How to tire out a puppy

Puppy sleeping on wood floor
(Image credit: Getty Images)

 While puppies may be small in size they are big in energy levels. From the moment they open their eyes till they go to bed at night, they are buzzing with energy. If you are reading this article, you probably want to know how to tire out a puppy. Well, you’re at the right place. Dr Joanna Woodnutt gave us her top tips to get your pup sleeping better.

Just like human babies, pups need a lot of sleep. Sleep is crucial for their growth and development. Having some essentials like the best puppy toys will be key for providing stimulation. You can also try out some of the best dog chew toys to help them naw out their urge to chew things. These toys coupled with the tips below should have your cute little furball tired out in no time.  

Dr Joanna Woodnutt BVM BVS BVMedSci MRCVS
Dr Joanna Woodnutt

Dr Joanna Woodnutt graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom in 2016 and went on to practice companion animal medicine in the Midlands. She quickly developed a love of consulting and helping clients with medical problems such as dermatology, behavior, and nutrition. Dr Woodnutt is a regular contributor to PetsRadar providing readers with expert advice on how to raise happy and healthy pets.

Ways to tire out a puppy indoors 

puppy play tug a war with towel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

 When the weather is bad, thinking of ways to tire out your puppy inside can be tricky. Combined with the shorter days, it can be hard to tire out a puppy during the winter months in particular.

However, when thinking of activities to do with your puppy, remember that mental stimulation is just as important as physical. Like children, young puppies don’t seem to tire out from running around – but learning and using their brains is much harder. Here are three of our top ideas for indoor games with a puppy. 

I’ve recently taken to doing this once a day with my adult dog to tire her out and help her (and us!) sleep through the night. Hide the best dog treats and then get your dog to find them. This allows them to use their nose and brains to solve the puzzle.

Most puppies love a game of tug, and it’s a great bonding experience for both of you. It doesn’t require much space and physically isn’t too strenuous on young joints, especially if you play on a carpet or rug to provide good traction.

There are endless quick and easy tricks to teach your dog. Working on new tricks is tiring it’s best not to do it for more than five minutes at a time, so make sure to intersperse with other games. 

When it comes to bedtime, you might want to try one of the best puppy sleep aids.

 Ways to tire out a puppy outdoors 

Puppies playing in the grass

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When the weather is bad, thinking of ways to tire out your puppy inside can be tricky. Combined with the shorter days, it can be hard to tire out a puppy during the winter months in particular.

However, when thinking of activities to do with your puppy, remember that mental stimulation is just as important as physical. Like children, young puppies don’t seem to tire out from running around – but learning and using their brains is much harder. Here are three of our top ideas for indoor activities with a puppy.

Hide and seek not only practices recall, but it activates your dog’s senses and encourages them to solve problems. Get one person to hold your dog whilst you hide. Call your puppy to you, helping him to find you. Give him lots of praise – and tasty puppy treats – when he figures it out, then let the next person hide.

Essentially dog agility on the fly, parkour involves looking for walls to jump on, poles to weave, and benches to jump over whilst out on a walk. Your dog will have to focus on you and your expectations of him, which is much harder than usual – making the walk much more tiring than just following his own whim.

One surprisingly tiring thing is having new experiences. Whilst the ‘socialization period’ is up to 16 weeks, even after this you should continue to expose your pup to new experiences. To tire them out, consider taking them for a walk near cows, or taking them to a dog park. Even doing your usual walk in reverse can open up new experiences and make him think differently. Just make sure your puppy has a positive experience – treats and plenty of distance until they are confident.

 How to get a puppy to sleep 

Puppy sleeping behind curtain

(Image credit: Getty Images)

 Getting a puppy to sleep is fairly easy, but learning how to get a puppy to sleep through the night is a little harder and can be something many owners struggle with during those first few weeks after bringing home a new puppy.

Firstly, you’ll need to make sure your puppy is tired. Try not to let them nap in the evening so that they are ready to sleep when it comes to your bedtime. Using things like dog feeding puzzles, training games, and other forms of mental stimulation. If they have a busy day stimulating their developing brain, they will sleep more deeply at night.

Secondly, it’s important to set a good bedtime routine so that your puppy knows what’s expected of him. Let him out for his last bathroom break just before bed, so he has a chance to empty his bladder. Make sure your pup has somewhere cozy and inviting to snuggle up in. Investing in one of the best dog crates can help with building strong sleep associations. Consider using command words like ‘bed’ or ‘night night’ to indicate that it’s bedtime now.

Whilst your puppy is young, they can’t hold their bladder all night and you’ll have to let them out. It’s best to do this by setting yourself an alarm during the night rather than wait for your puppy to cry, as this teaches him how to get attention. Don’t be tempted to play with him or fuss him too much – take him out, let him relieve himself, then take him straight back to bed until the next time, or in the morning. 

You may wonder how much sleep does a puppy need, the short answer is… a lot. According to the American Kennel Club, puppies usually sleep between 18-20 hours a day. You may find that your puppy is more wakeful during the night, but don’t worry, you aren’t doing anything wrong and hopefully, these tips will help you and your pup get more sleep.  

How to tire out a puppy without playing

puppy playing with ball

(Image credit: Getty Images)

 There may be certain situations where you can’t play with your puppy to tire him out. Perhaps playing gets him too riled up, or maybe he’s had a recent operation and is supposed to be resting. What now? Luckily, mental stimulation can still be tiring, so it is possible to wear your dog out without doing any exercise at all.

Try training a new command, or practicing old ones. Puzzle feeders are a great way to push your dog to use his brain with minimal effort from you. Other brain games for dogs are great for mental stimulation too. Just take care that you make any games and puzzles as easy as possible to start with until he gets the hang of it, otherwise, you can just end up frustrating your puppy.

Conclusion

 Whether you’re tiring out a puppy at night to get good sleep or you want to tire him out before a big event such as a vet appointment, a combination of mental and physical stimulation is the best way to ensure your puppy behaves himself as well as allowing you to get some rest too.

Also remember to take care of yourself, if you’re in the midst of sleepless nights try to work in some self-care tips to help refill your tank. 

Dr Joanna Woodnutt MRCVS

After graduating as a veterinarian from the University of Nottingham, Dr Joanna Woodnutt went on to practice companion animal medicine in the Midlands. She quickly developed a love of consulting and helping clients with medical problems such as dermatology, behaviour and nutrition - anything that involved helping clients understand their pets better. Jo started writing about pet health in 2017, realising that it meant she could help even more pet parents. Since then, she has written for countless online and print publications and is a regular contributor for Edition Dog Magazine. Jo now lives in the Channel Islands with her husband Ian and terrier Pixie, and they are expecting their first child very soon.