10 Ways to Burn Your Dog's Enegry

Sep 19, 2022

Burning your dog's energy is not exactly what you think it is. You don't have to be running around in a field for hours on end or teach him how to do complex behaviors to really stimulate their brain. It can be as simple as getting them to do something that they don't typically do. Becoming creative and having them use their brain in a unique and different way. 


Think about your own life. If there's something new for you to do it requires more energy and more effort to get good at. If you were really good at playing the piano you barely have to think about it; your brain just goes on autopilot. Maybe you've never played the piano but think about driving a car. The first time you ever got into the car you were thinking about every tiny little movement; where the steering wheel was going and how the mirrors were oriented and did you have your seatbelt on. Now all of it is very mundane. You know exactly what you're doing, where you're going, and how to get there. The only thing you might need to think about is the GPS.  Our goal is to have our dogs do something new and exciting to really stimulate their brain and tire them out. Here are 10 things that you can try with your dog to burn their energy.


Teaching your dog tricks


I know I said I wasn’t going to be doing things like mental stimulation but this is both mental stimulation, and physical stimulation, as well as a new skill. Every time you teach your dog a new skill or behavior, aka the trick, you are putting them in a position where they have to use their brain more and figure out what the new skill is. If every day you taught a new trick, not only would you have a giant repertoire to pull from whenever you want to show off, but you would also have the ability to burn their energy whenever you need it to. Imagine being able to tell your dog to do a hundred spins in a row,(don't tell him to do this cuz they're going to get dizzy) but it would be a great way to burn their energy indoors.


Giving your dog a job


Now I don't mean signing them up with the W-2 form and sending them off to the office every day. What I mean is a simple job whether you're going for a walk or just in the house. Find something for them to do that contributes to the overall sanity of the environment. So if you're going for a walk you can put a backpack on them that has a very small amount of weight. This challenges them slightly more than normal and gives them something to think about for the long term. They have a task. They have a job. They’re putting their brain to work in a way that they haven't previously done so. Inside the house, you could teach your dog to just close doors. Throughout the day, whenever you go through a door, just have your dog close it behind you. Not only is this a fun trick to teach your dog but it helps them think about something today that is productive instead of destructive.

Bring your dog somewhere new


As I've said this is all about bringing your dog into a new state of being and using their brain in a way that they haven't before. Bringing them to a new place is a perfect way to do this. It requires little to no effort on your part and a lot of effort on your dog's part. Now you could take this two ways. Bring your dog to a new place and do nothing or bring your dog to a new place and expect them to focus and be obedient. The first option allows you to be nice and relaxed and enjoy your time with your dog while letting them sniff an explorer. The latter of the two options puts your dog in a more stressful situation because they can't explore but that could be more challenging. You have to find out what works better for your dog and what tires them out more. Sometimes the act of ignoring a stimulus and the exciting environment is more draining than just sniffing around.


Give your dog a bath


This is 100% determined by your dog and the way that you've gone about teaching them how to take a bath. But the entire ordeal of putting them in a bath, drying them off,  and cleaning them can be a lot for a dog. Now I don't mean to stress your dog out but to put them into a new scenario where they have to use their brain and they have to think. Putting them into the bath is a great way to burn their energy. Not only do they come out clean and smelling fresh, but they're tired for the rest of the night. I know with my personal dogs, whenever we do bath time that is the only thing we do that day. On the other hand, you have dogs that get more excited after the bath and run around like chickens lose out of the pen. Again this is 100% determined by your dog’s personality. 


Climbing anything


Teach your dog to climb up stuff. It could be as simple as the couch or a chair, or as complex as actually going hiking. When you teach them how to climb on something they have to use their body in a very different way than normal. If the linear motion of walking is now challenged by all of these different angles and maneuvers they have to do, they end up using their brain in a new way. Even having your dog jump over something, they have to use their front paws to guide them over the top; That is completely different than walking over something on the ground. While having your dog climb on something, be careful when you let them down. Many dogs have been known to injure their front paws from jumping off heights so you might want to carry them down.


Using balance equipment


If you've never heard of balance equipment before, consider this your introduction. Balance equipment allows your dog to stand in one spot by stimulating the neurological pathways that control their stabilizing muscles in balance. Simply put, put them on a wobbly surface, where they have to think about their body to control their movements. This is great for puppies because it helps them with proprioception later on in life. Sometimes just 10 minutes standing on an unstable surface is enough to wipe a dog out for the day.


Balancing vertical 


Teaching your dog how to stand on their hind two legs or actually in a handstand is an amazing way to burn their energy. Some dogs accidentally do this when they're getting off of something and they hold themselves in a handstand for a moment and other dogs do it as puppies when they're eating. But if you can control this and teach them how to use the actual muscles in their body I guarantee they will be wiped out very quickly. As we build up the muscle they will be able to do it longer and longer but in the meantime, you're burning their energy by making them do something that they've never done before. Go slow with this and teach them the appropriate way to stand on their hind legs and do a handstand without putting too much stress on their spine


Teach him to sniff


What's the most physically demanding task for a dog? Sniffing! You could teach him how to play hide and seek where you hide something and they search for it. Start off with food or maybe a very high-value smelly toy and place it in an easy-to-find area. Let your dog go into the room and when they find it, reward them with lots of praise and treats. Over time you would increase the difficulty of finding the object and you can record how long it takes your dog to find it. If it takes your dog too long to find the object then the level of difficulty is too hard. You want to make sure they're successful but still challenged where they want to try again and again. If it's too easy they're going to give up. If it's too difficult they're going to give up.


Have friends over


Now, this isn't applicable to every dog depending on how social they are but having friends over is a great way for you to do nothing and for your dog to get extremely tired. Be social! Coming out of a pandemic where no one was allowed to do anything, I would invite people over.  Just the excitement of having people over can be enough to tire a dog out, let alone all the playing that your friends and family are going to want to do with your dog the whole time they're there. If your family isn't that way, don't worry you can teach your dog to do fun tricks like going back and forth from person to person to get treats. This is a great way to get them running around without even really noticing it. The more you get your dog moving throughout the day consistently, the more tired they will be at night. It's when they sleep all day and then we try to do some energy burning that we can never catch up.  


Bring your dog with you everywhere you go


This might not be applicable to everybody but it is an amazing way to burn your dog's energy. You're tired at the end of the day because you did so much today, so why don't you bring your dog along the whole time if you can? Bring them to the office, bring them to lunch, and when you go for a walk to the car and back to the house. The more consistent you can burn their energy throughout the day the less stressful it's going to be on you towards the end of the day. More energy is going to be expended throughout the day. Think about a time when you were working and doing something productive all day, versus when you didn't do much and now you had to do a workout. It was much easier to go through that productive day than it was to stop doing what you're doing, get your bag ready, get the water ready and then go to the gym. If your life becomes more active, especially with your dog, you think less about “working out” and more about enjoying your time.




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