You unlock your front door and the proof is everywhere: the remnants of your new running shoes are strewn about the house, there’s a hole in the couch cushion, and the new leash you just bought is in pieces.
Restlessness in high energy dog breeds is not uncommon, especially if you’re yet to find something that works for both you and your pup. This is the case for fully grown dogs and puppies: if you haven’t worn them out before you leave, they’ll look for a ‘job’ to do. Oftentimes, they get destructive.
We pulled the best tips for tiring out your high energy dog and the best ways to tire out a puppy before they’ve had all their shots.
Why Does My Dog Have So Much Energy?
If your dog has excess energy and you’re finding it difficult to do everyday activities like: sit on the couch, cook dinner, clean, and relax, then you need to do more research to understand what your dog needs from you.
Pro animal trainer Brandon McMillan is an expert on the way dogs think. He says,
“Most of the breeds living in our houses today weren’t originally bred to be on a couch, in a quiet home surrounded by walls. They had jobs long before we were born and instinct is more powerful than any trainer on the planet. Knowing your breed’s history is vital to knowing what they were originally bred for but also forming a game plan for training.”
The first step to understanding why your dog needs to be crazy, busy, and run wild through the house is to understand the history of their breed.
For example, Australian Cattle Dogs (also known as Queensland Heelers) were used to herd cattle. The dogs have intense focus, are wicked smart, and they have an instinctual need to heard. Their “job” for many years was to move cattle.
Fast forward to present day where Cattle Dogs have become members of our households and families. What many people don’t realize is that Cattle Dogs still need the mental and physical fulfillment of a “job” to do. This is the same for other energetic breeds, though their jobs have been different over the course of evolutionary history.
So, if your pup is constantly busy or running laps, then he is most likely searching for work to do. This is exactly why there’s a dog breed classification called “Working Breeds.” Dogs like Border Collies and Siberian Huskies fall into the working breed group.
More likely than not, you need to find your dog’s job, and it’s not as hard as you think! You don’t have to take your pup to a cattle ranch to stimulate their mind. Catching a frisbee, jumping for a ball, or locating treats hidden around the house can be your pup’s job for the day. Make your dog swim to you in a pool, catch a frisbee you throw off a dock, or have them join you on a successful hike. All of these things are great jobs for a high energy dog.
We made Atlas gear specifically for high energy working breeds. Our gear is tough so that if they get the urge to chew on their leash, the high quality rope won’t just fall apart. And if it does, we’ll replace it. We’re passionate about supporting high energy breeds so that you can give them the best, most adventurous life. Get our gear muddy, sandy, wet--that’s what it’s meant for.
We’re the perfect companion for your curious, energetic, amazing pup.
Everyone on our team is passionate about getting their dogs outside and we’ve learned a few tips along the way. Atlas, Brady, Bear, and all of the active #apcdogs out there want to share our favorite ways of adventuring.
Before they become energetic dogs, though, they’re crazy puppies. We just went through that amazing, tough period of time with our Cattle Dog German Shepherd mix, Bear. These are Bear’s favorite tips for wearing out your brand new pup.
How to Tire Out a Crazy Puppy Who’s Too Young to Go Outside
You just brought home a new puppy. First of all, congratulations! Second of all, it can be difficult to wear out a new pup, especially when they can’t go outside yet.
Most veterinarians advise that you not take your unvaccinated new puppy out anywhere where other dogs have been for risk of diseases like Parvo. So, that leaves you and an incredibly cute ball of energy confined to your house and backyard. Yikes.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Find a Puppy Socialization Program
Your first option is to find a puppy-friendly facility that specializes in dog socialization. Some places offer specific programs for puppies that have not been fully vaccinated, which is exactly what you should look for. These programs are safe because none of the pups attending have been vaccinated and are all still too young to go out safely in public, so they’re all in the same boat.
Early-on socialization programs like these also get puppies socialized at a very, very young age, which will help develop their little personalities.
To find a program like this, ask your friends and family if they’ve heard of one or been to one and have any recommendations. You can also search on Yelp.com and read through reviews.
2. Have a Puppy Meet Up
Do your friends and family have fully vaccinated dogs and a big backyard where they can play? If so, bring your puppy to hang out with them ASAP. The older dogs will show your new pup the ropes, and they’ll play for as long as you let them!
You’ll finally get a full night’s sleep, your puppy will be exhausted, and you’ve taken the first step to socializing your new dog. This one’s a win for everyone.
3. Play Fetch on an Incline
If you have a set of stairs in your house, then this one’s for you. Fetch will help wear out a new puppy, but play fetch on the stairs and you’ll have a passed out pup on your hands in no time.
Stand at the top of the stairs and throw the ball down. Repeat until your puppy is ready for bed! Be sure to provide lots of water and snuggles after.
4. Pick Up a Few Brain Stimulating Toys
There are a ton of dog and puppy toys out there designed to entertain and tire out your new family member. If you need your puppy to focus on something when she’s not tired, all of these toys are great options to keep her busy.
- Hyper Pet Doggie Tail Toy: This battery powered tail makes noises, jumps around, and is motion activated so that your pup can chase it around the house.
