You Support Dog and Cat Rescues when you visit our site. I hope you enjoy the 1000's of pages devoted to helping animals find loving homes. Global Rescue and America Humane Society and Humane Society International

Last Updated on February 11, 2024 by Scott Lipe

Did you know that dogs, just like us, experience a “witching hour”? This mysterious phenomenon leaves many pet owners puzzled. Dogs seem to transform into hyperactive creatures during this time of day, exhibiting erratic behavior and zooming around the house with unmatched energy levels. But why do dogs have a witching hour? Understanding the reasons behind this peculiar behaviour can shed light on our furry friends’ instincts and needs.

The witching hour in dogs often occurs in the evening when they release pent-up energy accumulated throughout the day. This burst of activity may stem from their natural hunting instincts or simply be a way to relieve boredom. By unraveling the mysteries behind this common canine behavior, we can better meet our pets’ needs and ensure they lead happy and fulfilled lives.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the concept of the witching hour in dogs helps in addressing their behavioral changes during this time.
  • The witching hour in dogs often occurs due to pent-up energy, boredom, or lack of mental stimulation.
  • Factors contributing to the witching hour include breed characteristics, age, and overall health of the dog.
  • To manage the witching hour, engage your dog in physical activities like walks or play sessions to release excess energy.
  • Implement training techniques such as obedience training or mental stimulation games to redirect your dog’s focus during the witching hour.
  • Creating a calm environment through soothing music, dim lighting, or designated quiet areas can help reduce the intensity of the witching hour episodes.

Understanding Witching Hour


During the witching hour, dogs may display nipping behavior. This behavior is a common way for puppies during the witching hour to explore their surroundings and engage in play. The heightened energy levels during this time can lead to more frequent nipping episodes.

Another sign of the witching hour is overtiredness in dogs. When dogs are experiencing this period, they may be overly tired due to a lack of rest or sleep. Overtiredness can manifest as hyperactivity and increased excitability in dogs, making them more restless than usual.


The witching hour varies in duration from dog to dog. Some dogs might have a short burst of energy during this time, while others could experience a longer period of heightened activity. Understanding your individual dog’s patterns can assist you in managing their behavior effectively when they enter the witching hour phase.

Why Witching Hour Happens


Overstimulation, like too much play or exposure to new places, can trigger the witching hour in dogs. They might get overwhelmed by all the sights, sounds, and smells around them. This overload of sensory information can make them feel extra energetic and restless. To prevent overstimulation, it’s essential to create a calm and quiet environment for your furry friend.

Dogs are creatures of habit; they thrive on routine. Any disruptions in their daily schedule can lead to the dreaded witching hour. Changes in feeding times, exercise routines, or even sleep patterns can throw them off balance and increase their restlessness. By establishing a consistent routine for your dog that includes regular mealtimes, walks, and bedtime rituals, you can help minimize the chances of them entering this hyperactive phase.

Need for Routine

Frustration during the witching hour may manifest as biting behavior in dogs. When pent-up energy or unmet desires build up inside them during this time, they may resort to biting as an outlet for their frustration. Redirecting their attention towards appropriate activities and providing outlets for physical activity can significantly reduce instances of biting during this period.

Biting as Frustration

During their witching hour moments when they’re full of energy but unable to release it properly due to various reasons like lack of exercise or mental stimulation – dogs might turn to biting out of sheer frustration. To curb these behaviors effectively at such times when emotions run high within our canine companions – redirecting their focus towards engaging toys or interactive games could prove invaluable.

Factors Contributing to Witching Hour

Physical Needs

Dogs have a witching hour when their physical needs are not met. Regular exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction are crucial for balanced behavior. If these needs aren’t fulfilled, dogs may exhibit erratic behavior during the witching hour. For example, if a dog hasn’t had enough playtime or walks during the day, they might become hyperactive and restless in the evening.

