Dog Zoomies – Why Do Dogs Run Around Like Crazy?

140
222496

Dog owners are often amazed and even horrified the first time they witness a case of the dog zoomies.

The zoomies is quite common in Labradors, so today we are going to investigate this strange behavior.

Let’s find out what causes the dog zoomies, why dogs do it, and how you can reduce or manage your dog when he runs around like crazy.

Is this the dog zoomies?

Does your dog suddenly runs madly around the house like a wild animal, low to the ground with legs bent.

Do his eyes look a little crazy, is his butt tucked underneath him, and does he appear to have no regard for his own safety or your best china?

If so, you’re probably watching a case of the zoomies in action

The word zoomies really does sum up this crazy behavior very well.

What do dog zoomies look like?

A dog with the zoomies isn’t just clumsy or restless. The behavior is quite distinctive, as is the posture of the dog.

It’s almost a squatting kind of run – difficult to describe but you’ll recognize it once you’ve seen it.

You may also see play bows interspersed with the running.

(where the dog goes down on his elbows with his butt in the air)

Another feature is the sudden way that the zoomies start.

A dog with a case of the zoomies will break into a flat out gallop from a standing start.

Sometimes right in the middle of your living room! There is often very little warning.

Why does my dog run around like crazy?

People often use the word ‘crazy’ to describe the dog zoomies. The dog will be oblivious to any damage, often crashing into tables and knocking chairs flying.

If he’s outdoors in your yard, he’ll often race in a big circle at break neck speed, leaning right over to turn as tight as he can. And perhaps stopping on occasion to spin around and set off in the opposite direction.

The dog zoomies explained. Find out why dogs get them and what you should do.

He may well not hear your pleas to ‘stop’ or ‘look out’

The zoomies don’t last long. But they can leave a trail of destruction behind them. And for a new dog owner, they can be quite shocking.

So what exactly is going on here. Has a dog with the zoomies got a problem? Or is the problem all yours?

Let’s discover what the scientists say

Frap dog behavior

Of course, biologists have come up with another name, so you’ll also hear zoomies referred to as ‘frapping’

Frapping dog is not an expletive (though you might feel inclined to use one)!

Frap is an abbreviation

F = frenetic
R = random
A = activity
P = period

And it’s a pretty self explanatory one.

Why do dogs get the zoomies?

We don’t know exactly why some dogs are prone to frapping or getting the zoomies and other dogs aren’t.

We do know that the zoomies are more common during time periods when a dog is full of energy – in other words he hasn’t been exercised for a while, or has been shut in the house for a few hours.

Sometimes you’ll see a playbow before the zoomies start!

Some dogs never get the zoomies, no matter how full of energy they are, and others get them frequently. So that isn’t the only explanation.

Some dogs may have a particular trigger or triggers. Such as after grooming, a game or a bath. Though if this is your dog’s only trigger, this may not be a true case of the zoomies

Why do dogs run around after a bath?

If your dog races around after his bath he might not have the zoomies. He may just be expressing his delight at the bath being over.

Other dogs will zoom around with their head on the ground and their butt in the air after a bath, as they try to rub themselves dry on your carpets. One of my spaniels does this.

Again, it isn’t quite the same as the zoomies, which involves that distinctive posture I describe above.

And a dog that is just drying himself will be more responsive to you than a dog with the zoomies.

So how can you tell if your dog is about to get the zoomies? Is it possible to recognize the signs?

Zoomies – dog on the brink!

Zoomies are most common in dogs that are puppies or quite young, that haven’t had much exercise in the last few hours, and that are starting to get a bit excited, or playful

Play bows can be a sign

If your dog has had the zoomies in the past and starts to play bow indoors, there is a good chance you are about to see a case of the zoomies.

While dog zoomies are not in anyway linked with aggression, occasionally a young dog will start nipping during frapping behavior.

