Zoomies! Understanding ‘Frenetic Random Activity Periods’ or FRAPs in dogs

energetic dog
Margaret Davies

If you’re a dog owner, it’s likely you’re well versed in the sudden bursts of energy that have our dogs (and especially puppies) spinning like tornados and doing laps around the coffee table like it’s an Olympic track. But have you ever paused to wonder, what are they doing exactly?

This behaviour is known as ‘dog zoomies’ and we’ve put together this guide to tell you everything you need to know about it. Remember, understanding your dog's behavior is key to a lifelong commitment, much like the message in A Dog is For Life, Not Just For Christmas.

What are dog zoomies?

The proper name for dog and puppy zoomies is ‘Frenetic Random Activity Periods’ or FRAPs.

These periods usually display as sudden bursts of energy where your dog may run around in circles, usually with their backend tucked in, chase their tail and do laps of the house and/or garden.

Typically, dog zoomies won’t last very long and will be over almost as soon as they began, and your dog will plonk themselves down for a much-needed rest.

What causes dog and puppy zoomies?

Zoomies is generally caused by a build-up of excess energy which is then released in one short burst. Don’t worry though, it’s a completely natural behaviour.

It’s most common in and generally occurs less and less as they get older. But that’s not to say it’ll stop entirely – many older dogs will still have FRAPs!

When do dog zoomies commonly occur?

Although it’s caused by excess energy build-up, there are a few occasions that are likely to cause a FRAP, including:

  • Just before bed: your dog may be trying to blow off steam before a longer period of rest
  • After a bath: dogs may experience an adrenaline rush after bathing and may either feel relief that they’re out of the bath or are trying to dry off (or perhaps both)
  • After eating: this is particularly common with very food orientated dogs
  • During a training session: sometimes when we’re trying to teach our dogs something and they’re not quite getting it, it can lead to a build-up of nervous energy

Ensuring your dog has the right diet is crucial. Explore suitable dog food options here to keep their energy levels balanced.

Are dog zoomies harmful?

The behaviour itself isn’t harmful, but sometimes the area in which they do it can be dangerous, particularly if they’re constantly skidding on laminate or hardwood floors or running into furniture.

If you think your dog will harm themselves in the house, instead of trying to stop the behaviour, just direct the behaviour outside instead or if not possible, a carpeted area.

Sometimes dogs will get very excited and a FRAP will occur when they’re on a walk and let off the leash, which can cause owners to panic and think they’re running off.

If they do this it’s important that you don’t run after them as they will see this as a game and think you’re joining in!

Instead, you should run in the opposite direction and get in the habit of carrying high-reward treats, so when they come to you, give them a treat and in future they’ll be more willing to come to you.

Alternatively, if they’re frequently running off and the area is dangerous, keep them on a long leash so they’re secure but have plenty of space to run.

If your dog’s zoomies seem to be happening a lot, it may be a sign that they’re not getting enough exercise. You could try longer walks (age and breed dependent) and mentally stimulating toys such as puzzles and snuffle mats. For toys that can help manage your dog's energy, check out these non-food pet supplies, which include puzzles and snuffle mats.

It might be tempting to interpret dog zoomies as an invitation to play, but it’s best not to chase them.

They will get their crazy, zany energy out and come back to you as if nothing weird occurred.

Of course, if you are in an environment in which your dog could endanger themselves, like a busy park near a road, you may need to rely on your training methods to bring them to safety.

(Article source: Purina)

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