Dogcharmer: Wild and crazy pup

Otherwise known as FRAP.

This 8-month-old Lab mix, is probably at the zenith of “punkdom.” - Sandra Hill

Hello Tom,

I have a now 8-month Lab mix. He was in foster care for a month, and came to me at the end of January. He has been great on leash, in car, is not a chewer, and is totally housebroken. For the past four to six weeks, he has been totally “crazy” in the back fenced-in yard. He gets in this hyper, excited state, and crouches down on front paws then jumps away, nips at ankles and sleeves, and wants someone to chase him. He is otherwise great. He was neutered last month.

Supposedly the term to describe his behavior is FRAP.

I’m open to all suggestions.



Dear Sandra,

Congratulations on your new family member, and thank you for being one of the good guys, adopting a dog out of foster care. Generally speaking, the maturation process of a dog goes from puppy, to punk, to young adult, to adult, to senior. Congratulations again, because you’re dealing with an 8-month-old Lab mix, which is probably the zenith of “punkdom” for that breed mix. FRAP stands for “frenetic random activity period,” which is basically an energy release. I’ve had quite a few frantic calls over the years, with the panicked dog owner exclaiming that their dog “has gone berserk,“ “lost its mind,” “is trying to kill himself!” When I inquired about the “suicidal” dog, I was told that Pepa, the puppy in question, was zooming around the apartment at top speed, and was smashing into the same wall, skidding on the wood floor, trying to make the turn. A walk in the rain will often induce a dog to temporary insanity when it gets in the house. A natural way of getting dry and warmer is jumping and running around like a nut. So Sandra, perhaps you might try entering the backyard with “backyard crazy” (BC) on a leash. This will allow you to have much more control if BC gets obnoxious. Better yet, before he has a chance to go into his play mode with the wild eyes that say, “I’m going to play-attack you and it’s all in fun,” tell him to “sit,” and when he does, give him a treat. Work him for a minute with a couple of sits and stays, and then throw a treat for him to find and devour. Redirect his attention to earning your praise and treats for his cooperation. A great exercise is getting BC to sit and stay when you throw a treat or ball, and instead of his immediately going after the treat or ball, have him hold the stay until you say “OK.” The good news, Sandra, is that he will mature, and time is on your side. “When will he mature?” you ask, To be precise, when he’s 1 year, 8 months, 3 weeks, 2 days, 5½ hours old, or between 1 and 3 years of age, to be realistic. I’ve read that brain wave patterns of most breeds change at about 2 years of age as they enter adulthood. In any case, Sandra, do some “redirecting,” and BC will be more fun in the backyard!


The Dogcharmer


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