A tired puppy is a good puppy, especially around bedtime. Neglecting to mentally and physically stimulate your furry pal during the day leave him with energy to burn at night -- not to mention it fosters behavioral problems that will disrupt your life. Plenty of ways exist to exercise your pet companion, and incorporating these after coming home can be the difference between enjoying a good night's sleep or having sleepless nights.
Physical exercise can help your pup burn pent-up energy. Take him for a leashed hike or a walk in the park, or play games, such as tug-of-war or fetch in a fenced-off yard. Consult a veterinarian about age- and breed-appropriate exercise, and let your puppy set the pace to avoid overexertion. (See References 1) If you have the energy after work, physically exercise with your puppy to tire him out. Play a vigorous game of fetch or tug-of-war in a fenced-off yard to a leashed hike or a walk in the park. To avoid overexerting your puppy, let him set the pace. If he keeps stopping or wants to lie down, he most likely has had enough. If he's destructive at home, increase the amount of exercise to help him burn energy.
Your pup's ancestors had to fend for themselves, and that required lots of brain work. Making your puppy work for his dinner can mimic that tiring mental stimulation. A food-stuffed dog toy requires him to sniff out the treats; a bone is a stress-reliever that contributes to relaxing your pup. Another way to mentally simulate your pet companion is by undertaking short, daily obedience training sessions. With plenty of praise and treats, you can make this learning process a fun game to your pup. A round of obedience practice in the evening keeps him sharp and expends some energy.
If you're tired after work or if the weather is bad, exercise your pet companion indoors. Chasing the light of a laser pointer is fun game that doubles as exercise for him while you can sit and relax. Hiding treats and having your puppy seek them out is another way to satisfy his exercise needs, as is a supervised play date with another puppy, which also helps develop his social skills.
Consult a veterinarian about your pup's exercise requirements. Excessive and forced exercise can negatively affect your puppy's bone and joint development. Although your pup might seem to enjoy certain vigorous exercise, he might suffer the consequences in his later years, especially if he's a large or giant breed. Avoid running on hard surfaces that can damage his foot pads and always provide water to keep him cool.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.