When you took home your American Eskimo dog, you were probably looking forward to spending time with your fun and friendly new pet. Your dog probably hasn't disappointed in that regard, since American Eskimos are known for their infectious energies, affectionate natures, and charming personalities. Of course, there can be too much of a good thing, and your American Eskimo's high energy can definitely qualify. It's cute when the dog bounds through the hall and demands to go out and play ball, but when he or she starts bouncing off the walls, you may be slightly less charmed. So, why does your Eskimo cross that line, and is there anything you can do about it?
The Root of the Behavior
When dealing with your American Eskimo's hyperactivity, the first thing to remember is that the breed is naturally predisposed to need a lot of physical and mental stimulation. If he or she isn't getting enough of either, boredom can set in, and your dog can become desperate to burn off some of that excess energy. Before you know it, the dog is running around the house like a cyclone, trying to get you to play or just trying to keep himself (or herself) entertained. Conversely, dogs can become hyper when they are overexcited. That something may be as simple as the smell of rain, another dog walking outside, or anticipation of a walk. Simply unable to control their excitement, they go seemingly wild. For the American Eskimo, this can mean lots of barking, racing, and jumping in response to a suddenly activated body and mind.
Because American Eskimos can have so much excess energy, they need plenty of consistent training in order to keep this excitability at bay. American Eskimos are known for being intelligent, responsive, and highly trainable, and they respond well to good training. They learn commands easily and can even learn cute tricks, the teaching of which can be engaging and entertaining for both dog and owner. However, if the trainer isn't quite consistent enough, the dog can take matters into his or her own paws and start tending toward hyperactivity again. American Eskimos have minds of their own and may try to circumvent the rules. If their owners aren't responsive and firm in their leadership, the dog may decide that it can get away with mischief and hyperactivity. An overly energetic American Eskimo is often one that has found an owner who cannot channel his or her energy effectively. In these cases, any excitement can come across as destructive and uncontrolled wildness.
Encouraging the Behavior
At first, your American Eskimo's excitement may be endearing. After all, what is cuter than an excited dog? In time, and perhaps not even much of it, you may want to restore some calm to your home. A good place to start is with a regular training regimen starting as soon as possible. The most effective training routines start the first day you bring your American Eskimo home and start teaching him or her what behavior is acceptable. Whenever you start training, however, you can establish consistency. Positive reinforcement tends to be most effective, so be sure to engage your calm and relaxed dog with affection, treats, and play time. If the dog starts to become hyper, ignore him or her if you can. If not, offer a firm “No,” wait for him or her to calm down, and then offer a reward.
Meanwhile, be sure that your American Eskimo is getting enough exercise and play. Experts recommend off-leash running at least three times per week and interactive play every day. Puzzle toys, such as those filled with treats or food that the dog has to find, can help to keep his or her mind busy. If you notice situations that switch your Eskimo into hyper mode, you can work on desensitizing. Find a way to expose your dog to the situation from afar or, in the case of auditory cues, at low volume. When your dog notices the stimulus but doesn't bark or get excited, offer a treat. You can then start working your way up so that eventually, your dog can encounter the situation calmly in his or her everyday life.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Although we usually associate Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with people, dogs can develop it as well. A dog with ADHD is more than just a bit too energetic. He or she simply can't settle down, regardless of how much exercise and stimulation his or her owner offers. If you suspect that your American Eskimo might fit into this category, you may want to make an appointment with your veterinarian. After observing the dog and listening to the owner's reports, the vet may be able to prescribe medication to help your dog calm down and achieve a manageable level of energy.
Having an American Eskimo in the house means that you always have a source of entertainment. Even when they are sleeping, they are adorable! Of course, because they are also smart and energetic, you need to make sure that they have all the stimulation that they need. You also need to make sure that you stay in control of the house, or your dog's hyperactivity will have you chasing your own tail!