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How to Tire Out Your High-Energy, Hyper Dog

My dog Ace was a lower-energy dog, and I loved that about him.

Ace was perfectly fine with a 20-minute walk each day, and he didn’t seem to mind if we missed a day or two. He was a nice balance for me, because I tend to get obsessive about exercise.

Of course, a lot of dogs require much, much more exercise than Ace.

My pup Remy seems to have explosive energy, even now that he’s 5 years old.

He continues to shock my senior cat and I every day as he continues to just go-go-go!

So, I reached out to some owners of “supercharged” dogs and asked how they manage all that energy.

How to tire out a hyper dog

How to tire out your hyper dog

How to tire out a dog – lots of exercise – a walk just isn’t enough

Mort the Kelpie mix

Mort the kelpie mix

Jen deHaan says she has yet to completely wear out her dog Mort.

“I did manage to tire him a little after 24 hours of flyball competition in a single weekend,” she said. “Almost.”

If left to his own devices Mort would probably run and play until he collapsed, according to deHaan.

“I’ve taken him out to a regional park with a lake and hills to run up and down, and he swam and ran full speed for over three hours,” she said.

“He rested for the 45-minute car ride home, and as soon as we got inside he found a ball and was ready to sprint around the house again.”

Read more about Mort and deHaan at DOGthusiast.

Alfie the Entlebucher mountain dog

Alfie the Entlebucher mountain dog

“There is no way on this earth that I could tire him out by leash walking alone,” said Linda Liebrand about her dog Alfie.

She said she thinks of him as a small nuclear plant or a self-charging battery.

“I take him for a long walk, using up his batteries. He sleeps for an hour or two, recharging, and when he wakes up he’d happily do the walk all over again!”

She said she tries not to miss walks with Alfie because he would likely turn into a really stressed and poorly mannered dog.

Border collies Roxy and Summit


Bonnie Joy Dewkett and her husband are the owners of two dogs, Roxy and Summit (pictured).

“We are not either dog’s first family, as they were both given up previously by people who couldn’t take the activity level,” she said.

She takes her dogs walking, running or hiking on average about 15 miles per week.

Mia the pitbull/Lab mix

Natalie Maniscalco adopted her dog Mia from the Bidewee animal shelter in Manhattan.

Her 5-year-old dog has slowed down a bit these days, but she used to exercise Mia for at least an hour a day. This would include running, walking and throwing a ball.

Another trick she uses to tire out Mia is to play tug of war. She said Mia likes to pull, shake and twist at a rope or other toy.

See more dog exercise tips here.

How to tire out a hyper, high energy dog
Mia, the mixed breed do

How to tire out a dog mentally

Training, dog sports and other mental challenges

On her walks with Alfie, Liebrand (pictured below) tries to vary the locations as much as she can, as that adds to her dog’s mental stimulation. 

She also tries to build in a variety of fun games and training. For example, she:

  • Finds spots to do some “urban agility” such as getting Alfie to jump up on a park bench, balance on a low brick wall, sit on a rock, etc.
  • Plays games of fetch on land or in water.
  • Works on obedience skills such as heeling, coming when called, etc.
  • Hides toys and treats and plays “find it.”
Alfie and Linda Liebrand

She and Alfie also participate in nose work classes, which she said is a brilliant activity for high-energy dogs.

Mort and deHaan are also involved in different activities such as flyball and disc dog, and deHaan suggests other dog owners look into dog sports as well.

“These activities help you develop a strong bond with your energetic dog and keeps him content during down-time,” she said.

Finding an off switch – teaching the dog when play is over

Liebrand and deHaan stressed that if you have a high-energy dog, you must teach him a command to signal play is over, for example “finished.”

“It really is the best command in the world as it teaches your dog when play time is over,” Liebrand said.

She taught Alfie the command by saying “finished” when she wanted playtime to end. Then she would give him a treat and walk away.

“The dog will quickly learn that playtime is over when you say so,” she said.

I actually use a similar command with Ace – “that’s enough!” – to signal when fetch is over.

See my post: How to teach your dog when play is over

Tips for people who recently adopted a high-energy dog

Remy the weimaraner

Make time for exercising your dog

If you’ve recently adopted a hyper dog, the best thing to do is take the time to tire him out, according to Dewkett. It will make your life so much easier!

“If you can work out with them first thing in the morning, even better,” she said.

And for anyone thinking of getting a high-energy breed, Liebrand said if the dog books say the breed may need an hour of daily exercise, remember that a puppy or young dog of that breed will have even more energy.

Puzzle toys to tire out a dog mentally

Dewkett recommends puzzle-type toys throughout the day, which is what she gives her border collies when she’s in meetings and can’t pay attention to her dogs as much as she’d like.

Make sure you’re ready

For deHaan, high-energy dogs are incredibly fun and worth the extra work in training and activity, but they’re not for everyone.

“Make sure that if you choose to adopt a dog like this you’re ready for a bit of an extra time commitment when it comes to keeping him or her busy and content,” she said.

Do you have a high-energy dog? How do you tire out your dog?

Let me know in the comments!

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How to tire out a hyper dog

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[…] How to Tire Out Your High-Energy, Hyper Dog […]

Dena Kellar

Thursday 19th of August 2021

My 7 month old Golden Retriever Molly is high energy, I train my dogs to run with a cable hooked to my 4 wheeler since I'm handicapped, My other 2 goldens did fine but Molly can not be tired out I take her 2 or 3 times a day about 1/4 to 1/2 mile each time and in between I play ball or toss plush squeaky toys also mind toys never tired of playing.

Cynthia Chagin

Saturday 6th of June 2020

I run a dog boarding business in my home. One of my first dogs was a Husky puppy...she was a handful! But I thought of a brilliant idea that kept her busy for HOURS. I filled a plastic bag with water, a tire toy and long chew treat and froze it into one large solid block of ice. I left a tiny bit of the toy and treat poking through the ice so she'd be motivated to work on it and she did and it kept her cool in the summer. She loved it and it saved my sanity.

Meg Sheridan

Sunday 6th of October 2019

I have a 1.5 year Belgian Malinois. She is high energy but not insane like some Mals. I tire her out by playing frisbee. She catches them in mid-flight. It did take awhile to make her a frisbee dog though. She only likes the HyperPet frisbees. We do this 2x a day. Another activity that is great fun - monkey in the middle. My daughter plays softball so we just play catch in the yard and the dog runs like a nut. I keep a squeak ball in my pocket that I "drop" so she stays interested. A great game for a rainy day - tug! I use a bit pillow and she tires pretty quickly. For mental exercise, we compete in Nosework so we are training 5x a week. This really helps drain some energy too.


Tuesday 1st of October 2019

I’ve got two Weimaraners. Drax 1 1/2 and Elle 7mos now. They are the 4th & 5th weims I’ve owned over my lifetime. They rarely settle down unless I’m in the kitchen trying to cook. In which case they are sprawled so I constantly step over. They run (separately) with me in the morning, walk evenings together and trips to the dog park. Even so- they are constant movement. I have peace when they are crated (which they do well). They will settle more as they age (their “off” switch will last a bit longer), but as long as they aren’t destructive, jumping on people or otherwise running amuck I just have learned to roll with the fact they generally just can’t sit still. But, I knew what I signed on for so to speak. I do love their couch potato mode- although rare:)

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 1st of October 2019

Haha! Oh boy do I understand! Having two young weims would be extra challenging! Or maybe they entertain each other!