Does My Dog Have ADHD?

There are some dogs that are just furry balls of energy. Around the clock you’ll find these pooches running, playing, and sometimes getting into a fair bit of mischief. These attributes certainly aren’t true of every dog, but there are millions of pet owners who will tell you that their pets are absolutely filled with energy, or even hyperactive. However, some pet owners are curious whether or not all that excessive energy means that their pets actually have ADHD.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has become one of the best known behavioral diagnoses in human beings, so people are more aware of it than ever before. However, just because there are a lot of people who have ADHD that doesn’t necessarily mean that your energy-filled pet is necessarily suffering from the same conditions.

In this post, we sourced some useful information from the Dog Father to answer your question “does my dog have ADHD?”

Does My Dog Have ADHD?

Does My Dog Have ADHD

Does My Dog Have ADHD?

There are rare cases when evidence does seem to support a diagnosis of canine ADHD. However many common conditions can be confused with combined hyperactivity and lack of attention. For it to be a case of ‘Dog ADHD’, both attention deficit and hyperactivity must be present at the same time. Here are a few examples of dog behaviours that aren’t strictly speaking ADHD but might well seem to be. (They can all be much improved by following the right advice).

Normal Puppy Behavior – Many puppies seem overactive, disobedient and uncontrolled. That’s because they are! Puppies take a while to learn voice commands. They have so much energy and exuberance they can barely contain themselves during puppy training. Make sure training is short and fun. Always end on a ‘high’.

Overactive Dogs – Certain breeds, especially those developed for fieldwork, seem as if they’re always on the go. Collies, Spaniels and German Shepherds spring to mind (Quite literally!) They’re displaying high activity levels, for which they were originally developed. Everyday life is sometimes not enough for these highly strung individuals. Owners often find that high-energy doggy hobbies like flyball or agility training to help them to blow off steam. If you don’t fancy getting involved in fly-ball or agility (Or you just don’t have the time), there’s lots that can be done to calm excitable dogs. We could start by having a look at the effect of diet on dog behavior, but there’s lots more that we can do.

Highly Reactive Dogs – Certain breeds are more reactive than others. Reactive dogs, as opposed to hyperactive dogs, react to every minuscule event around them with extraordinary bursts of energy. If a leaf blows or footsteps are heard outside, they go berserk, running around the house, bouncing off the sofa or barking like a mad thing. Have you ever seen a Border Collie obsessed with chasing reflections and shadows on a carpet? That’s a reactive dog. (Possibly overactive as well!).

Attention-seeking Dogs – Dogs learn to behave in almost any conceivable way if they are rewarded for it. If you pay attention to a dog only when he is barking, jumping, or otherwise being a nuisance, that’s the behavior you’ll encourage. Inadvertently, you are reinforcing unwanted behaviors. Any attention is better than no attention for some dogs, even when you think you’re telling them off. As a starting point, make sure you pay attention to your dog only when he is being good and ignore him when he is misbehaving.

Interestingly, the true test of ADHD is to give the dog a prescribed stimulant, under controlled clinical conditions, whilst observing changes in heart rate, respiratory rate, and behavior. For a dog with ADHD, these parameters are reduced. (Yes, you did read that right: Paradoxically, a stimulant can calm them down, for reasons that we don’t have space for here).

Source: Dog Father

Don’t just assume that the boundless energy or knack for getting into trouble that your dog is displaying means that he/she has ADHD. As you just read, actual cases of canine ADHD aren’t all that common. In our experience there are plenty of dogs with pent up energy out there, but most of the time they need simply to play, walk or exercise a bit more. And, of course, there are some who are just like kids acting out; they simply want a bit of extra TLC from mom or dad.

Take time to look at some of the different aspects of energetic dog behavior laid out above. You may find that what you have been classifying as doggie ADHD may simply be a case of a misunderstood, energetic and well meaning dog. As a pet owner, you will immediately recognize if one of these personality traits is the true culprit behind your dog’s boundless energy.

We love energetic dogs. Heck, we even love dogs who like to stir up a bit of trouble and mischief from time to time. If you agree, please click LIKE below this post to pass along this important information to other dog owners.

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