- Puppy Kong: The Kong is a tried and true form of entertainment for dogs, and it’ll be a huge lifesaver for you. Stuff the Kong with a few treats or fill it with peanut butter and freeze it.
- Interactive Treat Dispensing Ball: Instead of feeding your puppy dinner all at once, put half in the bowl and half in a toy like this. Your pup will have to work for the food, and the toy will stimulate her mind and challenge her to find her dinner.
- Squeaky Ball: Did you know that normal tennis balls contain harmful chemicals and can wear down your dog’s teeth? That’s why you should only give your pup tennis balls that are specifically made for dogs. These balls are fun and interactive: you can play fetch with them and your pup will enjoy the squeaker inside.
5. Play Some Puppy Mind Games
Have you ever heard of the muffin game? All you need is a standard muffin tin (6 or 12 will work) and enough dog-friendly tennis balls to fill every hole. Then, pick out a few stinky treats and hide a treat under three of the tennis balls.
Show your dog how to play by picking up a tennis ball to reveal a hidden treat! Then, ask your dog to sniff out the treats. He should pick up the tennis ball to get to the treat. Once he’s found treat, replace the tennis ball to make the game even trickier.
You can also teach your pup to sniff out treats around the house.
Tried and True Solutions for Tiring Out a High Energy Dog
You’ve got an active dog who loves to play, but daily walks just don’t cut it. You don’t always have time for a 3 hour hike, but your dog is bouncing off the walls like a madman. Atlas Pet Company co-founders Sam and Atlas can relate.
It can be frustrating to live with a dog who needs to work in order to get tired enough to relax, especially in a city apartment. But rest assured: it can be done.
Now that the Atlas Pet Co. Team is on the road living van life, it’s much easier to wear out Atlas with all of the adventuring he’s doing. From discovering Portland to jumping off the dock into Donner Lake, this active pup is finally sleepy and content. It wasn’t always that easy, though!
These are Atlas’s best solutions to tiring out your high energy dog.
1. Take Daily Trips to the Dog Park
Oftentimes a walk won’t cut it for an energetic breed. What’s missing is stimulation.
One of the best things you can do for your dog is to bring them to the dog park every day. They’ll get to run wild off leash, play with their friends, sniff around, and by the end they should be one pooped pup. Dog park trips also help keep your pup properly socialized.
Get into this routine so that your dog learns to expect a daily dog park romp. Then, they’ll be ready to relax when you are.
2. Go to the Beach
The beach, if you have one nearby, is full of good smells, people and other dogs to say hi to, and endless sand where you can run with your pup or throw the frisbee. The waves are always a great form of entertainment, and you can let your pup splash around or jump for a floaty toy.
Plus, the negative ions in the ocean air will calm any nerves you have and make you feel happy and relaxed. By the time you both get home you’ll feel great and have a very happy pup. Win win!
3. Get In Some All Day Play
Even if you’re home all day every day with your dog, sending them to a daycare facility once a week is a great way to tire them out. They will get to play with their friends all day, and it’s a great way to keep up their socialization.
After playing and running around the daycare yard all day, your dog will want to catch some zs for the rest of the evening (and maybe even the next day!).
4. Make Open Fields Your Friends
Grab your Chuckit!, your pup’s favorite ball, or a frisbee, and jump in the car. Try and find an empty soccer or large grassy field that’s open to the public. Then, chuck that ball or frisbee as hard as you can, and let your dog race for it. Repeat!
Chuckit!s are seriously useful toys. Our own cofounders Sam and Atlas have played with Chuckit!s since Atlas was a pup. Atlas loves chasing down a Chuckit! ball, especially in the water!
This simple game not only gives your dog a job, but the challenge will stimulate their brain as well.
5. Teach ‘Em New Tricks
When you teach your dog new tricks, they need to give you all of their focus. This focus, especially as you teach your pup to maintain it for a long stretch of time, will seriously wear them out.
Plus, daily training sessions will reinforce good manners and will teach your dog how to retain focus on you. This becomes especially important when you’re out and about and you need your dog to pay attention to you and not the birds chirping by or the kids running down the sidewalk.
6. Go for a Hike
If you live with a big, active dog in an apartment like Sam and Atlas did, it can be difficult to find productive ways to keep them tired and happy.
Apartment (or small house) living is tough with an 85lb lab, especially in a big city like San Francisco. That’s why taking a hike with your pup is a great way to wear them out. The sounds of birds, smells of woodland creatures, and different sights will all stimulate the mind of your active dog. Plus, the change in scenery will help shake things up for them too.
Good hiking trails might be closer than you think. Check out the website and app All Trails, which will give you the location of trails nearby, reviews, and whether they’re dog friendly or not.
Most of All, Have Fun With Your Pup!
It goes without saying, but high energy dogs are amazing companions. They are smart, loving, and want to be put to work. Here at Atlas we’re passionate about supporting your active dogs doing what they love. Whether that’s running, swimming, hiking, playing, and adventuring with you, we’ll make sure you have the gear to do it all.
Enjoy every minute of it!
--The Atlas Team