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How do you wear a dog out mentally?


Just like humans, dogs (and cats, too!) need stimulation and exercise to live long and happy lives. Not only does consistent stimulation and exercise help promote good behavior it also helps deter destructive behaviors. When you allot a set amount of time to work with your animal, you are aiding in their health by preventing obesity, strengthening of their cardiovascular health & muscles, reducing digestive problems, keeping joints mobile & supple, and keeping their brain active. In other avenues, when you provide outdoor stimulation for your puppy you are also promoting housetraining. When you go on frequent scheduled walks, it can promote your pet’s ability to cope with your absences, build confidence and trust for your pet, and increase socialization with people and other dogs.


So we know why exercise and stimulation is important, but what are the best ways to provide this for your pet, especially in the coldest months of the year? Many ideas and suggestions are listed all over the internet but how can you find what is best for your pet that fits your lifestyle? Before you can begin to provide the right activities for your furry friend you’ll want to sit down and think about four topics.

The first topic: What is your dog’s breed? Most breeds were bred for

a specific job (such as herding, retrieval, searching) and satisfying their natural inclinations will provide them with the most satisfaction.

The second topic: Age. Accounting for how old your pet is will help you determine how much exercise they should be receiving each day. Younger dogs & puppies may benefit more from frequent short bursts of exercise rather than long, sustained activities. Most dogs should have at least 20 minutes of active stimulation each day along with 1-2 walks. Higher energy breeds/dogs will require more activity, but this should be determined individually.

The third topic: Health. If your pet has a specific health issue, it may prevent them from doing certain activities without injuring themselves, causing pain, or more. Be mindful of their body structure as well: avoid stairs/jumping with long-backed dogs (e.g. Dachshunds, Corgis, Basset Hounds), avoid extended strenuous activities for brachycephalic dogs (e.g. Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, Pekingeses, Shih Tzus), and any other specific health issues of your particular dog.

The fourth topic:

Personality. You know your pet better than anyone and what they may enjoy doing. Some dogs find walks boring and would rather sniff out their food in a game, while others like exploring the great outdoors more than fetching a ball.

Once you have taken these four items into consideration you can start to put a plan together for your pet. Catering all activities and durations to your dog will help keep things safe and fun. If you ever have questions or concerns, remember to always consult your veterinarian.


So now you know about how to determine the type and duration of exercise your pet should be receiving but what are some proactive ways for them to receive it? Some ideas for these colder months that we are currently engulfed in, are the following:

Obedience classes – Mental and physical stimulation can be accomplished together if you decide to invest in obedience classes. Something fun for you and your furry friend to work on together helps you form a bond together getting you both out of the house for a bit too!

Walking/Running – Those short potty breaks during the winter can be turned into a quick walk around the block with the right equipment. Make sure your pet has booties to protect those paws and a coat if necessary to keep them warm and protected while walking during the colder months. (And make sure you’re bundled up properly, too!)

Stairs – Do you live in a home with accessible stairs? This can be a great way to have a little fun and exercise too, all within the comfort of your warm home! Throw a toy up the stairs for them to retrieve or maybe try putting some lean treats or pieces of kibble scattered for them to find, either way those stairs can make great exercise for pets.

Tug o’ war/Fetch – Best part about this, it’s an indoor and outdoor kind of play!

Doggie daycares – Most daycare facilities offer hours that fit almost every schedule whether you work early mornings or late afternoons. Depending on your dog’s personality will determine what kind of exercise they get during the day at the facility! (i.e. group play or individual play)

Mental Games

Exercise is important for your pet’s physical health but what about their mental health as well? This is where stimulation comes into what your pet’s daily routine should be like. Here are some fun ways to provide your dog with ways to keep their mind occupied:

Kong toys – Fill it with frozen peanut butter, or small treats; either way they’ll have to work a little for them!

Puzzle toys – Hide a treat or two and leave it for them. They’ll eventually figure it out and enjoy it too.

Slow feeders – Makes them work for their food and helps promote slow eating patterns!

Learn a new trick/command – This can be as simple as introducing a word for a new toy, the perfect time to teach them to grab their own leash, shake with each paw, or maybe even roll over for a belly rub or two!

