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ADHD in Dogs

Hyperactivity, otherwise known as “hyperkinesis,” can be defined as dogs who display frenetic activity, abnormally short attention spans, and high impulsiveness. They can also demonstrate overbearing attention-seeking behaviour. It is truly a canine form of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), while Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is similar to Separation Anxiety as per what we have discussed on our previous blog.

Below is a video, What I did with my Border Collie, Hershey, at the time of the video, she was barely 1 year old. Being a hyperactive BC, she moves around non stop and barely see her at rest.

However, I have put in a free shaping paradigm to achieve her at rest with good Reinforcement. She loves to stay at that Relax position to gain her rewards.

Just like a human, we do have very active people and we do have a hyperactive puppy. Regardless of the species, we need to put in a plan to address the ADHD issues.

What are the options available for resolving hyperactivity in a dog?

Dog Training as an option (Highly recommended)

Work out for your dog

Keep your pup properly exercise and stimulated, will maintain your pup in optimum health. Let the old saying: "A Satisfied Dog is a Happy Dog". A dog that is occupied and challenges daily and frequently is usually a well-behaved dog. How to keep your dog occupied? Maintain a good training routine, a long walk, a game of fetch, hide and seek etc are good ways to keep your pup happy.

Give your dog a job to do

You may want to give your pup a job to do. A job will keep your pup occupied and challenge thus burning his excitement, excess energy and find a proper avenue, such as a job to manage and contain it. A job for your pup will be like, training your pup to perform a behaviour to gain a reward. I.E. Fetching the newspaper, get your slippers, bring your beer, are a job for the dog.

Catch the desired behaviours

This is one of my favourite exercises, find or wait for the appropriate behaviour, Mark IT, Reward and put on on Cue. Like the video above, I waited for Hershey to lie down in order to get the down position. And eventually getting her to put her head on the ground in order to get her reward. All these are done by FREE SHAPING. You would be surprised by what behaviours your pup can offer, in order to win your rewards.

Medication as an option


Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is used as a common treatment for attention deficit disorder in humans, Ritalin is commonly prescribed to help calm and de-stress hyperactive dogs. ... Although Ritalin is not approved by the FDA for use with pets, veterinarians can legally prescribe this drug if your pet is diagnosed with ADHD.

As I'm not a Vet, I will recommend you to visit your Veterinary to get their expert advice on the use of the drug for ADHD in dogs.

Aromatherapy The other safer way is to administrator aromatherapy. You need to know what essential oils safe to use with dogs.

  • Angelica Root Angelica archangelica.

  • Basil (linalool chemotype) Ocimum basilicum ct. ...

  • Bergamot Citrus bergamia, Citrus aurantium subspecies bergamia.

  • Black Pepper Piper nigrum.

  • Cajeput Melaleuca cajuputi

With so many oils and methods to choose from, here are 6 essential oils for dogs to get you started:

  • Cedar Oil.

  • Lavender Oil.

  • Lemongrass Oil.

  • Citronella Oil.

  • Peppermint Oil.

  • Patchouli Oil Blend (Peace & Calming)

Sterilisation as an option

For sterilisation, you might want to seek your personal veterinary for their advice and recommendation.

Even though we have reports showing the sterilisation reduces the male hormones in the dog, thus reducing aggression, hard-headed behaviour and roaming behaviour and make your dog less hyperactive.

Having to understand the condition of your pup is a right step towards find solutions. And with the options available, you can seek your Veterinary or Professional Dog Trainer to come out an optimum plan to help your pup towards a manageable and fruitful lifestyle in your family.

Have fun & stay positive.

Dexter Sim, PUPS Dog Training School

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