Dog Zoomies: What They Mean for You and Your Furry Friend
Does your dog ever get a case of the zoomies? Even if you’re not familiar with the term, there’s a fair chance you’ve seen your furry friend run around from room to room at top speed like a wild animal. The dog zoomies are real… but are they a good thing?
It turns out that the occasional zoom session is a perfectly healthy process for your precious pooch. Still, the practice invites so many questions. Why does my dog get the zoomies? Which dogs are more prone to these outbursts of energy? What should I do about the zoomies? Read on to find the answers to all these questions and more.
Why Do Dogs Get the Zoomies?
There are a couple of guesses as to the reason for dog zoomies. Some animal behaviorists think that a zoom session, also known as a type of frenetic random activity period (FRAP), are a way for dogs to burn excess energy. However, nobody is sure exactly why our four-legged friends resort to zipping back and forth on a whim. However, there is one thing that we can be sure about when it comes to dog zoomies.
“We don’t know a lot about them, but we know is that when it happens, your dog is having a good time,” says Professional Animal Trainer and TV Show Host Joel Silverman.
In general, Silverman has noticed that dogs will typically get a case of the zoomies sometime between late afternoon and late in the evening. He also suggests that while running around is good for a bit of exercise, the benefits of the dog zoomies extend well beyond physical activity.
“After more than 40 years, I know it’s an emotional thing for dogs,” Silverman says. “There’s no doubt that they’re feeling good when they run around. They wouldn’t do that if they hurt, and they wouldn’t do it if it didn’t feel good. We know that for sure, but we don’t know much else.”
Are Certain Dogs More Prone to the Zoomies Than Others?
The answer to this question in yes and no. Over his career, Silverman has noticed a tendency where dogs that naturally have more energy are more likely to zip around for periods of time than those that are more laid back and low energy. Similarly, a lot of smaller and medium-sized dogs are more likely to be struck by a case of the zoomies than bigger breeds. However, the potential for FRAP outburst ultimately ends up being judged on a case-by-case basis.
“One of the great things about dogs is that every dog is different, and they all come from different worlds,” Silverman says. “There are some dogs who will never do it, while ones you wouldn’t expect may do it regularly.”
What Should I Do When My Dog Has a Case of the Zoomies?
In short, it’s best to just let a case of the zoomies happen. It’s a positive experience and zoomies are perfectly safe for your dog, so there’s no need to step in and stop a good thing.
“It’s good to let your dog be a dog,” Silverman suggests. “You’re letting him do his thing and do what he wants to do. The last thing you want to do is tell him where to go or try to curb this.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should only be an observer. There are some steps you can take to make the situation safer for you and your dog.
Encourage dog zoomies when possible
While you don’t want to interfere with your dog, you can still participate. When your dog is having a good time, you can extend that session by encouraging his behavior.
“What I’ve found is that more times than not, you can’t make your dog zoom around, but you can extend it when it happens,” Joel says. “If you sit there and the dog starts doing that, your body language and voice can make a difference.”
There are a few ways that you can encourage your dog during a zoom session. Silverman suggests shuffling your feet around in one place and hunching down a bit to get your dog even more excited. As you do this, your dog can take off, run around, and turn around to look at you. At this point, you can shuffle slightly closer so that your dog takes off for another spin. You can also talk to your dog in an excited voice, such as asking “what are you doing?” to ramp up the connection between the two of you. Not only will this give your dog even more time to get the zoomies out of his system, it’s a nice moment for the two of you to get closer.
“It’s all about bonding with your animal and the relationship,” Silverman says. “If there are things that you can do to encourage your dog to feel good, that’s what it’s all about.”
Prepare your place if necessary
While a zoom session is generally a good thing, there are occasions where you may want to take some precautions. For example, dogs that tend to get a little reactive may have a tendency to nip at things if they’re nearby or if anyone happens to walk in range of the dog. In this case, keep some distance and make sure that any kids or other people in your household know not to try and interact with your dog while he’s zooming.
Another way to prepare is to make sure that there aren’t any obstacles or items that your dog can use to access off-limits areas. One example of this is a chair that’s pulled out could make for a great launchpad to help a hyper dog get on the table. Another is if there are any fragile items or shorter pieces of furniture that a bigger dog may run into or knock over. In general, try to keep these pieces of furniture or other items in safe spots to help dog-proof your home in case of an unexpected zoom session.
Growing Closer to Your Dog One Zoom at a Time
It never hurts to have a good zoom every once in a while. Once your dog has spent his energy and slowed back down to normal speed, it’s business as usual for both you and your buddy – at least until the next time your dog gets a case of the zoomies.
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