Overall, exercise and mental stimulation are different, but both are important to your pet’s daily routine. A balanced routine should have an increase in good behaviors you love to see and a decrease in destructive behaviors like barking, chewing, or inappropriate eliminating due to stress and anxiety. Don’t push your pets too far as it’s not about duration. Try breaking up their activities into segments extending throughout the day. A good example would be twenty minutes play time in the morning, mental stimulation throughout the day, short walk when you get home, and then a little brush up on some command training before bed. You can find things that fit within your schedule and your pet’s personality/lifestyle to provide enrichment.

Written by: Alexis


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5 Ways to Tire Out Your High-Energy Dog

5 Ways to Tire Out Your High-Energy Dog

Imagine you come back from your morning walk with your dog, your coffee is brewed, toast prepared and you’ve just sat down at your computer to start the workday. And then it hits: the zoomies.

Your high-energy dog won’t settle down, and they’re bouncing off the walls ready to play with you. For most of us, we don’t even have to imagine it — it is the reality of having a high-energy pooch. Whether it’s freezing cold or a heat wave outside, there are a million reasons we can’t always fit in a 30-minute walk, or more, before the workday begins. So we’ve compiled 5 tried-and-true ways to tire out your high-energy dog.

1. Don’t take the same route every morning on that dog walk. Surprisingly, a lot of dogs’ energy is actually expended through mental stimulation (you’ll see this might be a theme later on). By taking your dog on the same route every single day, there’s less adventure involved for them. If you take your dog on a new path they haven’t seen before, they will burn energy through the excitement of finding new scents and places to mark their territory. Mixing it up will help tire out your dog by keeping them alert and on their toes for what’s next.

2. Try a slow feeder. Besides helping to control your dog’s eating speed, a slow feeder is another excellent way to tire out your high-energy dog. Instead of scarfing down that first meal of the day in a matter of seconds, a slow feeder will help create a challenge for your dog making them have to work and think as they enjoy their food. Plus, if you combine a slow feeder with some freeze-dried raw dog food on top or mixed in, or even a collagen-rich bone broth for dogs, then your dog is in for a real treat.

If your pup is still full of energy even after a walk with a new route and breakfast or dinner from a slow feeder, try rolling a few delicious yet healthy dog treats or even some dry dog food kibble into their dog blanket or an old t-shirt. Having them try to unravel the blanket or t-shirt to find the goodies will stimulate the brain, tire out the dog and occupy them for up to an hour.

3. Reserve five minutes for a quick training session. Dogs love to be trained. It gives them purpose, sense of accomplishment and challenges them mentally which, again, is a great way to tire out your high-energy dog. Whether it’s practicing their “sit,” “place” or “spin,” your dog will be left feeling both connected to you and accomplished afterwards – ready for a well-deserved snooze fest at your feet just in time for that presentation you’ve been preparing for.

4. Get an interactive toy. Whether it’s a Kong filled with peanut butter, or something they can take apart, you’ll tire out your dog by putting them on a mission. As you may know, here at Open Farm, we’re pet parents, too! One thing we love to do is freeze some organic bone broth for dogs in an ice-cube tray. Your dog will go nuts for the flavor and the mental stimulation, and the slow melting of the ice will keep them licking for enough time for you to brush your teeth, make your bed and get ready for the workday ahead.

5. Lastly, if all else fails. exercise. Tiring out your high-energy dog might just mean they need more exercise than you can give them on your own each day. If this is the case, it’s time to explore a dog walker, playgroup or take them to doggy daycare every once in a while. Doing so allows them to run around, burn off that extra energy and spend time with other dogs which is especially stimulating as well.

Ultimately, the most important thing is that you and your pet can have fun while you tire out that high-energy dog. There’s nothing more fulfilling than spending quality time with your pet or knowing that you’re expanding their horizons through mental stimulation. The bonus is that you now know how to tire out a dog and will have some peace and quiet the next time you get a calendar notification for your next meeting.

