I’ve often wondered what my dog thinks when I walk out the door. Do they miss me? Do they sit around and wait for me to return? I may not be sure what they think when I’m gone, but I certainly know how they feel when I return.
They go crazy. They run to me, barking or whining. They want to be picked up, and then they lick my face. They act as if I’ve been gone for days, and they are overjoyed to see me.
Why does my dog go crazy when I get home?
There are several reasons why your dog may go crazy when you get home. The best reason is because they are simply happy to see you. However, not all the reasons are positive.
Happy to See You
In many cases, your dog is just happy to see you. They’ve missed you while you were gone, and they are happy that you are back. This differs from separation anxiety, which we’ll cover in a moment, because your dog is ok when you are gone.
If your dog has separation anxiety, they feel like their world is ending when you leave. They may become destructive, chewing things around the house. They may have house accidents, even though they are fully housetrained.
They may whine or cry when you leave or are gone, or simply lay around depressed. When you return, they will be extremely excited.
Some dogs have severe separation anxiety. They get upset when they are in a different room from their owner. Others are fine when you are home, but they have issues when you leave.
Need to Potty
If your dog has been waiting to potty, they may go crazy because they desperately need a bathroom break. Do they immediately go to the door asking to potty? They may simply be excited to relieve themselves!
It’s also possible that your dog is hungry when you get home. If you feed them when you get home, this can cause them to be excited to eat once you return.
If they only get this excited or crazy when it’s near dinnertime, this is probably the reason for their behavior.
If they are bored when you are gone, this can also cause them to go crazy when you get home. If your dog is bored, they may chew things they aren’t supposed to.
They may also pace, pant, or dig excessively. They may obsessively scratch or lick themselves as well.
Dogs learn what to do and not to do through positive and negative enforcement. Your dog will remember that some actions result in good things, like treats or praise. Other actions will get unwanted results.
Dogs naturally repeat the behaviors that provide positive consequences. You probably use this type of reinforcement when training your dog. However, you may also accidentally “train” your dog to go crazy when you get home.
Do you give your dog lots of attention or praise when they show excitement at your return? Your dog loves this, so they will keep being crazy because it results in fun for them.
How to calm my dog when I get home?
Calming your dog when you get home is the first step in changing their behavior. If they are crazy to the point of annoying you when you come home, you’ll need to teach them to settle down.
Don’t Reinforce the Excitement
Don’t become excited yourself, and don’t give them attention when they are excited. This will only reinforce the behavior, causing it to continue.
Teaching Your Pooch to Be Calm
The easiest way to teach your dog to be calm when you get home is to ignore them until they are. If you try to actively calm your dog down, you’ll only reinforce their behavior.
Ignore them until they are calm. Then give them affection, but remain calm. If you become excited, you’ll encourage them to become overly excited as well.
If your dog has separation anxiety, ignoring them when you come home may not be the best option. However, you should make leaving a bit more exciting. Give them a treat when you leave, but keep it calm and low key.
When you return, remain calm. Treat it as a normal part of the day. You may need to work with a vet or animal behavioralist to help your dog overcome their separation anxiety.
Use Their Nose
Dogs and humans alike can benefit from using their nose. Scents like lavender and vanilla can calm your dog. Consider diffusing some oil or spraying an essential oil spray immediately when you get home.
This can help your dog settle. You may also do this before you return home, to have your dog more settled when you arrive.
How to get my dog to stop going crazy when I get home?
There are ways to get your dog to stop losing their mind when you get home. This starts with following the tips above. In addition, there are things you should do to help them remain settled when you return.
Tire Them Out
You’ll want to set your dog up for success. One way to do this is by wearing them out ahead of time. Exercise is an excellent way to get rid of excess energy.
The more tired they are, the less energy they have to go crazy later. This can also help with boredom, which can also contribute to your dog being hyper when you come home.
Engage Their Mind
Engaging your dog’s body and mind can help them be calm when you get home. This is a way to bust boredom, and build a stronger relationship with your pooch.
You can do this by playing games with your pooch. Hide a treat and let your dog find it. Obstacle courses are another method to exercise their body and mind, because they require mental concentration and physical activity.
When you are away, you should also engage their mind. A puzzle toy is a great way to do this. These toys dispense food or treats when manipulated in certain ways. This requires your pooch to think.
When all else fails, consider turning on the tv. This isn’t a replacement for other types of activity. However, it can help keep them entertained when you aren’t there.
Dogs love shows that feature other dogs, or other animals they see as prey. If your dog isn’t bored, they are less likely to go crazy when you get home.
Plan Activities Carefully
You shouldn’t plan their favorite activities immediately after coming home. Play, meal times, and other fun times shouldn’t happen as soon as you walk through the door.
Your dog will expect these things, and be very excited because something fun is about to happen. Stick to calm boring activities until you’ve been home for a bit.