To alleviate the witching hour, it is essential to ensure that your dog’s physical requirements are adequately addressed. This could involve taking them for longer walks, engaging in interactive play sessions, or providing them with stimulating toys. By meeting their physical needs consistently throughout the day, you can help reduce the intensity of their witching hour behaviors.

Mental Stimulation

Another reason why dogs experience a witching hour is due to a lack of mental stimulation. Dogs thrive on challenges and enrichment activities that keep their minds engaged and prevent boredom. When dogs don’t receive enough mental stimulation, they may resort to disruptive behaviors during their witching hour period. To combat this issue, incorporating puzzle toys, training sessions, or interactive games into your dog’s routine can help tire out their brains and curb unwanted behaviors.

Managing Witching Hour

Calming Environment

Creating a calming environment is essential to help dogs relax during their witching hour. Providing a quiet space with soothing music or aromatherapy can significantly reduce anxiety and restlessness in dogs. Minimizing external stimuli, such as loud noises or excessive activity, contributes to creating a peaceful atmosphere that helps calm your furry friend down.

To manage the witching hour effectively, consider setting up a cozy corner for your dog with their favorite blanket and toys. Playing classical music or using lavender-scented diffusers can create a serene ambiance that promotes relaxation. By eliminating distractions and maintaining a tranquil setting, you can help your dog unwind during this challenging time.

Schedule Changes

Changes in daily schedules or routines can trigger the witching hour in dogs, causing them to become more excitable and restless than usual. Dogs thrive on predictability, so sudden alterations to their routine can disrupt their sense of security and stability. To minimize the impact of schedule changes on the witching hour, it’s crucial to introduce modifications gradually.

When making adjustments to your dog’s schedule, try to maintain consistency in feeding times, play sessions, walks, and bedtime rituals. By slowly transitioning into new routines and providing clear cues for different activities throughout the day, you can help alleviate stress and prevent heightened excitement during the witching hour period.

Training Techniques

Handling Biting

Dealing with biting during the witching hour requires staying calm and avoiding punishment. Redirect your dog’s focus to chew toys or use positive reinforcement training. In severe cases, seek help from a professional trainer or behaviorist for guidance.

  • Remain calm when handling biting behavior
  • Redirect attention to appropriate chew toys
  • Seek guidance from a professional if needed

Behavior Modification

Implementing behavior modification techniques can effectively manage the witching hour in dogs. Use positive reinforcement methods to teach alternative behaviors and redirect excess energy. Consistency, patience, and rewarding desired behaviors play crucial roles in behavior modification.

Physical and Mental Activities

Stimulation Ideas

During the witching hour, engaging dogs in various activities is crucial to keep them mentally stimulated. Interactive toys, treat puzzles, or scent games are excellent options to exhaust dogs mentally and curb restlessness. For instance, hiding treats around the house can provide mental stimulation as dogs use their sense of smell to find them.

Experimenting with different activities is vital to discover what works best for your dog during this time. Each dog has unique preferences. Trying out a mix of activities can help identify the most effective ones for your furry friend. Some dogs might enjoy interactive toys that dispense treats, while others might prefer playing fetch or tug-of-war.

  • Interactive toys
  • Treat puzzles
  • Scent games

Playtime Importance

Regular playtime serves as an essential outlet for dogs’ pent-up energy and helps prevent the onset of the witching hour. Engaging in interactive play sessions not only expends physical energy but also strengthens the bond between you and your canine companion. For example, playing a game of hide-and-seek with your dog can be both physically stimulating and emotionally rewarding.

Incorporating a mix of physical and mental stimulation during playtime can be highly beneficial for dogs, especially leading up to their witching hour period. Combining activities that require both physical exertion (such as running or jumping) with mental challenges (like solving treat puzzles) ensures that all aspects of your dog’s energy are addressed effectively.

  1. Regular playtime prevents restlessness.
  2. Interactive play sessions strengthen bonds.
  3. Mixing physical and mental activities is beneficial.

