Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Witching Hour: What it is and How to recognize it

The Witching Hour is a time in the early morning (6-7am) and again at dusk (5-6pm) where your puppy just starts acting wild and rambunctious.  It is most noticeable in the evening, in my experience.  My understanding is that it is related to the time when a wolf would be hunting.  Wolves hunt during the day, but they sleep during the middle of the day when it's hottest out and resume activity in the waning daylight hours. Now that Indie is one year old, it doesn't happen any more. 
How to Recognize it
For us, what happens is that Indie will be sweeter and more docile during the afternoon time and then right around 5 he'll start just acting nutty, which makes training a lot harder during this time.  It's hard to make a list of the symptoms, but basically your puppy will be a little wilder and less congenial than normal.  They may tear around the house a little bit, they won't listen to you, they will act out and do things they know they're not supposed to or that they normally don't do.  You'll wonder....who is this puppy?

Here's what you should do: don't let it phase you or make you worried that your puppy is regressing or is turning bad, simply take them out for some nice vigorous exercise like a walk or some fetch/ball chasing.  Once they calm down more, you can then take some time to do a little bit of training or enjoy yourself more.
Does it ever go away?
In my experience, it has gone away (but then again, I exercise the crap out of my dog and train and train and he is mentally and physically stimulated every day!).  Indie had very noticeable witching hours in the morning and in the evening during puppyhood.  I mean, he would be rambunctious and wouldn't listen to me, when only an hour beforehand he was doing great.  He's now 7 months old and since he was about 6 months old he doesn't seem to get the "crazies" anymore.  Instead, he's just ready to play and do a walk when I get home.  He is definitely still a puppy...being silly, getting excited and wiggly, and jumping around on other dogs trying to play.  However, each day he seems to get a little calmer and more mature.  It's pretty incredible to witness the transformation to doghood!

Hope this helps you!

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