealing with the hyper excitement in dogs is tough and a may be a very tricky proposition - especially because the root cause varies according to the situation. Playtime hyper excitement and feeding time hyper excitement should be handled differently. However, hyper excitement is a wrong behavior indeed, but its quite common and not any disorder.
The best way to deal with hyper excitement is to discourage the behavior by not nurturing it with treats or praises. However, at the same time it is important to make sure that your interaction with your dog and your behavior towards him/her should be calm so as to help your him/her cool down.
Here, we will discuss the hyper excitement in two different situations - during feeding and during play time.
Play Time Over-excitement
Often times the play time hyper excitement is confused with aggression. Remember aggressive behavior is way different from hyper excitement, although in novice eyes both behaviors may look very similar. Lack of outdoor socialization and inadequate behavioral training are the root causes of over-excitement during the playtime. Some breeds - especially the working dogs that are expected to have naturally higher energy level like German shepherds, Airedale Terrier, English Springer Spaniel, Pointer, Vizsla, Jack Russell Terrier, Collies, Beagle, Dobermann Pinscher naturally show overly excited behavior during the play or walk time.
Boundaries (limitations) in the play is necessary; more important is balancing the playtime. It is most important to identify the factors that stimulate the dog to become hyper active. Once those factors are identified effectively, you can control hyper activity by addressing those factors. Giving the dog sufficient exercise - both physical and mental stimulation are of utmost importance. Most common factor that stimulate dogs to become overly excited is the owner's excitement. If you speak to him in an excited tone or exhibited excitement through your body language you will stimulate your dog to behave more excitedly if he/she is already having over-excitement problem.
Setting boundaries (limitations) include setting up of certain consistent rules for your dog and train him/ her to obey those. Make sure your dog in a calm (yet alert) state before you throw the ball. If he has a tendency to grab it directly from your hand before you throw it, it is immediately necessary to suppress this tendency through properly socializing him/her to the situations. Train him/ her to stay cool until you throw the ball. AboutGermanShepherdDog talks in depth about play time over-excitement
Feeding Time Hyper Excitement
Feeding time over excitement is not as common as the play time hyper excitement. The most common factors that stimulates the feeding time over excitement is the type of treat/ food he/ she gets, the time when he gets the food, and the treatment he gets even after showing over excitement. If your dog always gets exactly what he always expects, then he may exhibit over excitement to express his/ her emotion. If he gets exactly at the time when he expects, it may stimulate him/her to become over excited.
And finally if he gets his highly expected food, during exactly when he expects it even after showing too much excitement (which is not desirable) that you are naturally nurturing this behavior. Best way out is to keep changing his food (always keeping in mind the goodness of ingredients) frequently and alongside set different times for food, without making much delay. By doing these you can help him keep away from anticipating the food type and time.
Obviously putting him to a good exercise session (play and/or walk) at least two hours before the his feeding time is a wise plan.
Other Reasons For Hyper Excitement
Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD): Although quite rare but but Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity may be another reason behind your dog's over excitement.
Highly Reactive Dogs: Certain breeds are more reactive than others; while certain dogs in a same breed tend to be heavily reactive. Reactive dogs, as opposed to hyperactive dogs, tend to react to any situations - be it small or big. Hyper-reactivity may be another reason for your dog to show over excitement (often leading to barks, followed by aggression at times).
Is Your Dog Obsessed About a Particular Thing? If so, then showing hyper excitement over things that your dog is obsessed about is quite normal. Try to desensitize your dog, which is a long term process and action involves almost all approaches that you would do to socialize him or her to keep his/her emotion under control. Obsessive compulsive disorders in dogs can be treated by systematic desensitization - a technique that involves gradually exposing the dog to an ever-increasing excitement-provoking stimuli. It is recommended not increase the intensity of the stimuli/ situation until the dog fully learns to stay relaxed under the given situation.
However, nothing can resolve these behavioral problems overnight. It is a long-term process and you need to keep cool and be patience. Throughout this process it is important to the owner to keep away from showing over excitement for any reason.
Staying consistent, systematic and focused are the most important qualities for a good pack leader.