Does your dog ever get that crazed look in their eye and start racing around the house at top speed? There’s a name for that! And it isn’t the “zoomies” or “crazies” like we often call them. Veterinarians and animal behaviorists call these episodes “frenetic rapid action periods”, or FRAPs.
A FRAP is characterized by a burst of energy, which is usually brief and can include a mischievous or crazy glint in their eyes. Sometimes the FRAP will be preluded by a play bow, before the running starts. Often a dog will start this after a bath, or when outside, but they can happen anywhere, at any time. The “zoomies” are often common in puppies and young dogs but old dogs may still experience an episode, especially if influenced by an energetic puppy. FRAPs are completely normal, but can be a sign that your dog needs more exercise. If you find that your dog is having several episodes a day, make sure they are getting enough activity. You can redirect their energy through additional walks or playing fetch. Feeding them or giving treats in a food-stuffable toy is another way to keep them busy and active.
If your dog racing around your apartment isn’t conducive to your lifestyle (got fragile lamps? A small apartment?), you can take steps to minimize the amount of zooming happening. Do not chase your dog, as it can be counterproductive on them learning to “come” to their name. Never let your dog continue to race in dangerous areas like slippery floors or near a road. If they are cueing a FRAP by a play bow or “crazy eyes”, call them in a firm voice, and put them on a leash or in a crate for a few minutes. Then take them out for organized play and exercise. Do not reward FRAP behavior in areas that you don’t want your dog to race around; instead cue them with your own play bow during a time and place when they can.
As long as the “zoomies” aren’t putting the home or the dog in danger, just sit back and enjoy your pet’s behavior. Because you have to admit, watching the dog go into “turbo-maniac-mode” is pretty hilarious. Happy zooming!
Sources: How Stuff Works, Vet Street, Andrea Arden