How do you tire out a dog without walking? Here’s What to Do Next

Play Games With Your Dog

Humans and dogs (or hoomans and doggos, in social media vernacular) both love games and benefit from playing them in a number of ways—cognitively, physically, and socially.

Dogs are highly social creatures that love to interact with us. And they have a natural love for digging, burying, exploring, and running after and retrieving objects. Playing games with them is another fun and productive way to tire them out.

Teach your dog to walk on a treadmill

Although it may sound too “futuristic” to be true, you can actually teach most dogs to use a treadmill to supplement their outdoor walking. A regular, human-sized treadmill will work for most dogs, although extra large dogs may require a specialized treadmill designed with their species in mind. First, acclimate your dog to standing on the treadmill with it powered off using commands they are familiar with, “up,” “sit,” “stay,” etc. Put on your dog’s leash and hold leash while starting treadmill at lowest speed. Verbally encourage your dog to walk to stay towards the front of the treadmill. If your dog is doing well, gradually increase the speed. If your dog shows signs of distress or anxiety, reduce the speed.

Throw Treats in the Grass

Youve probably noticed that dogs instinctively love grass—sniffing it, eating it, rolling in it, etc. There are a number of proposed reasons for this:

  • Grass is a repository for countless smells, including the scents left by other animals.
  • Marking their territory.
  • Masking their scent—a holdover from their pre-domestication days.
  • Bringing social information back to the pack—another genetic remnant of their wolf origins.
  • Feeling bonded with other dogs.
  • In general, letting your dog spend time in grassy areas will automatically stimulate his/her mind and body, burning energy in the process. But you can sweeten the deal by sprinkling goodies among the green blades. My dog absolutely loves to dig his nose into the grass after Ive thrown a treat in it. He wont give up until he finds it, and this gives him another chance to use that strong sense of smell.

    Whether I have him off-leash in a park or on leash on a sidewalk along grass, I simply toss a small morsel of food three to six feet in front of him and allow him to find it. The better the flavor, the greater his motivation to get it. To make it more challenging, you can gradually extend the distance you throw the food. If you have him on leash, be sure to keep it loose so he doesnt choke if he sprints for the treat too quickly!

    4 Quick Ways To Exercise Your Dog Without “Walking”

    Thank you to Emily Abrahams for the wonderful pictures – check out her website and Instagram.

    “My dog is reactive/runs away off leash/chases wildlife/jumps up on strangers … but he has so much energy, so I just need to wear him out off-leash or with long runs and bike rides every day. How can I train him to be better while keeping up our exercise schedule?”

    Unfortunately there are two extremes when it comes to doggy exercise. On the one hand we have dogs that obviously do not receive sufficient mental and physical stimulation and challenges. These dogs are bored, destructive, often over-weight, engage in behaviors like excessive digging or shadow chasing and would certainly do a lot better if they had more activities with their owner.

    On the other hand however are the dogs that have plenty (and by plenty I mean too much) physical exercise, as it turned out to be the only way to keep their behavior manageable. If you feel like your dog is going to bounce off the walls if he doesn’t get his daily 2 hour run, this post is for you.