Creating Calmness

Calming Techniques

During the witching hour, employing calming techniques can help alleviate your dog’s restlessness. Gentle massages, deep pressure therapy, and anxiety wraps are effective ways to promote relaxation in dogs. By understanding your dog’s preferences and experimenting with various methods, you can identify what works best for calming them down.

For example, if your dog enjoys gentle massages, incorporating this into their routine during the witching hour can significantly reduce their stress levels. Deep pressure therapy using a weighted blanket or applying slight pressure on certain points of their body may have a calming effect.

Environment Setup

Setting up an environment that promotes relaxation is crucial in managing the effects of the witching hour on your furry friend. Providing a cozy bed or crate where they feel safe and secure is essential. Dimming lights and minimizing external noise can create a soothing atmosphere conducive to calmness.

Ensuring that your dog has access to water throughout the day is important for their well-being during stressful periods like the witching hour. Designating a quiet space where they can retreat when feeling overwhelmed allows them to unwind and recharge effectively.

Professional Help

When to Seek

If your efforts to manage the witching hour in your dog are not yielding results, it might be time to seek professional help. A certified dog trainer or animal behaviorist can evaluate the situation and provide tailored strategies to tackle the issue effectively. Early intervention through professional guidance can prevent the escalation of behavioral problems.

When considering seeking professional help, it’s crucial to choose a qualified individual with relevant experience. Look for certifications from reputable organizations specializing in dog training or behavior modification. Reading reviews or seeking recommendations from trustworthy sources can assist you in selecting a reliable professional who can address your dog’s witching hour behavior effectively.

Choosing a Professional

Selecting an experienced and knowledgeable professional is essential when dealing with persistent issues like the witching hour in dogs. Assess their qualifications, ensuring they have expertise in canine behavior management. Seek out professionals affiliated with respected organizations within the field of dog training and behavior modification for optimal results.

Reading testimonials and reviews from previous clients can offer insights into a potential professional’s approach and success rate in addressing similar issues. Recommendations from friends, family members, or veterinarians who have had positive experiences with a particular expert could also guide you towards making an informed decision on whom to consult for assistance.


You’ve learned why your furry friend goes bonkers during the witching hour, what triggers this behavior, and how to handle it like a pro. By understanding their instincts and needs, you can create a harmonious environment for both you and your pet. Remember, patience is key when dealing with your dog’s energetic outbursts. Utilize training techniques, engage them in physical and mental activities, and establish a sense of calmness to navigate through the witching hour successfully. If things get overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek professional help for guidance tailored to your pup’s specific needs. Embrace the chaos of the witching hour as an opportunity to bond with your dog and strengthen your relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is understanding the concept of Witching Hour important for dog owners?

Understanding Witching Hour helps dog owners anticipate and manage their pet’s behavior effectively. It provides insights into why dogs exhibit certain behaviors during this time, allowing owners to respond appropriately and create a harmonious environment for both themselves and their furry companions.

What are some common factors contributing to Witching Hour in dogs?

Factors such as pent-up energy, boredom, lack of mental stimulation, or changes in routine can contribute to the onset of Witching Hour in dogs. Identifying these triggers can help dog owners address the root cause and implement strategies to alleviate the behavior.

How can dog owners effectively manage their dog’s Witching Hour?

Dog owners can manage their dog’s Witching Hour by engaging in training techniques that promote positive behaviors, providing physical and mental activities to stimulate their pet’s mind, creating a calm environment at home, and seeking professional help if needed. Consistency and patience are key in managing this challenging period.

Positive reinforcement training techniques, such as reward-based training methods, interactive games, obedience training exercises, and mental stimulation activities can be effective in redirecting your dog’s energy during the Witching Hour. These techniques not only engage your dog but also strengthen your bond with them.

When should a dog owner consider seeking professional help for managing their pet’s Witching Hour?

If despite consistent efforts your dog continues to exhibit extreme behaviors during the Witching Hour that pose a risk to themselves or others, it may be time to seek professional help. A certified animal behaviorist or trainer can provide tailored guidance and support based on your specific situation.