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My life is so much better if Annie gets three 20+ min walks a day - but it usually doesn't happen. So I thought I'd start a big list of the ways I've found to tire out a dog, and hope someone will add to it. I'm especially interested in ways to make normal everyday activities more tiring for the dog.

Walking ideas:
- Walks on a 6' leash with lots of sniffing (not great for tiring her out, honestly).
-Walks on a retractable leash/long line (non busy area, with dog under control only)
  • Walks in an unfamiliar place - for Annie, urban places are most tiring, then busy suburban, then forested areas.
  • Adding heeling practice, sit/stay practice, etc.
In the park:
  • Fetch on a long line.
  • Rile the dog up to run like mad/jump play on a long line, then practice calm.
  • Fetch with work on "wait", "sit", "down", etc, at a distance (more tiring than fetch).
  • Practicing jumping up on things, running on a platform, off, over/under bars, etc.
At home:
  • Tricks practice/learning
  • Stay and hide and go seek
  • Down stay while I do other things
  • Chews (cows ears, bully sticks, kongs, etc)
  • Puzzle food toys.
  • Fetch and "catch" with toys.
  • "Working" for food.
Elsewhere:
  • Trips to stores
  • Trips to markets/dog friendly events
Things we have done in the past, but can't do right now:
  • 1 hr hikes (preferably off leash or on a long line)
  • Dog daycare (found she played too hard)
  • Dog park (local dog park is full of aggressive dogs)
  • Play dates with other dogs
  • Making her swim
  • Soccer
Things I plan for the future
  • Bike rides once she's old enough
  • More "jobs" for her to do
  • Training classes
 

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This is similar to walking to stores, but we walk to the vet or groomer and give a lot of treats and come back.

"Mouse" -- this is a game we play with kibble. Basically we flick one piece of kibble a short distance and when he finds it, he returns and lies does for the next piece. He gets less amped up than with a big game of fetch. And it is quiet enough that I can do while kids are sleeping.

Observation walks -- We go to really busy areas like school, park, playgrounds, and just sit and watch people. Working up to observing outside the dog run...
 

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Lots of good ideas.

We are lucky - several local off leash walks, and my knee is finally getting good enough for a reasonable distance.

Other things we do when it is too wet to go out:
Hunt the treat - wait politely behind the door while I hide a few treats around the room, then released to hunt for them. We are now up to the advanced version, two treats, each in a tiny, nearly closed key tin, and the tin hidden.

Ottosson puzzle toys - again, the dogs wait patiently while I hide a few treats in each toy, and in the various stuffable toys. Then they are released to find them.

The combination of self control, anticipation, sniffing and excitement really helps to wear them out. We have a three rounds only rule, though, to ensure the game doesn't go on forever.
 

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Great list! I would add playing fetch in the house as sometimes it's too cold here to play much outside, and obedience training. If you can take a class a week and then practice the new things you learn (like the advanced classes my kids took, 5 minutes 5 times per day, with joy :)), that's mentally tiring, fun and beneficial. Also maybe you'll meet someone there who's into agility who will let you come use their equipment--also fun and tiring

Sent from my VOG-L04 using Tapatalk
 

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Flirt pole

Nose Work - you can take a class or google how to start: when a dog is actively searching they use a lot of brain power energy.

Buy or make PVC agility equipment either on line or DYI from the internet. Kiddie tunnels are cheap. If you’ve had a beginner agility class where you were introduced to the proper techniques you can have lots of fun exercise in a carpeted lower level or grass backyard.

work on skills that make your dog a great pet.....leave it, settle, etc. Spend a short time working on one or two skills.
 

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2nd here for flirt pole. Also any kind of trick training that involves impulse control behaviors. Adding duration, distance and duration to basic obedience behaviors.
 

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A class! Any class! Nothing wipes Peggy out quite like our weekly puppy class. It's roughly 15 minutes of outdoor socialization (navigating a variety of surfaces, encountering strange objects, greeting folks with canes, walkers, baby carriages, etc.) followed by 30 minutes alternating high-concentration obedience with relaxed "settling" practice, concluding with 15 minutes of free play outdoors with the puppies and their owners (first in a yard, then in a fenced wooded area).

