When you have an energetic puppy that is full of endless energy, looking for ways to tire him out so that he can have adequate rest will be essential for his overall health and wellness.
This will also prevent him from creating bundles of destruction in your home or digging in your garden.
As the saying goes “A tired puppy is a good puppy” so keeping your puppy energy in check would be the best way to keep him out of trouble.
Games such as puppy push-ups, find treats, tug of war, flirt pole, playing fetch or any other form of obstacle games that require both physical and mental attention from your puppy will make him tired out easily. Avoid games that require your puppy to perform any jumping to prevent injury to his growth plates.
Before you start working on any physical exercise or games to let off the energy from your puppy, it is important that you review these exercises and ensure that they are safe for him to engage in.
You see, young puppy’s growth plates are still in the growing phase and will only be fully developed when they reach the age of 18 months.
Only when they reach adulthood, these growth plates will be harder and fused to their bones. Till then, these plates are just like soft cartilage and can be easily injured during exercise.
This is why you should review the exercises or games and make sure that there is no hard jumping or landing that could possibly put too much strain on the growth plates.
Activities that you should avoid your puppy to engage in include jumping off the stairs and furniture, running or walking for a long period of time.
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How To Tire A Puppy Out?
The exercises or games that you want your puppy to engage in should include both physical and mental simulation.
Mental games such as dog puzzles, stuffed Kong, hide-and-seek, “The Which Hand” games are some popular choices.
The goal of these games is to make your puppy use his brain power to find the solution. This will certainly make him feel exhausted at the end of the games.
You could also incorporate some basic commands as part of the mental exercises. This offers a good opportunity to retrain him and get his brain working on executing the commands.
Go For A Walk
Taking your puppy for a stroll is certainly one of the best ways for him to release his pent-up energy and get him to sleep at night. Make sure to keep the walking session “comfortable” for your puppy as you would not want to over exercise him.
Limit the walk to only 5 minutes for each month of age. So if your puppy is 2 months old, go for only 10 minutes of walk per session.
You can have up to 2 sessions per day but keep them apart. I would suggest a morning and evening walk would be ideal.
An easy game for your puppy to follow through. It works on mentally simulating your puppy to follow the instructions and physically exercise his muscles without causing any injury.
This game consisted of making your puppy do a “sit”, “down” and “stand” training. You would have to train your puppy to know these commands before he can play this game.
This is how it works. Lure your puppy to the sit position using a little treat. Hold the treat and move it up to his nose.
As your puppy performs a sit, mark that behavior with a “sit” command and give him the treat.
As he remains in the sit position, wait till he does a down position, mark that action with a “down” command and give him a treat.
Next, you will have to teach him to stand from a sit position. Have the treat in your hand and move it outward from his nose so that your puppy has to stand up to get his treat. The moment he does it, mark that action with the “stand” command.
Keep repeating these steps till he is familiar with these commands and you can have him play this game by following your “sit”, “down” and “stand” instructions.
Tug Of War
A great way to exercise your puppy BUT do it with care. Your puppy is still developing his teeth and extra care has to be taken to ensure that you do not play it too rough.
Certainly you do not want him to lose his baby teeth or cause any injury to his growing bones or spine.
Do not whip your puppy around once he has latched on the tug toy. Apply only gentle resistance and slowly swaying the movement to oppose his pulling.
You can also teach him the “drop” and “sit” command during the game. This will provide both physical (pulling games) and mental (command training) simulation for him and will easily tire him out.
Invite Another Puppy For Playdate
If your neighbour is also adopting puppies, you can have them meet up for play time.
Make sure that your neighbour puppy is of similar temperament and size as your puppy. You would not want your puppy to be injured by a big dog.
Playdate is a great way for your puppy to release his energy and for him to learn how to communicate with another puppy and train on his biting inhibition as he plays with the puppy.
Play On Wobble Balance Board
You can create your own wobble board for your puppy to play on it or get one from the market. This exercise is good to train him on his balancing, metal focus and functional strength.
If you are thinking of DIY a wobble board, you would need a thick towel and a big wooden board.
Place a thick towel (roll up) on the floor and have a big board placed over it. Using a treat to get your puppy’s attention as you move him around the board.
The wobble board games will make your puppy focus his attention on the balancing and train his leg muscles.
Flirt Pole Game
This is how it works. You attach a toy on one end of the bungee rope that is attached to the pole and use it to get your puppy attention to chase after the toy. This is an excellent game to make your puppy tired and the best part is that it doesn’t exhaust you!
While playing the game. keep the toy low to the ground as you would not want your puppy to make a jump for it.
Also keep the swing of the pole slow to prevent your puppy from turning around too quickly. Swift turns can injure his growth plates.
Chase After Bubbles
Not only your kids like to play with bubbles. Your puppy certainly likes this game as well.
Make sure that you play the bubble games in a specious area that is free from any danger objects. You wouldn’t want your puppy to get hurt during the bubble chasing.
Doing it in your backyard will be an ideal choice as it would be an open space with room for him to freely roam around chasing the bubbles.
Play With Water Hose
Have you ever thought of making use of the water hose that you had in your backyard to good use?
Let the water sprinkle out from the hose and see if that could get your puppy excited and chase after it. My puppy loves this “game” and I find him totally exhausted after playing it for 10 minutes.
Fetch is always a great and safe physical game to play with your puppy. This game requires that he brings back the toy that is being thrown and will greatly exhaust his physical energy as he will be moving around bringing back the toy.
Create Obstacle Course Using Chairs
Chairs make a good tunnel and you can line up a few chairs in a “snake” layout and have your puppy slowly make his way through the “tunnel”. This will be a form of mind and physical exercise for your puppy.
Hurdles Cones Game
You can set up a hurdle cone game in your home to train your puppy on how to cross over each pole. The goal is to make your puppy learn how to overcome this obstacle and train his thinking and movement.
Find the Treats
Command your puppy to remain in sit and stay position while you go and hide a treat. Then give your puppy the “Go Find” command. This will make your puppy use his sense of smell to hunt for the hidden treat.
This exercise will exhaust his energy quite a fair bit as he would be using his sense of smell intensely while searching for the treat.
The Treat Balls (Toys)
Letting your puppy play with toys that are stuffed with treats is yet another great way to physically and mentally tire him. He will be using his mouth and thinking of ways to get that treat out of the toy.
Hide And Seek
Make yourself “disappear” from your puppy view and let him find you. You can hide yourself in the toilet or bedroom and let your puppy search for you. This will keep him busy running about and release his energy.
New Tricks or Games
Teach your puppy new tricks (such as play dead) or get him some new toys that he had never played before. New activities that your puppy had never played before will cultivate his learning and make him mentally tired.
As you have learned from this post, there are numerous ways to make your puppy tired by engaging him with games that need his physical movement and mental thinking.
Keep these games in mind and put them to good use whenever you need your energetic puppy to take a “break” and behave himself in the house.