The zoomies are something that need no definition if you have a Boxer in your life.
Every Boxer owner is familiar with the sudden rush of energy and pure joie de vivre that prompts the mad dashing about known as “the zoomies”.
These spontaneous outbursts actually have a formal name: they are a kind of Frenetic Random Activity Period (FRAP).
As far as classic Boxer behaviors go, the zoomies are up there with “kidney beaning” (the wag of the tail that becomes a wiggle of the whole body), the quizzical Boxer head tilt, resting the chin on anything the right height, and sleeping on the back with the legs in the air.
Do other breeds have these moves?
Do they execute them with the aplomb of a Boxer?
We think not.
What Are The Zoomies?
The zoomies are one of the most distinguishing behaviors in the Boxer dog repertoire.
Performed at speed, usually in circles or zig zags, with lots of sudden changes of direction, they involve running around with total abandon, seemingly out of control and for the sheer fun of it.
The stance is important too. The rump will be tucked and the back curved in a comic posture.
As a variation, a Boxer may spin in circles to the point of dizziness.
The wild motion will be interspersed with abrupt stops where the Boxer skids to a halt.
You may see your Boxer crouch flat to the ground, front legs splayed, before whirling around and taking off again.
The zoomies don’t involve chasing an object or another dog.
Nope, this game is entirely internally powered. Turbo powered.
Bouncing atoms and pinballs come to mind. Bats out of hell.
What Causes The Zoomies?
Frenetic Random Activity Periods are caused by an accumulation of pent-up energy, released all at once.
The excess energy can be either:
- Physical energy e.g. after a prolonged period in a crate
- Nervous energy e.g. after tolerating a stressful/uncomfortable situation like a vet visit or a bath
Common times for the zoomies to strike a Boxer include:
- First snowfall of the season
- When arriving at the beach
- When his paws hit an unfamiliar surface that delights him e.g. AstroTurf, carpet, grass, gravel
- First thing in the morning
- After a day cooped up
- After going potty
- Obedience class while doing off leash recalls
- After a bath
The zoomies are normally short lived, serving the purpose of stress relief — your Boxer is blowing off steam, in the most entertaining way!
Of course, there’s always a fair chance a Boxer may also be playing for laughs.
What The Zoomies May Mean If Your Boxer Gets Them A Lot
Short occasional bursts of energy are 100 per cent normal.
It’s probably just time for a walk or a play outside.
However, if the zoomies occur overly often, they can be a sign your dog is not getting enough opportunities to release his energy before it builds up so much it blows.
Zoomies are not a problematic reaction like, say, destructive chewing, but can be on the same continuum of behaviors that arise when a Boxer is understimulated, bored or spending too much time in confined spaces like a crate or small apartment.
Take it as a sign your Boxer could use some more constructive outlets for his energy.
You may want to provide more:
- Exercise including the chance to run free and to release the natural prey drive by chasing after balls/frisbees
- Playtime (Not just sedate walks on a leash)
- Mental stimulation (Teach tricks, practice obedience and do canine enrichment activities like puzzles etc)
- Raw meaty bones (Great natural stress relief and very soothing to a carnivore)
- Interaction and attention in general
Zoomies are distinct from other repetitive behaviors that can indicate serious psychological disturbance, such as:
- Tail chasing
- Chasing shadows
- Any other behavior that becomes compulsive or obsessive
These behaviors ought to be interrupted, attention redirected and the cause addressed to prevent recurrence.
How To Cope With The Zoomies In A Boxer Puppy
Knowing zoomies are a guaranteed part of life with a Boxer allows you to factor them in to how you manage your pup.
Space To Run
The main issue created by zoomies is the need for space to safely run around without your Boxer injuring himself.
If you have a backyard, zoomies will generally take the form of laps around the perimeter.
If you live in a studio apartment, you Boxer will make do with what’s available.
Which means he’ll probably turn your living room into a high-speed obstacle course, making hair-raising turns at the last minute with surprising precision, narrowly missing all kinds of protuberances — legs, power cords, wine glasses.
If you have hard, slippery floors — which many of us do — this can lead to slipping and sliding that may look pretty funny but which runs the risk of injury at the time, and damage to the joints later, once your Boxer reaches middle age.
If you have tiles, floorboards or other gripless surfaces, consider rugs or curtail your boxer’s running indoors.
Too much time on non cushioned surfaces without much grip — especially running and jumping on these surfaces — can make Boxer puppies prone to a developmental abnormality known as knuckling where the front legs bend disfiguringly.
Make sure your new Boxer puppy spends as much time as possible on natural, soft surfaces like grass and dirt.
Consider laying down carpet, rugs or mats where he spends most time indoors.
It’s also important to know your dog well enough that you can predict the kinds of situations that will spark the zoomies.
Don’t be caught unawares.
You don’t want, for instance, your Boxer hitting a patch of grass beside a road and shooting off, yanking the leash out of your hand and dashing into the path of oncoming traffic.
Do Boxers Grow Out Of The Zoomies?
The zoomies typically occur at least once a day during puppyhood, often at a predictable time — early evening is popular.
They decrease in frequency as a Boxer matures, but you will still see them whenever your wigglebutt is super energized, throughout the lifespan.
Most owners love them!
The zoomies are a joyful expression of Boxer dog exuberance.
But they are also a result of pent-up energy or contained frustration.
So, if your Boxer is engaging in them a lot, it can be a sign he needs more physical and mental activity.
Even on rainy days, when you’re stuck inside with your Boxer, you can keep him happily occupied with a raw meaty bone on a waterproof mat or towel, or by teaching him tricks.