• Sarah Groves


Updated: May 24

By Sarah Groves - your puppy training specialist covering Neath, Port Talbot and Swansea

Just when everyone in the house is getting ready to settle down for the evening - 7pm hits and you prepare your self for the WITCHING HOUR!

If you already have a puppy at home - it's likely that you're already aware of what the 'withching hour' looks like.

This is a period of time in the evening where your pup becomes WILD and really difficult to control.

During this period of time you are likely to see:

- Zoomies

- Nipping/biting

- Pulling on clothes (with play growls)

- Stealing objects

- Hyperactivity

- Chewing

- Barking


This behaviour can feel exhausting and quite scary for some people who didn't expect this from their pup.

At the moment it feels like no matter what you try, there's nothing you can do to stop getting bitten!

Why does this happen?

This behaviour is VERY COMMON and COMPLETELY NORMAL and is generally the outcome an over tired and overstimulated puppy and is the pup's inability to regulate these feelings.

As puppy grows older things will get a lot easier because puppy will be able to cope better with these feelings. Eventually the witching hour will become more manageable for everyone, and eventually non existent.

What can you do about it?

There are lots of things you can do to ensure this time of evening becomes easier to manage:

- Avoid over stimulating activities through the day (such as LOTS of exercise, chasing a ball, rigorous tugging of a toy)

- Provide your puppy with lots of mentally stimulating and calming activities - see my post on enrichment

- Provide your puppy with lots of chews (chewing is naturally calming for dogs)

- If you know the witching hour starts at a specific time, prepare enrichment activities for that time (or just before it starts) so that pup is learning to practice behaviours you like seeing at that time

- Make sure puppy has lots of naps through the day (young us need around 17 hours in a day)

- Keep some of your pup food allowance in your pocket so you can reward any calm behaviour through the day

- Teach a settle on a mat/settle in the crate

- If your pup starts getting over the top to the point of 'no return' where you're finding things totally unmanageble, then pop puppy in a crate/playpen/safe space with a calming activity such as a licki mat or long lasting chew to help with calming them back down.

Need help?

Get in touch!

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