It’s early afternoon and you’re thinking ahead about all you have to do in the next three hours. You start to wonder if you should get to it ASAP, or maybe just surrender yourself to an endless cycle of scrolling about the most random subject you can think of.
Totally out of the blue, your dog (who was just quietly sitting next to you), jumps up and starts running in circles.
Is this some sort of canine shamanic ritual? Did he pick up on my boundless anxiety and was inclined to do a theatrical representation of it for me that will, hopefully, keep me from sliding my finger into my favorite time-consuming social media app?
We will, perhaps, never know the depths of our dog’s instincts. However, the hilarious behavior of frenetically running around out of nowhere is very common in dogs (and in cats too!).
Frenetic Random Activity Periods (aka FRAPs or Zoomies)
This funny and curious action that pooches do has been thoroughly studied and given the name “Frenetic Random Activity Periods.” They’recommonly identified as sudden bursts of energy where a dog is seen excited, running around the house or in circles, acting in various ways that seem a bit insane.
The most frequent name for this behavior is “the zoomies,” though some people call this “the crazy eights,” “midnight madness,” or “demon possession.”
Why Does My Dog Get The Zoomies?
No, of course, your dog’s not possessed!
Dogs of all ages get the zoomies, though it is more common in puppies. Though there’s not a known specific cause for FRAPs (or the zoomies) in a dog, the animal behavior scientists who have studied it have identified a few reasons why a dog engages in this behavior.
First, let’s take a look at the most frequent times when a dog gets the zoomies. No two dogs are the same, but in a nutshell, dogs usually get the zoomies in the following situations.
When their owner arrives home
In the evening
During a training session
When something exciting happens
One reason could be that your dog wants to play. If they’ve spent many hours alone they may have energy buildup, especially if they’re high-energy breeds.
If your dog wakes you up in the evening with the zoomies, try having a play session with them before going to bed. An evening hike or their favorite game of fetch will help them release energy.
You can also work into their schedule other physical activities during the day that are great for their health, such as swimming and running (just make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions).
Perhaps your dog is bored and goes into hyper-mode because he needs some mental stimuli. Dogs are smart animals who get a lot of enjoyment in games that challenge them.
A fun mental exercise is a scenting hide-and-seek game where you hide a smelly treat that your dog must find. You can also teach them new tricks or even review household manners.
Interact with them! Dogs learn a lot from us. Keep communication prompts simple and see how you understand each other. These moments amount to wonderful bonding experiences.
An “After Poop” Celebration
You may notice that your dog gets frantic after defecating. This is a common behavior and they may do this because they feel relieved and lighter. It could also be that they’ve got a piece of poop stuck and they’re trying to get away from it.
If you notice that they do this often make sure you keep a lookout for signs of constipation. A visit to the vet to make sure their deposits are healthy could also be a good idea.
Zoomies are normally positive and fun, but in some cases, they could be produced by pain. For example, if your dog’s got pain in their hind area. This might alert them and cause them to move frenetically to get away from it.
Watch out especially for flea bites or arthritis. If you suspect this may be the case, contact your veterinarian.
A case of zoomies may be triggered by an exciting event, such as seeing a person who they haven’t seen for a long time. There are many endearing videos of soldiers coming home and being greeted by their dogs who are overwhelmed with joy and excitement.
Zoomies are events that are enjoyable and enlightening. They brighten up your day and are a great release for your dogs.
However, there are some things you should be aware of. Mostly, it’s about ensuring your dog is safe. If they’re going to run around the house make sure they stay clear of objects that may fall and break.
If their zoomies involve running around and releasing energy, grass, gravel, and carpet are the best platforms. Hard floors, ice, and sand could cause them to slip and possibly get injured.
Observe Your Dog’s Posture
It’s always good to observe your dog and get to know them as much as you can. There are some telling signs that the zoomie event may come from anxiety or fear. Some telling signs could be found in their posture.
A happy dog will have their tail loose and wiggly when they slow down. They may even bow and have their mouth open and their tongue hanging, expressing a sort of relaxed smile.
A frightened dog will have wide eyes, and/or tail tucked to their belly when standing still.
They could have their head low and their ears flapped, in a sign of submission. If you notice your dog has this posture after zoomies, make note of it and contact your vet if you think it’s due to pain.
Our dogs are in love with us and sometimes they can’t contain their excitement for being our best friend! They love putting on a show for us and making us smile. Zoomies are fantastic occasions to get to know your pup and have fun with them. As long as your dog is not anxious or in pain, go ahead and make the most out of the zoomies!
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