As dog parents, we all know the struggle. You come home from your 9-5 exhausted and thinking about what you will have for dinner. As soon as you get home, your best companion runs to greet you at the door. If your dog(s) are anything like mine, they are wound up the minute they see you. Even though you are completely exhausted, they are far from it. Whether you are new pet parent or just looking for how to tire out your dog, you have come to the right place.
This post will discuss 7 different ways to tire out your dog and help release some energy.
This is a topic near and dear to my heart because there have been times where it has been a struggle to meet my super-active dogs’ needs. My husband had grown up with an Australian Shepherd so he was well aware of their high energy levels and need “to have a job.” They are not a great match for anyone that does not live an active lifestyle. I know there are many dog breeds that are similar and leave you wondering…how do I tire out this dog?!
Why it Matters
There is an old saying that “a tired dog is a happy dog.” Just like humans, dogs need physical and mental stimulation to live a well-rounded life. The only times my aussies become destructive is when they are bored and have too much energy they can’t burn off. Boredom can lead to dogs chewing, destroying, and causing trouble.
Let’s Burn off Some Energy
Walks and Hikes
This is probably the most obvious of ways to tire out your dog but it has to be mentioned. A 15-30 minute walk around your neighborhood is a great way for your dog to get some exercise. Dogs in good health can be walked daily. We try to take our dogs on a 30 minute walk daily and it is their favorite part of the day. If you love to hike, this is another great activity to do with your dog. Just be sure to check your local parks and trails to make sure they are dog-friendly.
Teaching commands is a great way to tire out your dog because it involves physical and mental stimulation. It can also help to reduce behavior problems your dog might have. The basic commands are heel, sit, stay, down, leave it, etc. There are many great resources online to read and watch that walk you through how to teach these commands to your pup. You can also sign up for a class with a professional dog trainer to learn some of these commands.
Fetch is my dog, Lacy’s all-time favorite activity. She has loved the game since she was a puppy. I can also attest that Fetch is great way for your dog to burn off some energy. Fetch can help to improve your dog’s mood and behavior. It is also a great way to give your dog “a job” to do and focus their attention. Another benefit to Fetch is it can be played indoors as well as outdoors. Our favorite toy to use to play Fetch is KONG’s ring dog chew toy. It is durable and easy to catch.
Puzzle games and toys allow your dog to use mental energy and concentration. The Muffin Tin Game is a great enrichment activity for your pup. All you need is a muffin tray, tennis balls, and your dog’s favorite treats. Place the treats into each section of the muffin tin and cover with a tennis ball. Place on the floor and allow your dog to sniff around. Their goal is to get to the treat by removing each tennis ball.
There are also great puzzle-like toys on the market. My dog’s favorite is StarMark’s Bob-A-Lot Wobble toy. You place treats inside the toy and as the name suggests, it wobbles around as your dog tries to retrieve the treats inside.
Allow your Dog Time to “Sniff”
This tip might sound a little strange at first, but hear me out. Dogs actually have 50x more Olfactory Receptors in their nose than humans. Dogs use their sense of smell to familiarize themselves with the world around them. They enjoy detecting new smells and scents. Allowing your dog to sniff around for awhile on walks, hikes, or even in the backyard has many benefits. Sniffing can help your dog to reduce anxiety/stress, provide mental stimulation, burn off energy, and provide an outlet for exploration. So, next time you are on a walk and your dog is taking a minute too long sniffing in the grass, just let them.
Hide and Seek
We all know hide and seek from our childhood. But, have you ever thought to play the game with your dog? This one might have some training involved to get your pup familiar with the objective of the game. It’s also a great way to tire out your dog if it is raining/super cold outside. If it is your dog’s first time playing, allow your dog to see where you are hiding. Next, command your dog to find you. Make sure to have small treats with you and reward them for successfully finding you. Now, make it a little harder. This time don’t let your dog see where you are hiding.
Note- You will most likely need two people to play this game. One person will hide and the other will need to hold your pup so he/she doesn’t follow you around while you’re trying to hide.
Dog Flirt Pole
The name is strange but a flirt pole is a quick way to tire out your dog if you don’t have much free time in your day. Imagine a giant cat toy with string and a plushie/tassel at the end and that is basically a flirt pole. You can buy dog flirt poles online (under 30 dollars) or DIY one at home if that’s your thing. It is best if your dog knows a few commands such as sit or stay before you start playing with a flirt pole. There are many videos online that show how these poles are used.
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