Pitbulls are a severely misunderstood dog breed. While many people fear them, owners know these pups are hyperactive little bundles of excitement! These dogs can be such a fun breed to own. But their high energy levels can be difficult to manage.
Pits love to play and need tons of exercise. But even if you provide all that, some pups will continue to bounce off the walls.
It’s a sight to behold. However, some owners might be ripping their hair out, wondering when and if their lovable goofs will calm down.
You’ll be happy to know that Pitbulls do eventually mellow out. But when?
Before we get into the hyperactivity timeline, let’s talk about this controversial breed.
As we said earlier, many people fear these dogs, and they have a reputation for being aggressive. However, they’re also super energetic and lovable.
Believe it or not, the reason why this dog has a tendency for violence is the exact reason why they’re so full of life.
Every dog is different and has a unique personality, but the broad consensus is that Pits are slightly more neurotic and hyper than other breeds. The reason for that comes down to the dog’s history.
Unfortunately, Pitbulls were bred to fight.
They were guardians trained to protect against bulls, bears, and other large and intimidating animals. The need to chase, fight, and remain athletic is in the dog’s DNA!
That’s why experts believe these pups have seemingly endless stores of energy. That was a positive trait centuries ago. While modern Pits can calm down a bit, they’re still miles above other breeds in hyperactivity.
Of course, like everything else with this breed, how you raise them matters. Their surroundings, exposure to new things, and overall lifestyle can dictate their personality type.
We’ll go over ways to calm a hyper Pitbull later, but the vital thing to know is that vigilant training can make a difference.
The Transition From Rambunctious Pup to Calm Adult
When you see a Pitbull that’s hyper enough to bounce off the walls, they’re likely very young.
A Pit’s energy and over-the-top antics are like a rollercoaster. It sharply increases in their youth before plummeting and gradually decreasing to level-headed living.
At birth, puppies are pretty calm. They aren’t developed enough to go crazy.
However, that changes at around two to four months. At this stage, Pitbull puppies become more inquisitive.
You can start seeing the troublemaker behavior begin! But, the pups are incapable of focusing too much on one thing. As a result, they’re a little scatterbrained. Plus, their energy levels are unstable.
Your pup might be curious one minute before crashing into a sleepy adorable ball the next.
After four months of age is when things get crazy!
Pitbulls are usually the most hyperactive at this stage, and it lasts until the dog is about a year old.
There’s a lot of pent-up energy, and you must find ways to address it. Otherwise, your dog will be a nightmare.
Not only are they hyper enough to literally run around in circles and cause chaos, but they might resort to destructive behavior. Pitbulls in this age bracket are notorious for destroying furniture.
The good news is that things get better from here.
Between 12 and 24 months is when Pitbulls begin to level out.
Most owners will notice a turning point. The dogs become more likely to listen to commands, and their intelligence shines. Hyperactivity is still common.
Your Pit will still go crazy pretty frequently. But it’s balanced out with moments of calm. This is when you’ll truly fall in love with your dog.
There’s nothing better than those quiet moments of Pitbull smiles and lots of cuddles!
After two years of age, most Pitbulls will calm down.
For some, it might take up to two and a half years. Either way, their mental development catches up with their physical development. They’re fully mature at this stage, and their temperament will reflect that.
Don’t be surprised if short periods of puppy-like behavior come out. Pitbulls have their moments. But it’s mostly calm demeanors moving forward.
Your dog’s energy will continue to decline in the coming years. By the time they reach senior status at eight years old, they’ll spend most of their days lounging and relaxing.
It’s a far cry from their years of craziness, but they’re adorable and easy to excite nonetheless. The difference is that the excitement is more contained.
How to Calm Down a Hyperactive Pitbull
The timeline covered above should give you a good idea of when your Pit will relax and mellow out. However, there are no guarantees.
Whether you’re in the middle of that under-one-year-old range or you’re dog is well past two years old and still dealing with hyperactivity issues, there are many things you can do to address the problem.
Dogs are complex creatures, and Pitbulls sometimes need a little help creating a lifestyle that fits their energy needs.
Provide Mental Stimulation
Pitbulls are smarter than they seem.
It’s easy to assume that these pups are clueless goofballs, but they need mental stimulation. When you don’t give your dog anything to challenge its mind, it may resort to troublesome behavior.
A lack of stimulation is the number-one cause of destructive behavior.
Your pup has nothing to do and nowhere to put its energy. So, it looks for the closest item to destroy and go to town! You can kiss your furniture goodbye!
