How to tire out a dog quickly

The fastest way to tire a dog out

Does your dog have unlimited energy? Looking for how to tire out a dog quickly?

Quality and quantity are not the same things. Improve the quality of your dog’s exercise and you may find yourself spending less time on it, all while reaping the benefits of a much happier and better-behaved dog.

Also be aware that you can over-exercise a dog. To learn more read “over-exercised dog symptoms“.

Here are the best ways to give your dog a good workout and how to tire out a dog quickly.


If your dog loves water swimming is a strenuous activity and an excellent way to tire ashepherd swimming dog quickly. Ten minutes of swimming is equivalent to an hour-long walk. If they are not a confident swimmer ensure you put a lifejacket on them and supervise them while in the water. Swimming is also a low weight-bearing exercise. This means it doesn’t put the stress on your dog’s bone and joints. It also requires strength for your dog to push their limbs through the water. This makes it an excellent exercise for building and conditioning muscles.

If you don’t access to a pool, river or the sea there are many canine hydrotherapy centers around that can provide swimming facilities for your dog.

For more on swimming exercise for dogs see here.

Flirt Pole

A flirt pole is like a big cat tickler with a stick, rope and a lure or toy attached to theflirtpole end. Move the lure around in circles or in all directions along the ground and your dog will chase it. Works with the dog’s natural prey instinct so will provide plenty of mental stimulation too. It important that this is a controlled game. You must teach your dog to release the lure when they catch it. For a full guide to flirt pole exercise for dogs see here.

View Flirt Poles on Amazon

Jolly Ball

A Jolly Ball is a nearly indestructible ball for dogs that they push and chase around. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and are also available with a handle or rope attached for tug of war. Check out the video to see what great exercise and fun they are for dogs.

View Jolly Balls on Amazon

Increase resistance

Add resistance to your dog’s workouts. This can be achieved in a number of ways

Add weight to your dog by using a backpack or weighted vest. The general rule of thumb is no more than 10% of their body weight. This prevents injury or strain to their back or joints.

Walk or run on terrain that gives extra resistance. Examples of this are running on sand or in shallow water. Also, incorporate walking or running up stairs or up hills. For more on stair exercise for dogs see here.

Use a resistance parachute. This is a parachute that attaches to a weight vest and uses the wind to provide resistance. Alternatively, use a drag bag to add resistance.

resistance parachute

High-intensity interval training

Interval training is commonly used by human athletes. This is any kind of exercise that involves quick bursts of activity followed by a short rest or steady walking to recover.

Running, biking or skating with your dog

dog runningThe faster your dog is moving the more energy they will release. Try running, biking or skating with your dog to really get them moving. Just be sure to build up the distance and intensity of the activity over time to prevent causing injury to your dog. Read “Running with your dog” for more on this.

Set up an agility or obstacle circuit in your backyard

You can set up obstacles such as tunnels and jumps and when you have a spare five to ten minutes to run them through the course a few times.
See dog agility equipment on Amazon.

Alternatively, try Urban agility. This is when you use natural obstacles you come across on your walk. This may be things like jumping up and then off of a park bench. Or jumping a fence or climbing up on a large rock.

Make use of a treadmill

Walking on a treadmill is not going to be a substitute for going for a walk, but a least it will provide some release of physical energy. Once your dog is trained to walk on the treadmill you can fit in any other small tasks you have to do while they walk. Obviously, you will need to stay nearby and supervise for safety.

Play with other dogs

Provide the opportunity to socialize and play with other dogs whenever possible. This not only helps to release physical energy, but it also provides socialization and a mental release for your dog. Dogs can tire each other quickly with running around and play fighting.

Find activities that burn energy fast in a short time period.

There are many games you can play with your dog that use energy including

Fetch – throw a ball or toy a dozen or so times when you have a spare minute. To increase the intensity throw down a hill or stairs

Frisbee – throwing a frisbee will really get your dog moving

Tug of War – play a game of Tug of War with your dog. Make them crouch and pull back using extra energy.

