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If your poodle is acting crazy, hyper, or is a little out of control, then yours wouldn’t be the first. Poodles are known for their beauty and elegance, but they were bred for sport. Even small poodles were bred by using smaller and smaller poodles (never with a different breed). So even with their great temperaments, their need for a job can make them extra exuberant and at times, a little bit crazy!

Why is my poodle so hyper?

Standard poodles were developed by hunters for retrieving and water work. Both of these jobs take a lot of energy and intelligence. While the miniature poodles and toy poodles are considered non-sporting breeds, they were bred to be exact replicas of the standard poodle, except for their size.

And if you have a puppy, there will be some puppy exuberance added to that athleticism!

For puppy owners, be sure to read our post: Calm Down Your Crazy Puppy: A complete guide.

So all of this intelligence and energy has to burn itself out or it gets funneled into pure craziness. If we do not give them appropriate outlets, they will come up with their own plan, and this will often exhibit itself as hyperactivity.

poodle made a mess with toilet paper

Will my poodle ever calm down?

While your poodle may seem out-of-control, they will likely calm down quite a bit as they mature. However, with active breeds like poodles, we still have to create outlets for adults to burn off that excess energy, whether physical or mental.

To help them calm down, you need to make sure to give your poodle a variety of physical activity:

Some ideas for physical enrichment:

  • Play! If your dog is good with other dogs, schedule play dates. Nothing burns energy like safe play sessions.
  • Poodles were born to swim. Find a dog-friendly place for your poodle to swim. While picking a swimming hole, please be cautious about blue-green algae which can be deadly to dogs. It is most commonly found in non-flowing freshwater during hot seasons. But you can even offer up a baby pool for your poodle. Many just like to splash around in the shallow water.
  • If your dog walks well on lead, take them for a walk or even a longer hike in the woods. If they don’t walk well on a leash, work with them (training offers great mental exercise. More on that later).
  • They were born to retrieve, so use this talent! Despite their breed history, you will find that some poodles are more natural retrievers than others, but they can all be trained to do a controlled retrieve.

Be sure to read our post, Complete Guide to Puppy Exercise.

Be sure to read our new eye-opening post, Is Pet Insurance Worth It: 5 shocking facts you need to know... You might be in for a shock!

poodle swimming

And most importantly, if you work long hours, give yourself and your poodle a break and hire someone to come spend time with your poodle during the day. Or find a safe daycare to give your poodle an outlet to burn that energy.

Hyperactive behaviors will magnify when your dog is alone for long periods of time, so a good dog walker or daycare may save both of your sanities!

If you’re struggling to get your poodle to take naps, then be sure to read our post: Puppy Doesn’t Take Naps: How to Relax Your Puppy

Can you give something to calm down hyper poodles?

Poodles are a highly active breed, so in most cases, the best course of action is increased exercise and mental stimulation.

If your poodle is a puppy, then it’s possible that they are over-tired. This happens when they’re too excited to settle and take a nap. Poodle puppies require 18 to 20-hours of sleep in a day, so be sure to give them a quiet space to calm themselves down.

A good way to do this is to train your poodle puppy the place command. This command can be used when you need a break from your pup, or need them to settle down in certain situations, such as when you’re cooking or when a visitor comes over.

Read our instruction guide to teaching the place command to puppies.

If you really believe your poodle is hyperactive, despite giving them adequate mental and physical exercise, you can talk to your vet. While vets say a truly hyperactive dog is rare, it is not impossible. Symptoms according to Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals (Karen Overall, 1997), include:

  • The inability to fully relax even in familiar environments
  • Reactivity to routine stimuli
  • A short attention span
  • Elevated baseline respiration and heart rates

When do toy poodles calm down?

Toy Poodles will reach adulthood by the age of 1, so you may see them become calmer than they were as a puppy. However, despite their smaller size, toy poodles were designed to be the exact replica of their standard cousins in a tiny package. That means they still have a work drive. The good news is, they won’t need as much room to retrieve.

After they are fully grown, try having them retrieve up and downstairs to give them an extra workout.

When do miniature poodles calm down?

Like their toy cousins, Miniature Poodles will reach adulthood by 1-year-old, so you may see a slightly calmer dog than that unruly puppy from months before. And also like their toy and standard counterparts, they are athletes. So you still want to make sure they have plenty of outlets to run and use their brains.

When do standard poodles calm down?

