Sometimes, you just don’t have time. I’ve been there a lot! As dog owners our dogs always come first, but sometimes we need to take care of other business and our dogs are left to their own devices. This usually means a HYPER HYPER Dog!
So what do you do? Here are some ways to tire out your dog quick and easy, without having to go out for your 1 hour hike, or two hour walk.
Some of these are also great ideas for when your dog is recovering from surgery or sporting the dreaded ‘cone of shame’ and you need other ideas to occupy them while they need to be stuck indoors! See if it is ‘cone of shame’ approved.
1. Puzzle Toys
The best way to tire out a dog, without having to take your dog out, is to stimulate their brain. Dogs are very smart! Despite how goofy they can be. There are loads of different puzzle toys out there! But what exactly is a puzzle toy? They usually consist of food and requires your mutt to do some sort of action with it – either push it a certain way for the food to roll out, or opening a little compartment with their nose. There are a hundreds out there and also many homemade variants! So fill up your dog’s puzzle toy with some tasty food and relax.
Bonus tip: Feed your dog his food out of a puzzle toy instead! Or use a fun slow feeder. It not only helps dogs that devour their food, but gives them a bit of a challenge and helps prevent bloat or vomiting from eating too fast. Second bonus tip: If you do choose to use food filled puzzle toys, make sure you cut back on your dog’s regular meals or else they might get a bit tubby!
Cone of shame approved!
Kongs sort of fall under puzzle toys except you can do SO much more with them. One of the common things is to freeze food in it – such as dog food or kibble with water. It makes a fun slow treat that can keep a dog occupied for hours. It is also a fun idea to spread something like peanut butter inside the Kong – some companies even have gone so far to make a dog version of “cheese whiz” in a spray can to fill Kongs. Just make sure you don’t leave any nasty old peanut butter inside!
Cone of Shame approved.
3. Obedience Training
It’s amazing how much some simple obedience training can tire out a dog. It really gets them to think on how to respond to your different voice commands or hand gestures. It’s a great opportunity to brush up on your training, and it’s always fun to do “quick fire” commands to get your dog’s heart really pumping. It’s also great to work on new tricks – talk about a mind work out!
Cone of shame approved.
4. Playing Fetch Down Stairs
If you have a fairly fit dog, stairs that aren’t too slippery and a dog that doesn’t have any joint issues, then this is a great game! Simply toss the ball up or down the stairs and watch your dog go. The stairs add an extra challenge to this already fun game. For anyone that has run stadium stairs, you know how much of a workout stairs can be! So once again make sure the stairs are properly carpeted for proper traction and that this game isn’t recommended for senior dogs or dogs with joint disease.
If you have access to water, and a dog that loves water, you are golden. Bonus if your dog loves fetch too! Swimming is great exercise, a lot of fun, and is a very quick way to tire our your pup. Some dogs can swim for hours without realizing how exhausted they are until they pause on solid ground. If the waters are rough or your dog isn’t a confident swimmer, be sure to equip them with a flotation device, like a doggie life jacket.
6. Doggy Push Ups
This is my personal favorite. Not only does it make my dog work muscles he doesn’t work often, but it also gets him to focus his energy and attention. Basically a “doggy push up” is sit and down repeats over and over and over again. Be sure to take a little cookie break or else your dog might quickly lose interest.
7. Hide and Seek
Just like the childhood game, hide and seek with your dog is just a simple. Either have your dog stay while you go hide, or enlist a friend to hold on to your dog and release when you’re ready. When hidden, call your dog and see if they can find you. It’s also a great way to practice your stays and comes.
Cone of shame approved… if your dog doesn’t freak out and run at you like a mad bull when you call your dogs name.
8. Hide and Treat
Instead of hiding yourself, why not hide treats around the house? Lock your dog into another room if you can’t trust them not to peek, and release when ready. Tell them to “go find!” and maybe they can use their nose to sniff our some surprise goodies. Just be sure you remember where you hid everything!
Cone of shame approved if treats hidden are in easily accessible places that do not require the dog to jump up on furniture.
9. Obedience Walk
An obedience walk is what I consider a walk where you are working on your dogs attention on you. I find when I take my dog on a walk, he does pay attention to me slightly, but it isn’t rare for me to turn quickly and completely take him off guard. Honestly, just walking around in a large parking lot for 15 minutes helps a lot with his focus and he gets more tired when he walks and learns rather than just walks and wanders. Some ideas could be walking out your name to work on handler focus. Working on heel. Using a long leash to work on sit, stay, and come, etc.
Cone of shame approved if light exercise is okay.
10. Urban or Apartment Agility
For someone who lives in the city (like me) it isn’t easy to set up a big agility course for my dog to burn off steam on. So we do other things around the house or city, similar to Rally-O that is a mix of obedience and agility. For example, getting my dog to jump up on a picnic table and doing a down stay (when the table isn’t in use of course), or getting my dog to walk along a concrete medium in the sidewalk. Once again it burns off energy while causing your dog to really focus and use his brain.