Dog zoomies – biting

If your dog is nipping or biting during an attack of the zoomies, you need to change the way you manage him

Avoid physically handling him, and stop any game you might have been playing. He needs to have a chance to calm down.

If you can open a door and let the dog outside to burn up some energy in your yard, then do so.

Have your dog wear a house line indoors, so that you can restrain him at arms length if you need to. Check out our section on calming an over excited puppy for more information

Are the zoomies harmful to my dog?

Dog zoomies are not intrinsically harmful. They won’t give your dog a seizure or take him into some kind of permanent emotional melt down.

Despite the clumsiness of dogs that get the zoomies, they don’t usually hurt themselves in any significant way, especially outdoors.

The dog zoomies is also not usually a sign that they are sick.

If your dog has had the puppy zoomies on a regular basis since he joined your family, this is just ‘normal for him’. It’s how he lets off his extra energy. You don’t need to worry. Except about your china.

However, if a previously very calm dog suddenly starts to run in circles on a regular basis, consider having a chat with your vet. Especially if nothing has altered in the family routine that could have caused her to have some extra energy to let off. This change in behaviour could possibly be a sign of another problem.

Are the dog zoomies dangerous?

As we’ve seen above, dogs with the zoomies are not usually a danger to themselves. But do be extra careful if you have a dog at higher than usual risk of injury.

If your zoomie-prone dog has had stitches for any reason, for example, you might want to avoid any known triggers for his zoomies. And to consider how to safely give him enough exercise, to reduce his pent up energy.

Dogs with the zoomies don’t usually crash into each other. But if you have a second dog in the house who is frail, elderly, injured or sick, you may want to protect them from a zoomie-inclined companion. For example by escorting them to safety when the zoomies begin!

And equally, a dog with the zoomies could knock down a toddler or an elderly or unsteady adult. This isn’t common, but it is something for owners of high energy dogs to be aware of.

What to do when your dog gets the zoomies

Don’t be tempted to chase your dog when he gets the zoomies, indoor or out. Chasing him is likely to excite him even further.

  

Move him outdoors if at all possible

I have had a lot of success with simply opening the back door and waving the dog outside the instant the zoomies begin.

If the zoomies are a big problem for you, think about what might have triggered them so that you can work on preventing or reducing them in the future.

How to prevent dog zoomies

Because dog zoomies is normal behavior you don’t need to do anything, other than help your dog learn to express this behavior in your yard, rather than around your coffee table.

But, you may find that offering your dog more ways to dispel his energy helps to reduce frapping episodes, or even stop him from doing it altogether

Exercise will help to prevent the zoomies. Dogs won’t normally zoom when they are physically tired.

Mental stimulation helps too. Dogs may be more prone to the zoomies when they are bored. A couple of training sessions each day will help to exercise your dog’s mind

Most dogs are more likely to have the zoomies when they are already in a playful of excited state. So learning how to calm a puppy or an older dog will help you.

Dog zoomies – summary

A dog with the zoomies is not going mad. Nor is he bad, or dangerous.

Apart from the risk of tripping over something or smashing up the furniture the zoomies isn’t harmful to him.

Frapping or dog zoomies is a normal dog behavior but if it’s causing you a problem, there are steps you can take to reduce it. Increases in exercise and training are the most effective solutions.

Dogs can be taught that zooming is only appropriate outdoors. And if you are alert to your dog’s triggers, you can anticipate most cases of the dog zoomies and move them into your yard.

How about you?

Does your dog get the zoomies? Tell us about him in the comments and share your tips for coping.

References

 

140 COMMENTS

  1. THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES! I have a five month old Boston Terrier (my second Boston), who behaves exactly as you describe. My first Boston did not display this behaviour. I was worried the new pup was demented. Now I have a word, zoomies! He walks 5km each day, plays exceedingly well by himself, he is very active, but, about 8:00 pm each evening, the zoomies start. His trigger appears to be tiredness rather than boredom. It has even occurred at 3:00 am, as I write this. He is now snoring. Jeez Louise, what a site to see! Happy it’s normal☺️ Thank you for such aclearly written piece.

