Zoomies!!! We all LOVE zoomies, well I do. Is there anything more hilarious than the sight of a puppy or dog flying around at 90 mph, tail often tucked under, racing from one end of the garden or room to the other, with a slightly wild look in their eyes! If you are unsure what ‘zoomies’ are, a quick Youtube search will result in many a video displaying this hysterical dog activity. My personal favourite is greyhound zoomies, there is something so enchanting about a leggy, tall, elegant and streamlined dog racing about like a loon! You may see a play bow, a slight glint in the eye, sudden jerky movements, and then BAM they’re off, just brilliant.
But, what exaclty ARE zoomies? Why do they occur? Zoomies, believe it or not, actually have a technical term, Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAP). I know, brilliant isn’t it, they are actually a ‘thing’. There are a few key times your puppy or dog may display zoomies:
After handling/grooming – often you will see some zoomies after a period of restriant ie. after grooming. A ‘thank goodness I’m free’ type situation!
Bathing – after a bath! Possibly an adaptive behaviour as a means to dry quicker?
Tiredness – a puppy may display zoomies in the evening, when they are particularly tired and needing to sleep. A puppy largely will not voluntarily switch off, so a way to deal with and cope with such tiredness is to perform some ‘zoomies’!
Frustration – a dog lacking in adequate physical exercise opportunities may display zoomies as a way to release that pent up energy!
After food…….or pooing! – Sorry, but it is true! A celebration of a full stomach, or an empty one :O
Fun! – quite simply, it’s fun! There is no need to always look for a deep-rooted behavioural reason for every behaviour seen, sometimes, it’s just fun!
There are other reason for ‘zoomies’ but this is a very broad list of some possibilites. So what should we do about zoomies? Leave the dog to enjoy? Stop them? Encourage them? The main thing to consider is safety. If your pup is flying around a room with a slippery floor, or lots of furniture about, be aware of how safe the environment is for such an excitable activity. If in doubt, encourage your pup out into the garden to be (if safe and secure) to ensure your pup doesn’t inadvertantly cause himself, or others, damage.
Alternatively, if you are in an environment where you simply can’t usher your puppy into a safe space, try redirecting to an appropriate toy or activity, which is somewhat less manic. It can be useful to teach your puppy a ‘settle’ early on for these such times. As with any behaviour we don’t like, we can plan ahead and prevent. If you know your puppy is prone to the zoomies at a certain time of day, plan for that time. Prepare a game such as some scent work with cones, or some interactive toys, to engage your pup BEFORE the zoomies begin. You may well find by providing more opportunity for physical exercise the zoomies will decrease, but in a young pup you will have to weigh this up carefully with over-tiredness and exhaustion via too much overstimulation through physical exercise. The behaviours seen through over-tiredness may well be much more difficult to manage than some zoomies, and infact, may contribute to the zoomies! We could delve into the reasons behind zoomies forever, is the puppy frustrated? Is the puppy stressed? Is the puppy over-tired? Is the puppy not getting enough physical exercise? Is the puppy displaying some deep-rooted behavioural issue which must be addressed? I highly doubt it. I think sometimes, we analize way too much.
If it is a safe environment, and your puppy has adequate provisions for both physical and mental exercise, then by all means just watch the hilarity unfold. Remember safety, manage the environment well to keep your puppy safe, and let nature take it’s course!
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