Larger breeds take longer to fully grow, and the standard poodle is no exception. It will take them about 18-24 months before they are officially adults, and you may see them start to calm down a bit. However, they are natural athletes, so you want to have options for exercise and mental stimulation to prevent them from finding their own ways to burn off the hyperactivity.

How to mentally stimulate a poodle to calm them down?

Mental stimulation is something many owners overlook, but it is just as important as physical exercise. Mental exercises can tire out a dog, and it is often easier for owners to execute. Trying different activities is also a great way to get your dog excited to see what is next.

Some ideas for mental enrichment:

  • Food puzzles – Don’t waste your dog’s meals by feeding them out of bowls when you could be using them for mental stimulation. Make them work for it with feeding toys. There is a large big variety you can try, and cycling through the different types of feeding toys will increase the mental stimulation your dog gets.

Be sure to look at our puzzle toys, which are like Legos for dogs. You place treats in each toy and connect them together. The best thing about them is you can increase the difficulty as your poodle gets better at it.

A snuffle mat is also a good idea for feeding time. You can scatter their kibble in between the fleece strips of material so your poodle will have to forage for food.

There are also toys your poodle can bat around to get the food out or to get started you can even just hide food around the house so your dog has to hunt for it.

  • Training sessions: Training every day is great mental stimulation for your poodle. They are extremely smart so you want to be sure to reinforce the behaviors you want, or even teach them new tricks just for fun. And for the busy owner who thinks, “I don’t have that much time!” Start with a 5-minute session in the morning and the evening. Or, while watching TV, train during the commercial breaks.
  • Nose Work: Nose work is all the rage in the training world right now, and for good reason. Many people think this is a sport for scent hounds (beagles, bloodhounds, etc.) but all breeds benefit from scent work. There is a long list of benefits:
    • It can build confidence.
    • It actually lowers a dog’s heart rate.
    • Dopamine is released.
    • Regulates emotions
    • Start simple by hiding treats in a towel. Or put treats in a muffin tin, cover each treat with a tennis ball, and let them work to get each treat.
  • Bonus trick to help with nose work: So when we are training with our dogs, we are often telling them to “leave” things. With nose work, we want to encourage them to find and take treats. So to start, make an association with the words “find it”, toss a treat that they can see, and tell them to find it. Cheer them on as they find it. Start to toss it further away and use the same cue. Dog’s are keen discriminators so we want to set up a treat they “find” in different situations. With your dog watching, hide a treat under a piece of paper, or a paper plate. Tell them to “find it”.You will gradually make the exercise tougher by hiding treats out of sight, and telling your poodle to “find it”. Eventually, you will hide the treats without your poodle watching. Make some easy to find, and others a little bit harder this first time. Then you will bring your poodle into the room and tell them to “find it”.

Activities that offer both physical and mental enrichment:

  • Agility training: Even if you don’t care to compete, this training can really help your poodle learn to focus on you. Your poodle will burn energy running to obstacles and be thinking about how to tackle each obstacle all while taking direction from you. Learning to maneuver the obstacles also builds confidence.
poodle agility training
  • Dog parkouring: This is a newer dog sport that requires no equipment. It is based on human parkour and literally anything can be used as an obstacle. Dogs learn to jump on rocks, stand with two legs on an object, maneuver through trees, and crawl under benches. It is a great way to get creative, and get your poodle thinking while using the environment around you. You can make it as simple and as adventurous as your poodle can safely handle. But as the poodle is highly intelligent, and they’re athletic, they would make a great breed for this sport.
  • Sniffari: As you read above, getting your poodle sniffing has a myriad of benefits. But so often we want to rush them along on their walks thinking quantity of miles is worth more than the quality of the enrichment. But what do most dogs want? A Sniffari! This is a walk where we cue our dog that they can go sniff. And we follow their lead. They get to sniff any tree, fire hydrant or group of weeds they want to. Watch to make sure they don’t get into any feces (I do make sure my dogs are great with “leave it” before this type of walk). If they need help getting started, throw some treats in the grass and tell them to find them.

Final Word

Your poodle may seem hyper, crazy, and out of control. But we must remember what they were bred for, and it is our responsibility to make sure we are fulfilling their needs.

Use this as an opportunity to try something new. Not only will it help to give your dog an outlet, but it will give you an opportunity to bond with your poodle in a brand new way!

And also be sure to read our post 9 Awesome Indoor Games to Play With Your Puppy.

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