Spring Pole – a spring pole is a rope with a spring with a toy or lure on the end that is attached to a tree or beam. Encourage your dog to grab the toy and pull. They will play tug of war by themselves.

Automatic ball launcher automatic ball launcher will throw the ball for your dog. If you have a dog that loves chasing balls one of these is an absolute must. Once they know how to drop the ball into the launcher they can quite happily ball fetch by themselves.  Read this article for more information on automatic ball launchers

With a little imagination, there are countless quick easy games like these that will go a long way to releasing that pent-up energy.

Use a dog activity monitor

A dog activity monitor allows you to measure how much exercise, activity and rest your dog is getting. It is much simpler to manage and increase if required your dog’s exercise if you know how much they are getting. For more on this read “9 Reasons to use a dog activity monitor

How to tire a dog out mentally

Providing for your dog’s physical health through exercise is good and very necessary, but channeling your dog’s mind is equally as important. Mental stimulation can tire out a dog as quickly as physical exercise.
Read “Mental enrichment and Mind stimulation” for more on this and to learn about the six types of mental enrichment and mind stimulation.tornado puzzle

Two of the best ways to provide mental enrichment is through toys including puzzle and interactive toys (see “Top  Puzzle Toys for Dogs“) and thorough scenting and nose games. (See “12 Scenting and Tracking Nose Games” for more)

Using dog toys to mentally challenge your dog.

There are three main categories of dog toy: Chew toys, interactive and puzzle toys and plush toys. If you understand the three main categories of dog toy you can develop a strategy to use the various toys to develop your relationship, teach important skills and behaviors and help to make your dog calm, balanced and happy.
For more on the three types of dog toy read “Secrets to maximize the benefit of your dog’s toys

View dog toys on Amazon

Chew Toys

Chewing is a natural instinct for dogs and has many benefits including keeping them busy and occupying and stimulating their minds. To learn more about the benefits of and the best chew toys see here.

Why play scenting and tracking nose games?

Scenting and tracking nose games are an excellent way to provide that very importantscenting mental enrichment and mind stimulation that dogs truly need to be calm, well behaved and happy. When a puppy is born they are blind and deaf but their sense of smell is fully intact. The newborn puppy relies on this sense to decipher the world they have entered and it will continue to do so for their entire lives.

The nose rules the brain and the portion of the dog’s brain that is dedicated to examining scents is 40 times larger than that of humans. Scientists estimate that the dog’s brain can identify smells 1000 to 10,000 times better than humans. You can combine this extremely powerful sense of smell and a dog’s natural desire to hunt with their love of toys, food, and exercise to play many games.

You can have fun together, exercise your dog’s brain, and expend some of that pent-up energy all at the same time. Being a social animal, playing is very important in developing relationships and bonding.

How to tire out a puppy

Exercising a puppy is different from an adult dog. Their bones, muscles, tendon, and bodies are growing and developing. Over-exercising or the wrong type of exercise can cause injury. This can have serious effects on them in the future.

The best exercise for a puppy is short walks and free play with age-appropriate toys and playing games. For a full guide to how to exercise a puppy see here.

One of the best ways to tire out a puppy is by providing mental stimulation and enrichment. Mental exercise can tire a puppy or dog just as much as physical activity.

For more on mental stimulation and enrichment to tire a puppy see here.

In summary – how to tire a  dog out

If you are wanting to tire out your dog quickly, remember that quality and quantity are not the same. Find activities that burn energy quickly. by getting your dog moving fast. In addition, don’t underestimate the ability of mental exercise as a way to tire a dog. Also, be consistent with your dog’s exercise. It is better to do something every day than to do one big session at the weekend. This is more likely to also cause injury.


  • Joseph Coleman

    A lifelong writer and proud dog dad. Joseph started this blog dedicated to helping other dog owners find accurate information on how to keep their pets at their healthiest through exercise and nutrition. His passion for all things canine shines through in his writing, and he believes that every dog deserves the best possible care. If you're a dog owner looking for reliable advice on how to keep your pup healthy and happy, be sure to check out Joseph's work.