There are many instances where you would want your dog to be as calm and relaxed as you are such as when giving it a bath or getting it groomed or even removing ticks off of its skin. Regardless of how much people tell you to get a dog that has energy levels that closely mimics yours, there is always no guarantee that your beloved pet will be less active than you. So if you have a hound that is literally pure energy, here are 6 easy ways to tire out your canine friend.
Play Fetch Down the Stairs
This is one very unique way to use up your dog’s boundless energy. The downside, of course, is that you will really have to look for a place or a building that has stairs in case your house doesn’t have any. Playing fetch down the stairs utilizes your dog’s natural fascination with balls as well as its innate tendency to chase. Sitting at the top of the stairs with your pet by your side, you can roll a colorful ball towards the bottom of the stairs. You can then command your pet to go ‘fetch’ the ball and return it to you.
Just going down and back up the flight of stairs will require tremendous muscular output from your pet. This should tire it easily. Be forewarned that if your pet has joint problems, this is often not a good idea as a single misstep can lead to more musculoskeletal problems, not to mention possible fall-related injuries.
If you have a pet that has some problems with its joints yet is still full of energy, take it out for a swim as this is one of the joint-friendliest exercises you can give to it. Since your pet is actually ‘floating’, the force of gravity as it pulls on its body is somehow negated by the buoyant force of the water. You can play with a lot of things on the water to make it even more fun.
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Many veterinary physiotherapists actually recommend swimming not only as a good exercise for highly active dogs but also as therapy for those hounds that may have existing problems with their musculoskeletal systems. When dogs ‘paddle’ they are actually exerting more force than if they are running. Their limbs will have to move against the drag produced by water. Just look at it as some form of resistance or strength training for your pet. But since the effect of gravity is negated, it’s gentle on their joints.
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Use a Flirt Pole
Some folks call it the flirt stick, but in reality it is more like a short-lined fishing pole with a very enticing lure at the end. This is actually perfect for pet parents who simply cannot give up the remote control and lift their butts off of their couches yet. They can lie all day wagging the long stick to and fro. The dog will be running after the lure at the end of the line or even at the end of the long stick.
Depending on how vigorous you move the flirt pole, you can actually tire your dog within minutes. The thing is that you are actually playing to the dog’s natural tendency to chase prey. For your canine friend, the lure at the end of the pole is like prey that is just waiting to be pounced on.
Give Them Treat Dispensing Dog Puzzle Toys
Did you know that some treat dispensing toys can actually be more effective both in tiring your pet and in improving its concentration and focus? For example, if you give them a treat dispensing toy such as the KONG Classic, you are actually training them to work for their snacks. They can paw their way to the treat, bite it with all their might, toss it around, and even squish it until the treat comes out of the canister. The point is that your dog will be using all its energy to retrieve the treat from inside these toys.
There are also puzzle toys that are even more complicated than the KONG Classic. These interactive toys are designed primarily to utilize your dog’s mental energies to help it relax and feel calmer. Additionally, these interactive dog toys can help improve your dog’s concentration which is one of the key elements to successful canine obedience training.
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Time to Bring Out the Frisbee
Kids love playing with the Frisbee. And since dogs love playing fetch, you may want to use a Frisbee instead of the usual ball or stick. You’re accomplishing two forms of exercise in playing with the Frisbee. First, you’re asking your dog to run after the flying disc. Secondly, you’ll want them to jump as high as they possibly can to catch the flying disc with their mouths while still airborne. But of course this takes practice. But it sure is going to be fun once they get the knack of it. You can even ask your kids to play Frisbee with your dog so you can just sit back and enjoy the action from your lounger.
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Fun Times with Bubbles
If you don’t have a Frisbee with you and you just remembered you bought for your kid a bubble gun for his birthday, you can use this to create more fun times with your canine pet while also encouraging them to run and chase after the bubbles. These are miniature balls that dogs will love to ‘catch’ and once these ‘pop’ they will have to immediately shift their attention to the next one. Just like playing with the Frisbee you can also ask your kids to do this for you and help improve their relationship with your pet dog.
There are many ways in which you can easily tire out your pet dog. Perhaps the most important one is to find the willingness to lead a very active lifestyle, too. If you make exercise a part of your daily routine, you can actually involve your pet in these routines. Always make sure that the activity you’re going to perform is safe both for you and your pet.
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- Debra Horwitz, DVM, Dog Behavior and Training – Play and Exercise, VCA
- Walking With Your Pet, American Veterinary Medical Association
- Elena Waldman, How to Keep Your Canine Companion Entertained Indoors, PETA