  2. My Pugalier gets the ‘Zoomies’ every few days , day or night. Outside he runs in a large circle, head down as If in a marathon. Inside it’s straight down the passage using a couch to do a quick turn back again. There’s no stopping him..when he stops he’s puffing and panting and needs a drink. At least I now know what it is …

  3. My female black Labrador who is nearly 2 years has a case of the zoomies on occasion. She’s a joy to watch as she appears so free and energised. She’s nearly always on a walk when she just takes off as if she’s just heard a starting gun. Her rear is low to the ground with bent legs. She tends to run in circles sometimes halting briefly to run in the opposite direction. I’ve no idea how she manages to avoid knocking into trees or shrubs as she is often in the woods when she starts. I’ve made no clear association with anything and remain uncertain as to what triggers the behaviour. I just stand and watch. It’s self limiting and once she’s finished, she quickly calms and returns to her walk.

  4. My 15 month old female black lab gets the zoomies when we put the sprinkler on and allow her to play in it. She runs like a mad thing around the garden and I swear I can see her smiling! We love it.

  5. My parents have a labrador who is 5 months old and he sees me like inve in 10 days and when he sees me he goes nuts, listens nobody, can not separate from me and often I am afraid of him when he goes like in pic…

  6. We call them Brain Farts. Both of our labs had them. They always look like they are zoned out or even afraid a bit when they stop.

  7. Every dog we have had, had the zoomies, at one time or the other. I love it! It’s fun to see them run and enjoy themselves. Its just a dog being a dog!

  8. My Chihuahua also gets zoomies. Outside she runs in a giant circle faster than you can believe but inside she just runs back and forth a couple of times.

  9. Our rescue of four months (Labrador/pit bull – mix, a little over a year old) gets the “zoomies” three times a day after every single walk. We call it a “surge” because basically it is a surge of energy that generally last for 30 seconds. At this point we know it is going to happy and just let him get it out without truly acknowledging it. Overtime ignoring it (not viewing it as a form of entertainment or trying to “control” it via discipline) has caused his surges to decrease in duration. At first it was roughly a 5 minute surge, now it is about 30 seconds after a 20 minute walk. It is reassuring to know that others are running into this “issue” and it is common amongst our respective breeds. He also will get a “surge” after/during we are playing tug or goofing off. He can be VERY playful and begins nipping followed by a surge of energy. During these surge sessions I know that the act of “playing” is the direct cause of it. We do not mind it in our house as it is not “aggressive/reckless behavior” it is simply “expending energy behavior”. With that said after an hour or two at the dog park his “surges” are generally non-existent.

    • Glad to hear it’s not just our dog..we got a 1-3 yr old Pit maybe pit mix female from a shelter; she was there 6 mos. She’s very friendly very very loving.. slathers us with kisses…but she is a bad “leash puller” and so until she’s better trained and more decompressed here at home I put her in the backyard off the leash and the next day she startled me…she did laps at at least 30mph maybe 40 about 10 laps like that looking crazy..I let her do it as I figured it’s good to get her energy out after all she had been caged for 6 mos with I am sure little time out. Thing is after her being out and exercise she in her playful mood can get a little “mouthy”..lighty put her teeth on my hand and I sternly said No.. thing is she wants food all the time as we made the error everytime we eat or snack to give her a taste..one time I said “NO” sternly as she was tap dancing all around me…she does not like being told “NO” sometimes and she has very softly did a low growl sound (no teeth) but as loving as she is. she sits next to one of us all the time, sleeps with us, kissed us like mad…but I don’t know I think I see some worrisome signs? When the mailman came here sounded like she’d kill him! But yea the running thing, it was kind of bizarre! Good to know alot of dogs do it maybe I am being overly cautious.

