A tired dog is a happy dog (with happy owners!)

Here are some creative ways to wear out your pup and keep him healthy!

Fetch

Playing FetchIf your dog doesn’t seem to be tired after a good game of fetch, you might want to try putting a new twist on it.

Hills – Try playing fetch from the top of a small hill. It’s easy to throw farther and your dog will really have to work coming back up. If he’s not used to this, don’t over do it; he’ll probably be worn out after just a few throws!

Practice CommandsSwimming – If your dog is comfortable in the water, and you have access, try throwing a toy into a lake or pond (just make sure it floats before you throw it!). If you have access to a river or the ocean, be very careful: never allow your dog to enter fast moving water. Also, don’t throw too far. (This is a good way to lose your toy, or your dog!) I always start out with close throws and gradually increase the distance.

Practice Commands– If your dog really enjoys playing fetch, use this opportunity to practice what you both learned in obedience class. Practice commands like, “release” or “leave-it” when your dog brings you the ball or Frisbee. When you are getting ready to throw, have your dog “sit” and “stay” until you give him permission to go. Your dog will be happy to work for you when he is being rewarded by play.

Hide-and-Seek

SeekingI love playing this game with my dog. It makes me laugh, and it provides him with mental stimulation. If you are not in a fenced area, you will need two people: one to hide, and one to hold the leash. When my dog stops to sniff something, I run ahead and hide behind something (usually a tree). When he notices I am gone, he races off to find me, usually running right past my hiding spot! He gets so excited when he finds me and it seems to strenthen our bond.

Find-It

Here is a variation of Hide-and-Seek. Show your dog a treat, and have him “stay” while you hide it in another room (just don’t hide it too well). When you are ready, tell your dog to “find it!” If you have a food motivated dog, he’ll be sure to love this game.

AgilityTry a Canine Sport

There are a number of different sports you and your dog can try. Find out what classes are available in your area.

AgilityThe Obstacle Course

This sport consists of an obstacle course: tunnel, teeter-totter, A-frame, etc. Though it is most popular with herding breeds (border collies, Australian shepherds, etc.), dogs of any breed and size can enjoy and excel in this sport! Try out a beginning agility class.

FreestyleDancing Dogs

This sport is relatively new and gaining popularity fast! An obedience, dance, and trick routine is choreographed to music and performed as a team (you and your dog)!

RallyRacing, Agility, and Obedience

Here is another new canine sport that is quickly becoming popular! Each team (handler and dog) go through a course consisting of 10-20 stations. At each station the team must follow the instructions on the sign, usually something learned in obedience class. Complete the course as quickly and with a few errors as you can!

Exercise Safely!

Just like with us humans, you don’t want to over do it! If your dog hasn’t had much exercise in a while, start him out with something easy. Take time to warm-up before and cool-down after exercise. Always pay attention to your dog; you will be able to tell from his body language, how much and what kind of exercise is right for him!

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