Dear Critter Corner: I love large breed dogs, but I work full-time and do not have the time to run a dog five hours a day. I am all for weekend adventures with a four-legged friend, but is there anything I can do to quickly tire a dog during the week?
This is a common problem that many people face. A bored dog is much more likely to get into mischief and develop behavioral problems to entertain themselves. But there is good news, there are ways to tire out your dog in a crunch! Many dogs are built to run forever, and even hours of non-stop running will hardly put a dent in their energy levels. However, doubling down and adding mental stimulation on top of physical stimulation can lead to the same result in a fraction of a time.
Imagine doing complex math problems non-stop for twenty minutes while running on a treadmill. The same theory applies to your dog. Next time you go to the park to play fetch/tug with your dog, try teaching them some new obedience in between tosses. This is the perfect time to teach a heel after a retrieve or perfect a recall. You will notice your dog panting heavily after mere minutes instead of hours because of how much they are taxing themselves.
Another fun activity is to take some treats with you on a walk, toss a treat into some tall grass or weeds, and have your dog “find-it” after a few seconds. This will activate their advanced olfactory system and tire them out quickly. You might think it’s easy for dogs to follow a scent, but the reality is their sense of smell is so good they have to parse through many smells that are imperceptible to humans in order to find the correct one.