A lot of people come to us with questions about tiring out their dogs.
First off, we will put in place two distinctions: if your dog is worked up in a comfortable/familiar environment this signals pent up energy that needs to be exerted — If your dog is worked up in an unfamiliar environment this is normal, more exposure and training might be needed!
Regardless of the surroundings, mental stimulation is key to tiring out a dog; making them work for the things they like as rewards would always aid in such stimulation. I have something the dog WANTS, he must work to get it!
Think of it this way: someone who goes to work and does mental work with numbers all day or a student who studies all day would come home completely wiped from using their brain all day – even though they didn’t move much or perform physical tasks – mental exhaustion is just as tough if not tougher than physical. Compare this person to a marathon runner who can get in a mental zone and keep pushing their body. They would come home feeling pretty good about the run and not totally drained. Give this person math questions to do while running and the run is MUCH more tiresome! This is what happens when playing fetch, just running after the ball will tire a dog out briefly, but they always want another!!Instead, we balance the play – a little mental work and a lot of fun can go a long way! Once obedience is instilled we can call up on it for play time and tire a dog that could normally fetch a ball all day in twenty minutes. This is why mental stimulation and forcing the dog to use their brain and think is important and our GO TO technique for a dog with pent up energy. Check out this facebook video of Roxie and Becky Herman (South Shore NS, Trainer) for a perfect example on mental stimulation and reward fetching!
When time is lacking for mental stimulation we can call up on other techniques to tire the dog (just to name a few) :
– teach your dog to play tug! A firm out command is a must as well as certain rules to the game!
– resistance training with a harness and weights, old tire: check out this video: Facebook Resistance Training Video or this one Facebook Resistance Video
– heeling dog while you jog, run, bike or walk
– teach the dog to “find” their toys
– teach your dog to “hunt” for their food
– swimming for their toys
– resistance training in water
There are so many options out there for owners and their dogs to experience life together, have some fun and get out with your dog!
If you or anyone you know has a dog that is need of some excess energy burnoff, training or additional techniques please don’t hesitate to contact one of our certified trainers!
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