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4 Ways You Can Eliminate the 8pm Puppy Zoomies

You hang out with your puppy all day. A little training, a little fetch and a lot of potty breaks. This dog should be wiped by 8pm. You are. But they have a really poorly timed burst of energy. They start jumping off couches, taking out every toy, nipping at your heels; they are going crazy!

puppy zoomies
He's got that crazy look in your eyes! And, all you want to do is rest after a long day.

Believe me, it is totally normal. I tell dog owners puppies are usually early birds or night owls. And, people always want the opposite of what they have!

My dog, Max, was an early bird. As a puppy, he would wake up at 5am every day and get what seemed to be the squeakiest toy out of the toy bin. Now, Max looks at us like we're crazy for waking up at 7am and stays in bed all morning.

You'll get through this time, I promise! To help you out, here are some tips for getting through the late night puppy zoomies.

1. Feed them earlier in the evening

This is what I tell dog owners to do first. Food is energy and if you don't want them to have energy at 8pm, don't feed them late in the day. People naturally feed dogs closer to when they are eating their own dinner and this is giving them energy later in the day than you want.

For puppies who eat three times a day, I would suggest feeding them at 6am (whenever they wake up), 11am and 4pm. A teething stick or treats (from training!) can come later in the evening if you're nervous they are starving but a full meal earlier in the day will give them energy during the day, which is when you want it!

2. Do mental stimulation exercises with them

Mental stimulation exercises tire dogs out the same way we are tired after working or going to school all day. Some good mental stimulation exercises are puzzle toys and sniffing games. This is also a good time to bring out some bully sticks and teething rings.

You can also train! Training is mentally stimulating. This is a great time to switch up the training by doing some fun new tricks, like going through a hula hoop, standing on a stool or weaving through your legs.

puppy zoomies bone
Save those bones and teething rings for when you need them!

3. Have them lick

Licking is a calming activity. It can help lower their excitement or, even better, help them from getting too excited in the first place.

You can be creative here. You can have them lick something like peanut butter but you can also make some yummy concoctions with foods that your dog likes and are good for them. Freezing these treats will make them last longer!

4. Put them in their place

Literally! Get the leash on and put them in their place. There is no better time to start training a dog than the day they come home. If you have given them a little attention and they are still wound up, it is perfectly ok to signal to them that it is now time to rest.

How to do it:

1. Get a leash

2. Bring your puppy to their bed

3. When they leave, bring them back with their leash

It is as easy as that! You are communicating it is time to rest. No talking, no treats, just bed.

puppy zoomies sleep
An overtired puppy sometimes needs a little push in the right direction, right to their bed!

Their place, or bed, is their room. It is their place to recharge, rest, and reset. While your dog is learning to go to his place, you can also put him in his crate. I like the crate in this scenario for a few reasons:

  1. The behavior expected when a dog goes to their crate is rest. You want him to rest, don't want to stand over the bed, you can feel good about putting him in his crate and helping him calm down.

  2. I don't want you reinforcing unwanted behaviors. If your puppy is nipping your legs or jumping on the couch to eat your hair, I would much rather you put him in his crate than give him attention after he does unwanted behaviors.

  3. Puppyhood feels long when you are in it. You can feel ok with putting your puppy in the crate one night and using the other techniques other nights.

Try not to read the zoomies as a reason to play with them outside or take them on a walk; outdoors can keep them awake because they stay alert and have more freedom. Your goal should be to turn these zoomies into 10-15 minutes of calm play time followed by rest. Hopefully your nights are filled with a little more tv snuggles with your pup and little less ripping of the pj pants.


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