How to Tire Out a Dog: 8 Activities and Routines to Try

 closeup sleeping pug portrait

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To keep our dogs healthy and happy, it’s important to ensure they get enough exercise and movement. Our pups need plenty of physical activity to stay fit and mentally stimulated. And most importantly, to tire them out! 

Figuring out how to tire out your furry friend can be tricky. But, there are so many things out there that we can do! Fear not! This list of eight activities and routines will give you some great ideas of how best to exhaust your pup. From playing fetch to strapping on a no pull dog harness and taking a long walk, these exercises will have your pup panting with exhaustion in no time. 

How to Tire Out a Dog on a Walk

Walks are a classic for dog exercise, and for a good reason. They’re perfect for some low-impact cardio while also giving your pup a chance to explore the sights and smells of the great outdoors. They’re also good for people, of course. In fact, research shows that veterinary-prescribed physical activity, like walking, can have as much benefit for owners as it does for their dogs. So if you’re looking to tire out your dog on a walk, you can do a few things. 

  1. Vary Your Walking Route – Try varying the route you usually take. This will keep your dog’s interest piqued and their noses working overtime as they try to figure out all the new smells. 
  2. Bring a Toy to Play with – If your dog loves to play fetch, bring along a ball or Frisbee to throw. Just make sure your dog has a good recall command if going off-leash. We don’t want anyone getting lost in the bushes! 
  3. Walk with a Friend – Walks can be an excellent opportunity for dogs to socialize and play, so consider walking with a dog-friendly pal or two, human or canine. Just make sure everyone is on the same page and gets along well. 
Tips for a great walk: 
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How to Tire a Dog Out Without Walking

Walking with your dog is excellent, but there are other activities that you can do that don’t involve putting one foot in front of the other. So if you’re looking for different ways to wear out your pup, here are a few things you can try.

  1. Play Fetch Indoors or Out – Just because a walk isn’t on the itinerary for the evening or it’s raining outside doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! Fetch in an enclosed yard or dog-friendly park is just as great for dogs, if not better. If it’s raining outside, bring the game inside and play in an open space indoors. You can play fetch indoors with your dog using a soft toy or ball. Just make sure you have enough space and no breakable valuables around. 
  2. Find Their Favorite Toy – Every dog has that one toy they just can’t get enough of. Use this to your advantage and play with them until they’re exhausted. This can be a great way to practice good manners and build positive reinforcement with your dog by giving treats for playing well or following commands (like dropping the toy).

 beagle plays with rubber ball

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Tips for making playtime a success (and as tiring as possible): 

  • Use different toys to keep your dog’s interest piqued. Rotate them regularly.
  • Play in short bursts for puppies or senior dogs with time to rest so your dog doesn’t get too overwhelmed or overexcited. 
  • Have a cue to signal the end of the play session so your dog knows when to stop. This can be a verbal cue like “time’s up” or a hand signal, such as holding your palm up.

How to Tire Out a Dog Mentally

Whether you’re looking for the best way to tire out a dog before work or bed or simply trying to find something to do on a rainy day, there are plenty of options for mental stimulation that will leave your pup pooped. 

  1. Nose Work – Nose work is a great way to keep your dog’s brain occupied while tiring them out. It involves hiding treats or toys around the house or yard and letting your dog find them. This can be a great way to build your dog’s confidence and get used to sniffing out rewards while also giving them some good exercise. 
  2. Enroll in Some Training Classes – Training classes are a great way to bond with your dog and teach them some new tricks. They’re also a great way to socialize your dog and get used to being around other people and dogs. You can find training classes at your local pet store or online. Most dogs will return home from their training classes tuckered out and ready for a nap. 
  3. Food-Dispensing and Puzzle Toys – Food-dispensing and puzzle toys are a great way to keep your dog’s mind occupied and their belly full. These toys are designed to challenge your dog and encourage them to think about getting the food out. They’re also a great way to slow down mealtime if your dog tends to eat too fast. There are various types available made of different materials for all ages and levels of chewers.

 pomeranian using dog puzzle toy

Source: Lenti Hill/

Tips for mental stimulation success: 

  • Start with easy puzzles and work your way up to the more difficult ones.
  • Keep training sessions short, sweet and focused on one task at a time. 
  • Make your dog work for their treats or toys, as you want them to put in the effort and feel a sense of accomplishment. Whether they’re sniffing something out or being rewarded, they should feel like they’ve earned it. 

Every Dog Is Different

So, there you have it! A variety of ways to tire out your dog. Remember that the amount and type of exercise or activity needed will vary depending on your dog’s breed, interests, activity level and life stage. Be sure to adjust appropriately so you and your pup can enjoy a well-exercised lifestyle together. And don’t forget to check out our shop to find everything you need, from cute dog accessories to the perfect no pull harness for dogs

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