Frenetic Random Activity Periods, known as FRAPs for short, is a term that a lot of owners are not aware of. However, you may know the term zoomies!
Zoomies and FRAPs are the same things. They are short bursts of energy that leads to a hyper moment. You’ve probably seen your dog suddenly start sprinting around your house and playing with everything. But where has this come from? Knowing about this helps to explain the normal behavior, but can also explain how they are coping with possible anxiety or nervousness.
We are going to dive into the whys and hows concerning dog zoomies. We will also take a look at the science behind FRAPs and what causes this to occur. Could dog zoomies ever be a bad thing and how can I redirect the energy are two of the many questions we will be answering below. Take a look!
What Are Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs)?
FRAPs are periods when your dog or cat suddenly feels a burst of energy. Usually, this can be seen as them suddenly getting up and running to one side of the room and then the other. It can also be seeing your dog running in circles. Frenetic Random Activity Periods, also known as zoomies or scumbling, can take place at any point in the day. It is common though for a dog to experience them late in the evening or even in the middle of the night, hence why they may also be called midnight crazies. If you’ve never had a dog before then this sudden energy burst could be a worry. However, we can confirm that they are a part of normal dog behavior.
Zoomies are particularly common in young dogs although elderly dogs can even get the odd episode of FRAPs. However, although they are a normal part of a dog’s behavior, they can also be a sign that your dog is feeling anxious or nervous. A sudden bout of anxiety could lead to an energy boost from an adrenaline rush, therefore resulting in zoomies. This is why it is important to note the cause of your dog’s zoomies, when they are taking place, and the frequency. As they may be a sign of anxiety manifesting itself into energy bursts.
When and Why Do They Happen?
Behaviorists and scientists are still working on understanding FRAPs and why they occur. However, a lot of the causes and behavior behind it is still unexplained. We will go through the causes and any facts about zoomies that have been discovered so far to help explain this interesting dog phenomenon.
Although the current understanding is that zoomies exist as a form of energy release, there is no definitive explanation for why they occur. Signs influence that they have mostly a positive cause but there is research to suggest that a lack of proper exercise and anxiety can also lead to the zoomies. In order to try to diagnose the cause of your dog’s zoomies, you need to notice when they are happening. If the frequency is often then it may be the case that your dog is hyperactive and has some energy they need to work off. In this case, your pup may need longer walks and more exercise.
Zoomies can also originate due to excitement. When you initiate a session of play with your dog they will immediately get excited usually! They will accompany this with an adrenaline release from the adrenal gland and suddenly feel the urge to run. Hence why your dog is suddenly zooming around the room, as a show of excitement! It is also very common for younger dogs to have zoomies more. This is guessed to be because of higher energy levels and an increased want to play. This is the opposite of elderly dogs who very rarely get FRAPs with their reduced energy levels and older bodies. A dog with hip problems isn’t going to want to run at top speeds like a one year old dog will. Adult dogs in their prime will vary on the amount they have FRAPs, often it depends on their personality and breed type.
There are some suspected triggers that can initiate the zoomies, but generally it is believed that their occurrences are random. Hence the name Frenetic Random Activity Periods. They can occur just after sleep, in the middle of a walk, or even just before bed. There is no direct time or environment that your dog will display this behavior in, it could happen at any time! However, there are some triggers that have been discovered by behaviorists and other dog experts.
Firstly, many dogs will get FRAPs when they get adrenaline rushes. This means at times of excitement or anxiety, hence why we cannot state that zoomies are positive or negative. Two common triggers include walks and bath time. When you go to take your dog for a walk, we all know that they know. From the time of the day, to our outfits, to the obvious point where we pick up their leash. They suddenly get this huge bout of excitement, and this often comes with an adrenaline release. Which leads to them bolting around the house while we are trying to get them ready to go out!
On the other hand, there is anxiety. In the case of giving your dog a bath, once again, they twig on quite quickly to what is happening. They see you taking their towel in, getting the bath ready, and then calling for them. Many dogs hate bath time and even hold some level of fear towards the activity. Once they realize what is coming, they get an adrenaline burst. This exists to help them escape or run from a dangerous situation that causes anxiety. However in this case, the anxiety exists due to this fear of bath time.
The Dos and Don’ts of Handling Zoomies
Zoomies are a part of normal dog behavior, so don’t worry if they occur. However, there are some dos and don’ts concerning FRAPs and when they are taking place. These are important to know as certain reactions can lead to destruction, fear, and upset in your dog.
