By Amy Tokic
Just like babies and toddlers, there’s a time during the day when puppies lose their minds. It’s called “Puppy Witching Hour,” and it’s quite common. Even though we’re taking about Witching Hour, you’ll think that your dog has turned into a little devil! If you’re proactive about diffusing this situation and have a plan of attack, the witching hours won’t leave you with scratched up legs, bitten fingers, and chewed up household items. We’ve put together some tips and essential information, so you know what to do when your pupper exhibits this behavior (and keep your sanity during this exuberant phase).
What does witching hour mean for a puppy?
The witching hour for puppies usually occurs in the early morning or late evening. You’ll notice that your pupper is running around the house and engages in increased levels of mouthing behavior. You may have heard of this behavior referred to as the “zoomies.”
How long does witching hour last in puppies?
A few seconds, a few minutes, or an hour – you just don’t know how long one of these sessions can last. How long your puppy’s witching hour lasts will depend on your dog and how you both handle the behavior.
How do I stop my puppy from witching hour?
Here are some tips on how to manage this trying time:
- Go for a 30-minute walk, followed by some play time. If you have a high-energy breed, he will need more play time and exercise.
- Keep a few high-value bones/toys handy so your puppy has something else to do when he gets bitey. When he gets bored of one, be sure to rotate a new one into the mix. If your dog gets grabby and starts to nip at you, play time is over – it’s time for a time out!
- Frozen Kongs are a life saver! Make sure the Kong or engaging puzzle toy has something tasty inside of it, such as peanut butter, squeeze cheese or wet canned puppy food.
- A LickMat with some Greek yogurt and liver treats frozen on it also works wonders. You can smear some wet food and sprinkle some blueberries or treats on it and freeze the whole mat.
- Playing fetch is a great way to expend extra energy. Keep a couple balls in action and roll one after the other across the floor.
- Even puppies get “hangry”. As your puppy grows, he may be reacting out of frustration caused by hunger. Give your dog a snack around 7 p.m. – you’ll notice that he’ll be less likely to bite everything in his path.
- Kids and puppies go great together – except during puppy witching hour. Kids have a Witching Hour as well – imagine dealing with both sets of behavior! Your kids should interact with the pupper during quiet times.
- Puppies have a wake/sleep cycle of 60 to 120 minutes. If your puppy loses his mind after he’s been awake for an hour, make sure that he’s been outside for potty time and settle him in his crate with a food-stuffed toy.
Now that you’re prepared for puppy witching hour, you can set your little guy up for success!
Amy Tokic is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).