Crazy puppy behavior is a normal part of growing up for young dogs.
Normal play behaviors include biting, growling, and wild bursts of energy (the notorious puppy zoomies).
These are all natural stages of physical and mental development in dogs, and luckily there are plenty of ways for puppy parents to cope with and manage them!
Your Crazy Puppy
Every puppy parent has a moment when they think to themselves “my puppy is crazy!”
Crazy puppy behaviors often include:
- bouncing of the walls
- tearing round the yard at 100mph
- biting clothes and hands or feet
- growling fiercely at toys or playmates.
They can be exhausting and even alarming to deal with, especially at a time when you’re likely to be suffering sleep deprivation and a touch of cabin fever.
But don’t despair! Puppies aren’t crazy for long.
This article is full of reassuring information about what’s normal, and how to come through the other side without your crazy puppy turning you into a crazy owner!
Is It Normal For Puppies To Be Crazy?
The truth is, normal puppy behavior is very different to normal human child behavior.
The ways they communicate and play can seem very alien to us. But actually very few puppy owners experience truly abnormal puppy behavior.
Aggressive puppies are very rare.
Aggression is usually borne of fear, and frightened puppies try and hide rather than lash out. After all, they realize they are very small and unlikely to win in a fight!
But it’s also true that some puppies have a lower threshold for becoming over excited than others. After all, they are all individuals, with their own unique disposition.
Size affects our perception too – a crazy German Shepherd puppy is a much more daunting proposition than a crazy Pug puppy doing exactly the same things!
But really, most puppies acting crazy just have one thing on their mind, and that’s play!
How Puppies Play
Puppies love to play. They occupy that wonderful stage of life where there’s really nothing else to worry about except having fun.
Puppies start playing almost from the moment they can stand and walk.
They explore their environment, try to drag toys and other trophies back to the whelping box, and stage exuberant play fights with their littermates.
One thing all these activities have in common is that puppies do them with their mouths.
Puppies’ mouths are absolutely their best tool for gathering information about their environment and manipulating stuff in it.
They’re also a great tool for initiating play.
Puppies are liable to bite anything they would like to try playing with – trailing clothes, shoes laces, us.
Crazy Puppy Biting
It’s not for nothing that puppies are nicknamed landsharks!
What starts out as cute mouthing at 8 weeks quickly turns into really painful nipping as the first few weeks progress.
The problem is, unlike the littermates they were playing with before, we don’t have a coat of fur to protect our skin!
And all puppies are different. So even experienced puppy parents can get lucky with a not-terribly-bitey puppy first time round, and knocked for six by a real crocopup the next time.
Sometimes people find that their puppy seems to direct most of their biting at one person in the household in particular, and pursue them relentlessly.
It’s a puppy’s way of saying “I have identified you as the most fun person here, whom I would now like to play with. All. The. Time!”
And it’s also their way of saying “I feel safe with you, and confident enough to ask you to play with me, because I trust that you’re kind”.
There are reliable and trusted techniques for overcoming this, and we’ll get to them in just a moment.
Why Does My Puppy Run Around Like Crazy? Puppy Zoomies!
Zoomies, also known as frenetic random activity periods, or frapping, are sudden bursts of wild, unbridled activity.
They can be cute, hilarious, and awful. And quite frequently all three, in under a minute.
During zoomies, puppies race round in circles and bounce off the walls. They don’t usually bark at the same time, but their expression can be very wild-eyed.
These outbursts are so sudden and fast paced, they can be rather shocking.
But they’re a completely normal part of growing up for young dogs.
What Is The Purpose Of Puppy Zoomies?
Nobody knows exactly why puppies get zoomies.
Going a while without exercise, over excitement, and sensory triggers like bath times can all set off a case of the zoomies.
In that respect, zoomies seem to function like a release valve for pent up energy or feelings of awkwardness.
Puppies in particular seem to go through a phase of getting zoomies in the evening before bedtime.
This seems to be a way of letting of one last bit of energy, before a really long sleep.
Dogs tend to get zoomies less frequently as they growing.
The veterinary profession all agree that as long as your puppy is in a safe place to be dashing around, then it’s safe and healthy to let them indulge in this natural behavior.
Puppy Goes Crazy When Left Alone
Does your puppy save their most extreme behavior for when you’re heading out of the door?
Some puppies react noisily and destructively to being left alone.
From their point of view, it’s something that’s never happened to them until they moved into a new house where they were the only dog.
The first time you go out without them it’s new, it’s lonely, it’s scary, and they don’t know if you’re ever coming back!
Learning to be left alone, relaxed and confident in the knowledge that you’ll return soon takes time.
It’s a skill that you can help them build up, by leaving them for just the briefest of moments at first, and gradually extending how long you’re gone.
What To Do When Your Puppy Goes Crazy
As you get to know your puppy, you’ll start to recognise what triggers their outbursts of crazy behavior.
Puppy zoomies are a normal part of puppy behavior.
There’s no need to try and stop them at all, but if you notice it always happens around half an hour after supper, make a plan to be in a safe place with no fragile ornaments around at that time!
The best solution for puppy biting is prevention. Stick to close-fitting clothes for the time being, and make sure your puppy has lots of toys which they can chomp down on.
Create puppy zones in your house using baby gates or a puppy pen.
You’ll soon learn the signs that your puppy is building up to an over-excited loss of control, and you can use their safe space as a place for them to wind back down, rather than tipping over the edge!
The Importance Of Sleep To Stop Your Puppy Going Crazy
Puppies can be pretty terrible at regulating their own mood or taking a nap when they need it, especially if there are more exciting things going on around them.
But overtired puppies are frequently over-excitable, over-bitey, and over-everything else too.
So learn to read the signs that your puppy is getting tired, and when you see them, switch from playing games to a quiet cuddle.
Make sure that they have a quiet place to retreat to for naps, and that everyone in the family knows not to disturb them while they’re there.
My Puppy Is Driving Me Crazy!
This is totally understandable – there isn’t a puppy parent in the world who can’t relate to that feeling!
Remind yourself that all these behaviors will pass. And every time you deal with them calmly and consistently brings you another step closer to a calm, affectionate, adult dog.
If possible, ask someone else to puppysit for you every now and then. Puppy parenting is full-on, and little moments of respite can massively improve your mood.
It also helps to talk to other people who have a puppy at the moment, or who raised one recently. Nothing is more reassuring than talking to other people in the same boat!
How Long Are Puppies Crazy?
There’s a brilliant adage about rearing children and other baby animals: the days are long, but the months are short.
A crazy puppy turns your whole life upside down at first, but they quickly mature, and grow out of their wild ways.
Believe it or not, there will come a time when you think they weren’t a puppy for long enough!
Puppy biting usually subsides once their adult teeth come through, between 6 and 8 months old.
Some dogs continue zooming their whole lives, but rather than tearing round the kitchen right before bedtime, they release that energy on an off lead walk during the day.
One recent theory about how dogs age estimated that the first year of a dog’s life may be equivalent to 31 human years!
And by the time your puppy celebrates their first birthday, it’s likely that you’ll have noticed that they’re significantly less crazy than in their younger days.
Was Your Dog A Crazy Puppy?
Leave your stories of puppy antics, and how you survived them in the comments box, for new puppy parents going through the same thing!
References And Resources
Bekoff, It’s OK For Dogs to Engage in Zoomies and Enjoy FRAPs, Psychology Today, 2017.