Here are some points you should make sure to do with and for your dog before zoomies occur:
- Redirect your dog to a safer space – Zoomies can happen anywhere, at any time. Although they can be fun to watch and fun for your dog to participate in, that doesn’t mean they don’t also have their concerns. Your dog could destroy furniture, run into children, and even run into something dangerous. This is why we recommend redirecting their energy to a safer location, such as outside in your back yard. In order to do so you can throw a treat or a toy into that direction and then gently close the door to the remaining rooms.
- Anticipate – If you can identify your dog’s triggers, that is to say what is most likely to induce FRAPs in your dogs, then you can predict when they may start running around your house. For example, if you know your dog gets excited before a walk, try to ensure you allow it to happen in a safe area and put their lead on in the back yard for instance. If they get zoomies before a bath, get them to see you carrying a soap or towel in a safe space.
- Let them be – Frenetic Random Activity Periods are completely normal. A lot of the time, your dog is thoroughly enjoying themselves whilst charging around your house. Therefore, try not to interrupt them while they are doing so. Simply let them have their fun and interact after and if you are initiated to play. If you try to interfere they could run into you and send you flying, especially if they are a large dog.
There are also some points that you should make sure not to do. Here are what we recommend avoiding during dog zoomies:
- Don’t play chase – Although there are exceptions, we would often recommend for you to avoid chasing or playing with your dog during FRAPs. This is for a few different reasons. Firstly, if your dog has zoomies due to anxiety, chasing them is only going to make them more nervous. In turn, this can increase the likelihood of your dog becoming afraid and even becoming aggressive. They may turn around and snap at you as a warning, but that is enough to scare you. Similarly, if they get too excited and they chase you, that excitement can turn into aggression. It is best to allow them to feel how they need to without interruption.
- Don’t scold them – With negative behavior, we recommend against scolding and always advise correction and positive reinforcement. In a case like this, there is no reason nor point in scolding your dog. Firstly, they are either expressing joy, high amounts of energy, or anxiety. Those traits do not punishment but help if required. By punishing your dog you are in fact adding to that adrenaline, and can lead to more frequent or longer-lasting FRAPs sessions. Furthermore, it can make them trust you less and feel less safe in your home. Use our ‘dos’ tips to find out what positive changes you can use to help you and your dog without negative repercussions.
Frenetic Random Activity Periods – FAQs
We have searched the internet for the five most asked questions about zoomies. Want more answers? Don’t worry, we have you covered.
Although it is not impossible, we recommend prevention and redirection instead. Identify your dog’s triggers so you can figure out when they are most likely to start sprinting and try to ensure they are in a safe space to do so. If they have randomly started a FRAP then try to redirect that energy into a different room. Use a treat or a toy to entice your dog outside or into an area with fewer people or fragile ornaments.
There is no definitive evidence to support that zoomies are contagious. However, many owners swear that once one of their dogs has it, another will soon follow suit. Our estimate is that once one dog has zoomies, another that is around may become excited or nervous around this behavior. This will lead to an adrenaline rush and therefore, they may get involved in the zoomies as well.
Zoomies are absolutely harmless. Your only concern pertaining to their health should be if the area around them is safe. If you have a large dog that runs into furniture, then they could receive an injury during a FRAP. If you know your dog’s triggers, ensure they are in a room that is safe before having to act in a trigger, such as running a bath. Or, if an episode has just arisen try to redirect that energy into a safe space with the encouragement of a treat or a toy.
On average, zoomies will last a few minutes, around one to five most commonly. At a large push FRAPs can last ten minutes, but any longer and you should evaluate your dog and their environment. This behavior could indicate that they are distressed by a change in their environment. Perhaps a stranger, new noise, or even smell has induced this.
Usually, even for very active breeds, zoomies should only occur once a day. If you find your dog zooming about multiple times a day, then you should start providing more exercise to your dog. This is most likely a sign that they are hyperactive and need more playtime, more walks, or one very long walk.
Zoomies are ultimately nothing to be worried about. It is a normal behavior that can occur regularly in younger dogs or in active breeds. Things become a concern when your dog has FRAPs multiple times a day, if they originate for longer periods of time, or if they happen in unsafe areas. Be sure to get your dog in a safe area before acting on a trigger. Such as grabbing a lead, to ensure they are safe. Or try to redirect the energy if your dog has randomly engaged in a case of the zoomies.
Allow your dog to get it all out of their system without interruption and they should be done in a few minutes. If they are expressing this due to happiness or excitement, then feel free to watch and smile at the behavior. If they do this because of anxiety, you may want to gradually get them used to their triggers and fear with small interactions. This is so they can feel calmer about certain objects or situations.