It is normal for dogs to get excited when visitors come to the house or when going on an outing. Most dogs will settle down quickly. Dogs considered too excitable are generally difficult to control when they are faced with anything that makes them happy. The behaviour displayed may be chasing after moving objects (such as toys), not coming when called, jumping up, excessive barking, pulling strongly on the lead etc. Dogs with excitable temperament are more likely to have this problem than others.
Excitable dogs may bark, run towards objects or people of interest, spin in circles, jump up, mouth, whine, paw you, pee when excited, get bored easily when not kept busy, want to play all the time (brings you the ball again and again even after a walk and play) etc.
It is important to provide excitable dogs with lots of walks, runs and free play. This will make controlling "inappropriate excitability" easier.
Gradual exposure to excitable situations. Giving your dog the opportunity to become comfortable with the situations he finds exciting is one way to change his response. You may think that it is easier and better to leave an excitable dog at home because he is difficult to manage but the excitable dogs should be taken on many outings to decrease the novelty and excitement they feel when encountering new and exciting places and people.
Obedience training is most important for the excitable dog. The best method for obedience training with excitable dogs is clicker training. At minimum, your dog should know the following commands: sit, down, wait, relax, off, come.
Excitable dogs tend to get bored easily. Keep them busy with "smart toys" such as the "Buster Cube", a frozen Kong that has been stuffed with wet food and dry food, or hide treats around the house and encourage him to search for them. Teach your dog tricks with the clicker (mentioned above) or change your routine by taking different routes to the same place. These are great ways to provide mental stimulation.
Changing your dog's response
Your dog has likely been rewarded for excitable behaviour. Most people will touch, pat or give treats to distract their dogs. Your dog must now learn that excitable behaviour results in being ignored while calm behaviour results in a reward.
Excessive excitability can be a sign of disease. Dogs that do not respond to gradual exposure, positive reinforcement training techniques and are getting adequate exercise may suffer from Hyper or Hypo thyroidism. Please consult your veterinarian.
Dos and Don'ts of dog training
Coping strategies like petting the dog or distracting him with a treat or attention may help to control the dog's activity or overexcited behaviour at the time, but this also reinforces the problem and is not advised.
Never shout at or hit a dog that is overexcited. This will make them more excitable because on top of their normal excitement they will get into a state of panic, not knowing why they have been hit or shouted at.
Reward calm behaviour whenever possible. Even excitable dogs are sometimes relaxed. This may be after a long walk or during a long car ride. Give your dog a gentle pat and say, "Good relax."