Fortunately, there are many ways to stimulate your dog. The most obvious trick is to spend time with them. Provide challenging training commands and teach your dog tricks.
Training is always a welcome form of stimulation. But what about those moments when you’re not home? In that case, you’ll have to resort to mental simulation toys.
Try a slow feeder, a Kong dispenser for chewing, or puzzle toys. They all keep your dog occupied for hours on end, making that need for stimulation fully satiated.
Help Them Get Plenty of Exercise
Pitbulls need a lot of exercises. There’s no getting around that.
These dogs are active and have a seemingly endless supply of energy. Imagine how you would feel if you were cooped up all day and unable to stretch your legs.
That’s how your dog feels. Of course your pup will go crazy when they have the opportunity to do so. They don’t know when they’ll get another chance.
To keep your Pit’s hyperactivity at bay, provide 60 to 90 minutes of exercise every day. You can split that into three 30-minute walks or go for an intense play session daily.
Do what works for you. They’ll learn to relax if you get that time in for your dog.
Create a Calm Environment
Does your dog get over-excited at the slightest thing?
Maybe they see a squirrel running around outside and go crazy. Even worse, they might start barking mad when the mailperson comes by.
Whatever the case, you can control that behavior by creating a more relaxing environment.
Put them in a quiet room without any distractions.
You don’t have to turn your home into a prison cell without outside interaction. But it’s a good idea to have that quiet space.
Whenever your dog starts going crazy, have them relax in that room. The lack of outside noise and visibility will help them recollect, calm down, and remain peaceful.
Related: How To Treat Pitbull Skin Problems
Establish a Comfortable Routine
Dogs thrive with a routine they can follow. Pitbulls are no different. In many cases, hyperactivity is a byproduct of the unknown.
For example, your dog doesn’t know when it will have the chance to run around and play. So, they go extra crazy when those opportunities come.
The idea of setting a routine makes life more predictable. Go outside at the same time every day, complete your walks on a schedule, and exercise in a predictable pattern.
When you have that routine, your dog will learn that other opportunities will come. They’ll still get excited, but it’ll be less extreme because they know they’ll do the same thing tomorrow.
Be the Calm Leader
Don’t lose your cool when your dog does. That’s the worst mistake you can make.
Chasing after your dog while screaming your head off will only exacerbate the problem. It can make your dog fearful of those moments.
The loud sounds and sudden activity could also through them off, escalating a situation to new hyperactive heights.
Always remain calm.
When your dog does its over-the-top antics, stay still. Move the dog to a calm space, stay silent, and wait for your dog to follow.
Practice Positive Reinforcement
A little positive reinforcement goes a long way.
As you remain calm and wait for your dog to follow your lead, be prepared to offer a treat. Your dog needs to learn that calm behavior is the way.
Reward those moments when they sit down and relax.
You don’t need to resort to negative reinforcement for moments of wildness. But make sure to have those treats ready when they inevitably come down.
Visit a Vet and Trainer
Our last tip is to seek professional help.
Go to your veterinarian to rule out any potential health issues. In most cases, hyperactivity is nothing to worry about with a Pitbull. It’ll eventually even out.
However, some dogs suffer from a condition known as hyperkinesis. It’s the canine equivalent of ADHD.
In addition to being hyper, dogs will have attention-seeking behavior, short attention spans, and impulsive behavior.
If hyperkinesis is to blame, your vet can diagnose it and provide treatment.
Treatment usually involves help from a specialist and trainer. But you don’t have to wait to seek a trainer’s assistance until you get a diagnosis.
Canine behavioral experts can teach you tricks to encourage more mellow living.
The Relationship Between Neutering, Spaying, and Pitbull Hyperactivity
There’s a common belief that neutering or spaying a dog will calm them down. That is true to some extent, but it’s not always the case.
There’s a lot more going on beyond hormones. Neutering and spaying can help keep aggressive behavior at bay and promote more level-headedness.
But if you’re not taking care of their mental stimulation needs and physical exercise requirements, the hyperactivity will not change.
Over-the-top Pitbulls are certainly a handful. The good news is that most Pits typically calm down after they reach age two.
Employ some of our tips above to promote even-tempered behavior from the jump.
When your dog finds the right balance of action and relaxation, you’ll fondly look back at those crazy moments. Cherish them now because they won’t last forever.
Also Read: Best Puppy Foods for Pitbulls