How to Truly Tire Out Your Dog (Mentally + Physically)
7 ways to help your high energy dog or puppy immediately both mentally + physically
How do you actually exercise your dog in a way that lasts?
We’re passionate about helping fellow high drive and high energy dog parents. Personally, I have a 3 year old working Border Collie and have had an active Australian Shepherd. After 15 years of training dogs, having competed in dog agility on a national level and successfully completed many therapy visits to local libraries with naturally high drive dogs, there is one key thing I have learned:
Having a calm dog in your home and in dog-friendly places in your town can be developed with strategic activities that tucker them out both physically and mentally.
Let’s capture calmness. Here’s a little list to help get you started:
#1 Sniffing on Walks
The science gets technical quickly, but in short: sniffing is both soothing and decompressing to dogs. Just like a long day of back to back meetings at work, the concentration of your dog sniffing out kibbles or treats scattered in the grass can both exhaust and decompress them at the same time. Double win.
So, bring treats on walks and scatter them in grass. Allow your dog to sniff and say “find it!” to cue searching out the treats or food you scattered.
#2 Ditch the Bowl
Challenge yourself to use the food you feed in a more enriching way than dropping in a bowl. Try giving 1 meal a day in a way other than a dog bowl. Throw some kibbles in your treat pouch and bring on your next walk. Or hide kibbles around the house or back yard for a fun game of search for your dog.
#3 Give Chew Toys
Provide an outlet for your dog to chew appropriate things by stuffing chewable toys. An easy way is to soak kibbles in water, stuff a Kong or hallow bone, and freeze for them to enjoy.
#4 Practice Tricks + Teach New Ones
Grab that treat bag and sprinkle in tricks your dog already knows during walks and around the house. 5 minutes goes a long way with dogs, especially when the time is spent mentally challenging your dog. Teach new ones and throw treats in the grass afterward to combine mental exercise with decompressing sniffing.
#5 Brain Games
Hide treats in objects, around the yard, or the house like a puzzle game for your dog. Something as simple as a box filled with paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, and kibbles or treats can be quite enriching for your dog to search and sniff around as an interactive toy.
#6 Change it Up!
New sights, smells, and activities as frequently as possible is key to a well-rounded and behaviorally well life for your dog. Head to a new local park, scatter treats in a spot you never have before for your dog, or just let them play around with a new object like a box or platform and ask for an easy trick and give treats. Just like us, dogs are social animals who benefit from positive experiences and getting out to stretch their legs and use their minds as often as possible.
It’s as simple as that. Simply enjoy your dog, play chase, hide and seek, or try out a new activity or sport with your dog. Listen to your adventurous side and enjoy exploring somewhere or something new with your dog. Keep it positive and enjoy the most out of life with your dog.
About the Author
STACIE BOWERS, CPDT-KA https://www.curiouscanines.com/
Stacie Bowers, CPDT-KA, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed, an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen® Program Evaluator, and Pet First Aid and CPR Certified.
Stacie holds a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Purdue University. She brings over 16 years of hands-on experience working with and training dogs, spanning both professional and volunteer organizations. In addition, Stacie works as a trainer for Cognitive Dogs, leading behavior consultations and private training sessions in Southern California.