Ha-ha…it’s not what you think! You might call it the zoomies, the crazies or as I used to call it the 9 o’clock runs in our house, but this witching hour when all your dog’s bad habits start coming out, is technically known as Frenetic Random Active Periods or the FRAPS.
Now the important thing to know is that most dogs exhibit FRAPS their entire lives. Young dogs can have as many as several a day where they seem completely unhinged, whereas say my 15-year-old husky would literally trot up and down my hallway with glee when I’d get home and then the moment had passed, but that was her ‘old lady zoomie’.
These FRAPS can come about for a variety of reasons. If your dog is hyper-aroused say by watching other dogs play or even when they are a little stressed out and need to let loose on some nervous energy. Whatever the reason, these can potentially be great practice times once you learn how to harness this energy. I still get some of the best work out of my dogs during zoomie time.
There are a couple things to consider when working with a dog during the FRAPS though:
- Manage the environment you are working in. Remember, this is when your dog is at his wildest so make sure you are working in a safe room or yard that is completely contained and void of any objects that might present a hazard when your dog is moving at Mach 2!
- Never chase a dog with the FRAPS! A dog could perceive your chase as a game and take off from you. Instead, instill games such as Hide-N-Seek and other games where your dog learns to pursue you from the moment they come in to your home. If your dog ever gets away from you during a FRAP, run the opposite way, high-value reward in hand and try to initiate these pursuance games.
- Focus on athletic activities not precision skills. At the height of these zoomie episodes, your dog is on fire! Use this time to increase speed in athletic activities, build drive in toys or new motivators you want to introduce and develop a heightened excitement level for a fun skill you are starting. FRAPS are not long events, typically only lasting a few minutes, but your dog’s focus is not at a high level during this time so hold off practicing the stationary cues and Stays for when your dog is in a more relaxed state.
While all dogs get the FRAPS to some extent, if your dog is having these episodes quite frequently throughout the day it could be a red flag that he is in need of more physical exercise. Add an extra exercise session to his daily routine to see if this helps.
Enjoy those wild and crazy dogs and have fun training!