Tiring out a puppy is a daunting task. Raring to go from dawn till dusk, it can be a real challenge finding productive ways to help your puppy expend his energy. This project can be even more difficult to achieve when the weather is uncooperative, you have an injury, or you are limited by space. Here are our top tips for tiring out a puppy, no matter what situation you may find yourself in.
- Join a puppy socialization class
Puppy socialization classes are an excellent way to help your puppy burn off some energy, but they also come with an added bonus. At classes of this nature, you have the opportunity to teach your puppy how to interact with other puppies and their owners in a way that is socially appropriate. Puppy socialization classes are typically held inside a hall, providing protection for puppies that have not completed their entire puppy series of vaccinations yet. Since puppies that are not fully vaccinated are not ready for activities in the outside world at large, puppy socialization class is the next best thing.
As an added bonus, your puppy will learn to play with puppies of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. This is a great way to teach your pup appropriate canine social skills and to introduce him to dogs that look different than he does and that have different play styles than his own.
Since not all puppy socialization classes are created equally, it is a good idea to seek the recommendation of a trusted friend or family member, your veterinarian, or breeder as to a group that is the best fit for your pup.
- Plan play dates with friends and family members with dogs
If you have family members or friends with dogs that are socially appropriate and fully vaccinated, why not organize a playdate? The ideal spot for a play date is the fully fenced yard of a family member or friend. A securely fenced space is important to prevent any escape attempts from curious puppies or adult dogs.
Adult dogs can be excellent role models for young puppies, teaching them appropriate canine manners and social skills that will benefit the pup as he grows. However, not all adult dogs like puppies or can be trusted around them. Since young puppies are still developing emotionally and psychologically as well as physically, it is important that your pup only be exposed to adult dogs that will model appropriate canine behavior and that will not scare or potentially harm your puppy. If you have any doubts as to the appropriateness of an adult dog, it is best to forego the play date as negative experiences during a puppy’s formative periods can leave a lifelong imprint.
- Teach your puppy to fetch
Most puppies love to play fetch, but chances are you will most often tire out before your puppy will. Thankfully, there are lots of different things you can incorporate into a game of fetch to help your pup tire more readily.
One of the best things you can do to have fun with your pup and help him burn off some energy is play fetch on a set of stairs. By throwing the ball down the stairs, your pup will have to run down each step, grab the ball, and run back up them to return the ball to you. These few extra movements make a big difference in tiring out a young, exuberant puppy far more quickly.
- Exercise the body and the brain
You don’t have to wear yourself out taking your puppy on marathon walks trying to get your pup to settle down to a more normal speed. Instead of working on tiring your pup out physically, why not give him a puzzle toy or stuffed Kong that will challenge both his brain and his jaws? Mental stimulation will also help your pup to see a reduction in hyperactivity since it requires your puppy to focus on a singular object and use his brain to solve the problem.
A fun game you can play with your pup to keep him entertained for hours is the muffin game. To play the muffin game, all you need is a standard muffin pan and a sufficient number of tennis balls for each hole in the pan. Grab a few of your puppy’s favorite smelly treats and hide them in one or two of the pan’s holes then top each hole with a tennis ball. Place it on the floor and let your puppy’s nose do the work.
- Take a hike
If you have an area that is safe for puppies or your puppy is already fully vaccinated, there is nothing like a walk in the woods to help tire a pup’s body and brain. Be very careful to choose a place that has terrain that is not overly hilly or steep as young puppies are still developing and hikes that are too challenging can cause injuries that may permanently affect a puppy’s structure. Keep walks a moderate length, erring on the side of caution.
Though you can walk a puppy in your neighborhood and on a sidewalk, choosing a novel location like a wooded path or a beach gives your puppy new things to explore not only with his feet but also with his nose. When your pup has the opportunity to engage his senses in this manner, he will become contentedly fatigued much more easily.
- Consider a doggy day care
If you are near to a doggy day care that offers careful supervision of puppies, that might be the ideal place to take your puppy for an afternoon of play time. Be sure to ask your doggy day care provider to make sure your puppy takes regular breaks from play time to rest as otherwise your pup could become very overstimulated which most often will result in bratty behavior and temper tantrums.
- Do some training
Most puppies love treats, so why not take advantage of their love of food and teach your pup some tricks? Keep training sessions short to allow your puppy to view each session as something fun. Always keep things positive and be sure to lavish your pup with lots of treats and praise for a job well done. Learning new tricks enables your pup to use both his body and his brain at the same time, an act that helps to tire out a pup in a positive way.
- Play fun games
Games are a great way to have a good time with your pup and to help him burn off some excess energy at the same time. Here is a list of some of the activities or tools you can use with your pup to have some fun and tire him out at the same time:
- Flirt pole
- Give your pup a bone
Things like raw meaty bones are an excellent idea for keeping your puppy’s brain and jaws productively engaged. Buy them frozen from your local butcher or your favorite pet store and watch your dog wile away an hour or so in complete bliss. Be very careful to only purchase bones suitable for dogs to chew to prevent any obstructions from occurring. Avoid cooked bones since cooked bones can easily splinter and cause your puppy to choke. Smoked bones found at your local pet store are okay for puppies to chew. However, no matter what type of bone you give to your puppy, you should always carefully supervise him chewing it to prevent an accident from occurring.
How do you tire out a puppy? It can be done, and you don’t necessarily have to wear yourself out during the process. Follow our top tips to help your pup expend his vast resources of energy in a positive way today!