  10. My dog is a 1yr old staffie. She is very playful and loving but sometimes with no reason or explanation to why she sets of like a bullet and runs round the hose the hall way the bedroom and goes crazy for about 15 minutes she is like a greyhound on heat but it is scary for anyone who doesn’t know her and if you try to stop her from doing it she growls at you. We take her out for runs and she is always running so mad its like she has a auto pilot button to switch on and off. When we get back home she rests and sleeps for a little then she can be ok and maybe in a day or two or day after she can have zoomies again. I wish that i could calm her down as she also jumps up at visitors and no amount of telling her its impossible to hold her down she has a mad time and i cant stop her. But after all said and done she is lovable;e and i love her but not loving the zoomies thnx

  11. Useful article! My six months old labrador seems to have zoomies almost daily, but strange enough after a long walk and his food, so it can’t be a lack of exercise. It’s scary to see and a bit dangerous.

    • My dog is exactly the same, straight after exercise and food, when she should be tired and calm! She finishes eating, looks at me, gets into a play bow and she’s off!!!

  12. I always thought the ‘zoomies’ was a playful expression. My pup zooms at times even after she is adquately exercised and tired… Just out of the blue…
    However, I just read on another site that a dog behavioist said ‘zooming’ F.R.A.P.ing was the puppy “disapatting fear”. And dog is being “chased and the prey” of an imaginary predator”. Of all I’ve ever observed in my pups or dogs, I’ve never heard this opinion.

  13. Our rescue gets the zoomiesxas well. He’s an 11 month lab/boxer/pit bull mix. He’ll get excited playing around in the yard with his ball or toy and then all of a sudden he’ll be running full speed laps around the pool. He will stop and turn on a dime and spray grass and dirt in the air. He’ll get so excited that he’ll start barking and nipping but doesn’t bite. He wears himself after a while. I thought he was crazy until I read this article. I’m glad to know he’s just burning off energy and it’s not aggressive behavior. It’s a blast to watch him tearing through our yard and having so much fun.

  14. My black labrador get them mostly when I return home I love to see her so excited I get a little leary of her hurting herself but she’s in a sort of controlled kaos just makes you happy to see her so excited and happy love her truly.

  15. Zoomies are really fun to watch. I love it when my two dogs go crazy and run around. It’s pure joy and I wouldn’t dream of stopping them. They normally get zoomies late afternoon so I make sure they are in the yard that time. At first, I thought my puppy was possessed when I witnessed the zoomie behavior, but after a while, I got used to it and looked for patterns when it occurs to minimize the damage lol. Thanks for the great info and good job education dog owners. 🙂

  16. Our 5 month old gets them out of the blue. She also lunges and barks. Try to calm her down and it takes awhile. How do you get her to calm herself down? We had a 13 year old that wasn’t like this. She did the roomies but never acted so aggressive. Help!

  17. It is how dogs bring down large game by spinning and tripping them up .they are dogs in their natural world they walk run to hunt every day not sit in a house and do nothing.

  18. My dogs always get the zoomies inside or outside. Every dog I have ever had has had them I just encourage it and tell “wild dog” over and over as they do it. They are happy and I enjoy it.

  19. Same 13 yrs old (me) and I annoy the dog like poking him or jumping suddenly towards him (3) yrs and if I do it enough he goes “bonkers”

    • He’ll like now as described and stare at me outta the corners of his eyes exactly like above pic and then if I like step hard on the floor he take off again off the couch onto the floor run around repeat

  20. Our rescue dog gets the zoomies when it is so full of life and joy that it just cannot keep it all inside. Then it is off to the races! For example, when I get home from a business trip or one of our kids visit, the happiness of licking hands soon cuts short and the race is on! We laugh and clap our hands and she runs all the harder. Never ever occurred to us to limit the activity, she is obviously having a great time! Soon enough, she wears herself out and we all go laughing into the house where happy interaction continues.

LEAVE A REPLY