When Walks Aren’t Enough: How to Mentally Stimulate Hyper Dogs

Sounds familiar: you walk your dog, give them fresh air and exercise on a regular basis, but they still get stir crazy? Fidgeting, constant pawing to play—whatever the indicators, you know that they’re still hyper. Well, as the AKC recognizes, “Physical exercise is great and necessary for a dog, but it’s only half of the equation. Your dog, intelligent creature that he or she is, also needs mental exercise.” Here are some ideas on how to tucker out your pup.

New Tricks & Toys

We believe you can teach an old dog (or any dog) a new trick! Plus, it’s fun for you both! The classics are always great if your dog doesn’t already know them – rollover, high-five, speak – but if you already know those, it’s time to get creative! Train your pup to fetch you a drink from the fridge, play dead with finger guns, anything you can think of! Need some ideas on where to start? Check out this video of our trainer Gustavo teaching a pup to “shake.”

Toys are also a good way to mix it up with your pup. Maybe they’ve been playing with the same stuffed duck with a broken squeaker for awhile and it’s time to pick out something new. Here’s a list of 15 stimulating dog toy options, including links on where to purchase them. Toys include an array of treat puzzles, snuffle mats, and more that are sure to exercise your dog’s brain, if not their whole body. Alternatively, why not take your dog out for a drive to your local pet store where they can pick out a new favorite friend!

Games & Nose Work

Not only are games fun, but they allow you to get creative and burn off some energy for your pup (and if you have kids, get them involved, too!). Hide and seek is a classic, dog-friendly game. Pick a spot in the house to “hide” and call your dog to come find you. Celebrate with lots of praise and pets when they find you (or with treats if you like!). Have you played the “shell game”? It’s an easy game that challenges your dog’s sense of smell. You hide a treat under one of three or four (or however many you want) cups and move them around before encouraging fido to find their favorite snack.

Speaking of scents, why not give nose work a try with your pup? For a simple way to start, practice “Place” with your dog, then hide their favorite treats around the room (or house) for them to find. Depending on your dog’s training, this might take some extra work and training to complete on command – give Off-Leash K9 a call to help out!

Play Dates

Call up a friend and their dog for a play date! Assuming your dog gets along with others, and always under supervision, get together for some social interaction between the pups. Whether at a park, dog park, or your backyard, playing with other pups is an easy, low-maintenance way to stimulate (and tire out) your active pup. If you don’t know anyone with another dog, search for community groups on Facebook or your preferred social media network to make new friends and get to know others in your community. If neither of those appeal to you, do some research into doggie day cares in your area. With up-to-date shots and records (and, optimally, vet approval) your dog can do a drop-in session to play, supervised, with other pups – even while you are at work!

Obedience Practice

Reinforcing the obedience behaviors from your Off-Leash K9 training are also a good option to stimulate your dog. It keeps them sharp and alert to you and your commands, and ensures that the training remains effective in all of your external social situations. You’re also always welcome to contact Off-leash K9 with training questions or needs, as all programs are backed with a satisfaction guarantee. Not trained yet, or ready for more advanced training? Contact us today to explore all of our obedience packages.


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