It's just one hour, but it ticks all the boxes. And we can use it as a framework for satisfying Peggy's needs the rest of the week.
 

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Today we did a great thing. We walked to a public tennis court, and no one was there, so i closed the doors, let her off leash, and we played fetch with tennis balls. (I would never let her off leash in an open area where she could run off.) She loved it (bonus: no mud).
I second the flirt pole!
Also, in the house, we do fetch with soft balls and other objects. I have a nerf football that we play with in the basement. I toss it halfway up the stairs, and she tries to catch it as it bounces back down.
I also do a mixed series of instructions, like target, paws up, sit, stand, down, wait, etc. She enjoys that.
I rigged up a ramp that goes to a low coffee table, and she'll walk up the ramp, across the table and off the other side (in lieu of agility equipment). I also roll balls and rings down the ramp, and she grabs them as they come off.
We learned 'go around' in class, so i have her go around things.
I've found that the best for really wearing her out, though, is playing with another dog or having a class.
 

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A flirt pole is a must. Buck loves it so much, I keep it in the garage and he has to do some impulse control exercises before it comes out. One obedience class and he is exhausted. I have a few fenced acres, where he can chase squirrels and rabbits, play fetch with the soccer ball, inspect and explore to his heart’s content. Nothing tires him out more than obeying commands, aka, being “good”.
 

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We found an empty children's playground on our walk today, fully fenced and no signage indicating that dogs aren't allowed.

Peggy had a great time in there, and surprised us with her willingness to go through the plastic tunnel! Lots of new things to stimulate her nose and brain, and also physically tire her out.

We'll definitely be returning, but I suspect it was only empty because of the holidays + a bit of good luck.
 

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First of all, THANK YOU for posting this amazing thread! My 5 yo male spoo was diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis (“lar par”) last year AND is a high energy boy so we need lots of ways to tire him mentally - thanks everyone!

Also, I know it’s already been mentioned, but FLIRT POLE! Mentioned to us by a trainer and it was life changing for all involved when he was younger and even more high energy. Now he can only do it for a few minutes at a time because of his condition : ( but he still loves it.
 

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This is a great list! Here are some other ideas.

The beach. If off-leash time on an empty beach is an option for you, you are L*U*C*K*Y and will have a tired dog.

Grooming. I imagine many dogs find this boring, but still somewhat tiring. It involves a fair amount of obedience. It gets bonus points for ending with a cleaner dog than you started with.

Bubbles. I possess peanut butter scented dog bubbles I found on Chewy.com, but admit I have not tried them yet. This should be a great backyard activity, though some dogs stomachs might not tolerate it.

Roomba rides. Okay, I don't have a roomba or a dog tiny enough to ride one- but doesn't this sound like a fun trick? Maybe I'll watch videos with my dog of cats riding roombas. That's what I'll do.

Hide n Seek. Do you have a velcro dog? See if you can duck into a closet when they aren't looking, and how long it takes for them to find you. Take a squeaky ball in with you if you have doubts you will be found.

Practice your yoga. Yeah, get down there on the floor and pull some poses. Your dog will find this very interesting. At least my puppy does. This is more tiring for the human than the dog, though, so maybe doesn't belong on this list.
 

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Jessie's favorite game came from a deconstructed cat toy, specifically this one from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MQYWGXC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It has a touch activated purring mechanism that lasts 2 minutes. The mechanism is removeable from the cat toy so you can put it in something safer that your dog can't swallow if you're worried about them getting it out and eating it. Jessie isn't a chewer, so I use the mechanism alone (under direct supervision only). I activate the purring mechanism and hide it in a whole bunch of different things for Jessie to search, like a rolled up towel, cardboard boxes, brown packing paper, envelopes, empty paper towel rolls, inside pillow cases, old socks etc. She LOVES this game more than any other. Most of her other toys stop making noise after a few seconds, but since this one keeps purring at her it really drives her to find it.
 

