My family’s first dog was a rescue named Penny. It had taken years of asking before my parents finally caved and we found Penny on our first trip to the local humane society. She was a young German Shephard/Beagle mix with plenty of energy and a sense of adventure. This often proved difficult because she would often follow her nose and would sometimes end up blocks or even miles away! But there were many other times when she was just so happy to be around us that she would just run in circles around our backyard. Back then, we were first-time dog owners and didn’t know that this behavior is actually perfectly normal and something that many dogs do!
Nowadays, the internet has come up with a term for dogs happily sprinting around: the zoomies. Many dogs will just madly zoom around with a ridiculously happy face and the occasional play bows (elbows/front legs down and butt up). It can be overwhelming when your dog first does the zoomies but this is an utterly natural way for a dog to express their joy/excitement and burn some of their excess energy.
There is actually an official name for the zoomies that many pet professionals will use. ‘Frenetic Random Activity Period’ and ‘frapping’ are both used to describe the energetic behavior. Dogs of all ages and breeds will occasionally zoom/frap around while others may never do so in their life. And there’s no one reason why a dog might zoom around. Some dogs will zoom around after a bath or stressful/confusing event to release some of the anxious energy they might be feeling. Other times, dogs will zoom around to release some pent up energy or excitement. And watching another dog zoom around can encourage others to do the same!
The zoomies are an utterly natural behavior for your dog and not one you really need to discourage, as long as they’re doing it in a safe place. They aren’t a sign that your pup is sick and usually won’t end up with any sort of permanent physical or emotional damage. Slippery floors or around breakable items, small children, or folks who aren’t steady on their feet could potentially result in injury for your dog or the people around them. But rather than trying to control your dog’s zoomies, try to control the environment around them so they can freely and happily zoom around with no one getting hurt!
Another thing to keep in mind with your pup and the zoomies is if they’re constantly zooming around, it might be a good idea to add in more structured exercise and enrichment outlets into their day. Zoomies are a heck of a lot of fun but constant zoomies could be your dog’s way of telling you they’re bored or stressed and need some more walks! More exercise and playtime won’t completely eliminate the zoomies in your dog but can help them get rid of some excess energy.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to not chase your dog while they’re zooming around because they could easily misinterpret this as you wanting to play and will continue running (potentially going into a more dangerous situation like a road). For any dog, they might be so into running around that they completely forget all training and logic. But training, patience, and treats can mean that your pet zooms in a happy environment!
Has your dog ever had the case of the zoomies? What did you think?