The first twenty-four hours with a new puppy is a blur of laughs, cuddles, and heart-melting moments. After that, you might start asking yourself how in the world you’re going to be able to keep up with this tiny bundle of energy! Learning how to tire out your puppy the right way can take some trial and error, but trust us, it’s well worth it! And it just might save your furniture, your at-home work meetings, and your sanity over the next several months.
The good news is, all you need is a few pieces of equipment, puppy toys your dog can’t get enough of, playmates, and some consistency. Over time, you’ll find the right balance to maximise the puppy cuddles!
First, let’s put to rest the idea that more exercise is the best way to tire out your puppy!
Because puppies are so energetic, it’s easy to assume that the best way to tire them out is to increase the exercise. After all, they’d probably be happy to play tug and fetch with their beloved human for hours!
There are a few dangers here, though. One is that while puppies are still growing, too much exercise could put stress on their growth plates, leading to injury and developmental complications. The rule of thumb you’re likely to hear as a Puppy Owner is no more than five minutes of exercise per month of age, but you can check in with your vet for more specific advice.
The second risk of relying on exercise to tire out your puppy is that it will build up your dog’s stamina. Sure, your doggo may be tired after an extra long walk, but the nap that they enjoy afterwards is simply recovery for an even longer walk next time! As your puppy grows, your goal will be to find the level of exercise that is both ideal for your dog and also sustainable for your lifestyle in the long term.
Stock up on a range of different kinds of toys and chews
If you can’t rely solely on exercise to tire out your puppy, how else can you encourage them to be relaxed at home?
Having a range of toys and chews is absolutely necessary. Day-by-day, your puppy will be more eager to explore the world around them. And when they start to feel the teething pains, they’ll see everything in their path as a chew toy. You can get ahead of it, and tire them out, by providing your puppy with toys and chews of different textures, colours, shapes, and sounds. In fact, signing up for a monthly subscription, like the Waggly Club Puppy Box, is a brilliant way to make sure that your little one always has new, interesting toys to keep them busy.
Encourage your puppy to play on their own
Once you’ve filled your home with fun, interactive toys for your puppy, you can start training them to entertain themselves. This will give you the opportunity to live your life without your puppy constantly tugging at your shoelaces! It’s also a great way to prevent separation anxiety, as your pup learns to feel comfortable playing on their own. Of course, you’ll still need to provide your pupper with some dedicated one-on-one time, but in between play sessions, you’ll be glad that they’re playfully self-sufficient!
For the rundown on how to train this skill, take a look at our article, How to Keep Your Puppy Entertained when You Are Busy.
Work on socialising your pup
A sure way to tire out your puppy is to give them free play with other pups! Not only will they get a good physical workout, but your doggo will expend mental energy building relationships and learning the do’s and don’ts of the canine world. It can be especially helpful to introduce your puppy to playful adult dogs who can offer them corrections without getting too grouchy. You can think of it a bit like finding your pup a cool older sibling!
Socialisation can also refer to exposing your dog to new settings, people, and experiences. The more time that you spend introducing them to the wonderful world outside, the easier it will be to help them settle when you’re at home.
Socialisation is a delicate process, so make sure to take the process slowly and use plenty of treats. Refer to our article, How to Socialise Your Puppy, for more detailed tips!
Tire out your puppy with training
As you can see, many of the best ways to tire out your puppy have to do with mental stimulation. Sure, exercise is important, but it’s only one part of the equation! Encouraging your dog to use their brain is also a brilliant use of their energy, and it will have the added benefit of deepening your bond and ability to communicate with your pup.
Don’t feel the need to train your pup all day. In fact, you’ll have the best results if you can keep your training sessions to a few minutes at a time. Make sure to use plenty of tasty treats and verbal praise, and don’t forget to bring the patience! Training a wiggly fluffball can be a challenge, but it is guaranteed to tire out your puppy.
Be proactive about nap times
We know what you’re thinking: “Why would I force my dog to sleep more if I’m trying to tire them out?” But the truth is, getting your dog on a regular napping routine is actually an effective way to manage their energy levels.
If you’re working on crate training with your little one, scheduled naps will already probably be part of your routine. If not, make sure that your puppy has plenty of time throughout the day to nap in a quiet, cool part of the house. No matter how adorable they may look, resist the urge to snuggle them! They need undisturbed sleepy time.
If you’re struggling to get your puppy to settle down, you might consider working on teaching a “settle” or “relax” cue. This will involve rewarding your dog when they are already in a calm state so that they begin to associate relaxation with yummy treats.
Overall, learning how to tire out your puppy is a game changer!
There’s nothing more revitalising for us humans than spending time with a bouncy, enthusiastic puppy. But, every once in a while (maybe even more often than not), you’ll find yourself wishing that your puppy spent more time in their sleeping angel mode.
To be sure, it will take some time before you find the right balance of exercise, mental stimulation, and naptime until your puppy’s energy levels stabilise. In the meantime, having irresistible toys, chews, and maybe even the help of a dedicated Dog Walker will be a life-saver!
For more ideas on how to start off on the right paw with your pup, take a look at our article, 8 Top Tips for Puppy Owners! And remember to enjoy this special time with your bouncing-off-the-walls pup. It doesn’t last forever!