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You might want to reconsider the retractable leash idea. They're a little safer now that they use a tape rather than a cord, but I've seen two finger amputations and several fractures from retractable leashes. They're an accident waiting to happen
 

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You might want to reconsider the retractable leash idea. They're a little safer now that they use a tape rather than a cord, but I've seen two finger amputations and several fractures from retractable leashes. They're an accident waiting to happen
Jbean-I think what I am learning is... No tool is perfect. After more than 20 years of using one, I am unlikely to change
I would have a miserable time without our retractable leash as I do not have a yard. Puppy walks were a retractable leash in the back alleyways saved my sanity, and sitting on the front steps with Annie on a retractable leash, which is the perfect length to allow her to run a bit, do her business, and not get on the sidewalk, is my lowest energy exercise for her. She loves lying on the grass, chewing a stick. I also do use it for walks

I used one for the first time with my first dog at age 5, have used them for every dog since. No injuries so far, and they have added a lot of quality of life for our dogs. Retractables allow a dog to sniff in a way you can't do with a normal leash. Annie pulls the least when she is on a retractable, since that is what I have spent the most time training, and there is an audible click when she has reached the end to tell her to return to me, sit, or otherwise give me slack. She also seems to use the rhythm of my hand swing to figure out she is approaching the end.

I always wonder how people manage these injuries.... The fingers should be nowhere near the cord!!! Use the brake, not the cord, don't buy the extra long length, etc.

Yes, they are not a perfect tool, and like any tool, they need to be used responsibly. They aren't appropriate for busy areas, areas without sidewalks etc, and the brake function should be used to shorten and control the leash/dog when passing people/distractions, etc. I often carry a 6ft leash to switch to if needed.

We also have a long line (retractable leash is 10 ft and long line is 50 ft) I find the long line in some ways more dangerous as it's easier for her or me to get limbs tangled in it and trip ourselves if I forget to manage slack.

I had her on a long line at the park yesterday and an off leash dog came up to us and got his feet tangled in the long line and yelped. I was worried if Annie had started to run it could have injured him.

For those interested in retractable leashes... Get a genuine Flexi, the others are mostly junk without strong enough brakes. Practice reeling in your dog. Quickly fling your hand outward to retract slack, hit the brake, reel in your arm/dog.. Repeat. It sounds complicated but it allows you to have control of your dog without touching the line.
 

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Good one!

Yesterday I had a migraine and was running out of ways to entertain a very bored poodle. So I meticulously folded up her toys into a towel, thinking she'd have to spend some time rooting around for them. I honestly thought I was being so clever!

Well she watched me carefully (success!), anticipation building (success!), and when I released her she...........

Grabbed one corner, gave it a quick shake, and trotted away with her favourite toy.

Sigh.

Back to the drawing board.
 

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I have a variant of Hunt the Treat for odd occasion when I really feel barely able to get out of my chair. Take a very small handful of low calorie treats, have the dog(s) in a sit, say "Ready... Steady... Wheeeeee!" and toss the treats in the air so they scatter all over the room. Helps if you take a little care that none vanish under furniture where the dog can't reach them, unless you feel up to grovelling on the floor to help. And I set a rule of three rounds only, so they know to settle down for a while after that.
 
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I have a variant of Hunt the Treat for odd occasion when I really feel barely able to get out of my chair. Take a very small handful of low calorie treats, have the dog(s) in a sit, say "Ready... Steady... Wheeeeee!" and toss the treats in the air so they scatter all over the room. Helps if you take a little care that none vanish under furniture where the dog can't reach them, unless you feel up to grovelling on the floor to help. And I set a rule of three rounds only, so they know to settle down for a while after that.
fjm - Annie also has a variant of hunt the treat that she loves - it's called "Hunt the laundry" or "Hunt the coats". She's discovered that I often leave little treats or treat crumbs in pants pockets or coats pockets, and a long clever poodle nose is often just the right size to access them. Strangely, I think i'd prefer we play your version!
 
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