The zoomies—you’ve probably heard of the term, and you may even love seeing them happen in your dog. But what are they, really? Are the zoomies just sudden bursts of energy that cause your dog to zip around the room, or is there something more to them?
PrideBites has a few answers for the curious dog owner. Let’s take a look at what the zoomies are and why they happen, all so that you can get a better understanding of your dog’s most adorable habits and facets of their personality.
What Are the Zoomies?
Although this behavior in dogs is colloquially called “the zoomies,” there’s actually a more technical term for it. Frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs) happen when dogs release their pent-up energy, which is what causes them to run around the house or spin around in place.
This habit is quite common in their species, and a round of the zoomies typically lasts for less than a few minutes. However, there have been cases wherein the FRAPs can go beyond 10 minutes, which is also perfectly normal.
4 Reasons Dogs Get the Zoomies
Now that you know what the zoomies or FRAPS are, you might be wondering what would lead your furry companion to run about out of nowhere. You may also want to know how to calm them down, like when it’s time for them to take a walk with their leash and martingale collars in tow. There are several likely causes for this behavior, but these four are the most common:
1) They're Happy
One of the most heartwarming sights for any dog owner is witnessing their furry companion in a state of sheer happiness. It turns out that this elation can sometimes lead to those wild, zooming episodes that leave your dog racing around the house. This burst of energy is a way for them to release the excitement and happiness they're feeling at that moment. A joyful dog might get the FRAPs during playtime, when they're in a stimulating environment, or after seeing their very favorite person return home.
2) They're Excited
Excitement is another strong trigger for the zoomies in dogs. Whether it's caused by the anticipation of a fun activity, the sound of their leash, or the arrival of visitors, dogs can become extremely excited and quickly begin some high-energy antics. This behavior is a natural response to heightened emotions, and while it can sometimes be a bit chaotic, it's usually an indication of a happy and engaged dog.
3) They're Warming Up
When a dog has been resting or has been indoors for an extended period, they may need to "warm up" their bodies with a short burst of energetic play. This not only helps them prevent injuries and discomfort, but also makes the subsequent activity even more enjoyable for them.
4) They're Releasing Tension and Anxiety
In contrast to triggers associated with happiness and excitement, dogs can also occasionally experience zoomies when they're feeling tense or anxious. Canines have their own ways of releasing built-up tension, and the FRAPs are just one of the many.
If your dog has been exposed to a new and unfamiliar situation, they might go through a round of the zoomies as a way to cope with the stress induced by it. You’ll want to be able to recognize the signs of anxiety-induced FRAPs so that you can provide your fur baby with a reassuring and calm environment and help ease their tension.
How to Handle the Zoomies
There’s no question that watching your dog get the zoomies often makes for a fun time. But if this behavior isn’t handled properly, you might have more than a few accidents happen around the house. Sudden bursts of energy may cause your canine companion to go wild in your home, increasing their risk of breaking something, bumping into someone, or possibly hurting themselves and someone else. They might also get FRAPs during walks outside and make it hard for you to keep them within range, potentially putting them in danger of getting lost or hit by a vehicle.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your fur baby’s zoomies can be expressed in a safe and positive way, namely the following:
1) Create a Safe Space for Them to Let Loose
When your dog goes into zoomie mode, your whole household may experience a whirlwind of activity. Sometimes things can get knocked over or damaged inadvertently. To manage this exuberant burst of energy on your dog’s part, consider creating a safe space for them to let loose within your home or yard. This designated area should be free of fragile items and hazards so that your dog can enjoy their FRAPs without you worrying about accidents or damage.
2) Redirect Their Energy
Redirecting your dog's energy during their zoomies can be a helpful way to manage this behavior and ensure it's both fun and safe for your furry friend to experience. When you notice that your pup’s FRAP is turned up to the max, use their favorite toy and play games like fetch to channel their energy into a productive and enjoyable activity.
You can also use food puzzles to engage your dog’s mind and provide them with mental stimulation as a means to distract them from more destructive zoomies. It also helps to teach your dog basic commands like "sit," "stay," or "come." These commands can be especially useful towards redirecting your dog's focus and calming them down during a zoomie episode.
3) Consult a Professional If There Are Further Problems
If your dog's zoomies are causing excessive damage and stress or are becoming a safety concern, it might be time to consult a professional. A dog trainer or behaviorist can provide you with valuable guidance and solutions to address and manage more worrisome FRAPs-related behavior.
Zoomies are just one of the many things to love about your dog, and no matter how wild the behavior seems, it’s good to know that most of the time, it’s a normal canine experience. Just keep a close eye on what triggers your dog’s zoomies, and do your part as a responsible dog owner to ensure that your dog has healthy and safe outlets for their energy.