5 Ways To Tire Your Dog Out

5 Ways To Tire Your Dog Out

If you own a German shepherd, then you know how active they are. They’re definitely not the type of dog that’s content to chill out on the couch all day. They need an outlet for all their energy, or they can become anxious and even destructive.

Since they were bred to work, it’s in their nature to be busy and active. They are also super smart and love to use their mind to learn new things, solve problems, and find ways to entertain themselves.

A bored German shepherd is never a good idea. They can and will find ways to keep themselves busy. And usually, the activities they come up with on their own wouldn’t be your first choice of entertainment.

This energetic and inquisitive nature is what makes them so special and why they are used to doing real jobs, like working alongside the police, and military, on working ranches, in search and rescue, as service animals, and much more.

But their work ethic is also what makes them a challenge to own for people not prepared to spend hours training, exercising, and playing with their dogs. But the good news is, they don’t have to have a “real” job to be content.

With a little planning and preparation, even busy German shepherds can make great family pets. But the investment of time and love you put into your dog will be repaid to you tenfold with their loyalty and devotion.

Here are five ways you can tire your German shepherd out:

1. Kick your walk up a notch

German shepherds love to walk, hike, and explore with their noses. You can help burn off some of their mental and physical energy by taking on a walk in new places, such as a new neighborhood, in the woods, on the beach, in a park, on a city street, pet-friendly store, and more.

When they are in new territory, they engage their senses in new ways by using their nose to pick up new scents, their eyes to see new things, and their ears to hear new sounds. This stimulation is not only entertaining, but it will also wear them out.

These types of walks take a little planning since you’ll most likely have to drive to your walking location but once there, you and your dog will not only get some exercise, but it will also help strengthen your bond because you’ll be doing something new and having something to look forward to together.

2. Go back to school

German shepherds are lifelong learners. They thrive when they are challenged and can learn new things. So as long as your dog is still physically fit, they may enjoy some new challenges in a new environment.

Obedience classes and dog sports might be something to try with your pup. Your dog will have to have some basics down before attending. So, brush up on their recall, stays, down, and heel, and then head toward a class near you. Preparing to return to school is also a way to help tire your dog out.

Since German shepherds have lots of drive, they usually love sports. Some ideas to check out include dock diving, swimming, flyball, barn hunt, flyball, advanced obedience/rally, agility, herding, tracking, and Schutzhund.

3. Tug games

Playing tug with your dog can be a powerful training tool. It’s rewarding, fun, and engaging as well as physically active. It helps teach your dog to bring things back to you and reinforces the release command as well as improves impulse control.

When you teach your dog to play tug, they’ll learn how to have fun with their tug, learn to release the tug on command (outing), and learn to return the tug to you for the next round.
Tug teaches dogs that it’s fun and rewarding to bring toys back to you so that you can play again, and that hoarding isn’t rewarding.

Dogs also learn they can win and celebrate their prize without being dominant, which also helps prevent resource guarding and encourages them to listen and return to you. Playing tug is something that doesn’t take a lot of room, is rewarding, and is always something that you do together, which makes it a win-win for you and your pup.

4. Practice new skills

Your German shepherd loves to use their mind and also please you. They are happiest when you’re together just doing stuff. Your dog may have already learned the basics and more but there really is no limit to how many things they can learn.

By teaching them a new trick or improving upon an area of training, you can help tire them out. Learning new things is also great for older dogs who may not have the physical ability they once did but still enjoy keeping their mind sharp.

You can make it more challenging by teaching them something new with distractions, in different rooms, at new places, and even on walks. Everywhere you go is really an opportunity to reinforce their training and reward them, which helps use up some of their energy.

It is amazing how just a few minutes of training sprinkled throughout the day will engage them and keep them occupied and focused. Of course, they will want a reward for all their hard work and that’s when you can top off their energy with some rewarding playtime.

5. Plenty of exercise and playtime

No matter how much training you do, your German shepherd will still need to run and play, every single day. When they can’t go outside because of bad weather or something, you can play some games indoors, such as tug, hide and seek, or scent work but there is no replacement for them getting moving outdoors.

Since they are athletic and have a lot of endurance, they need to run, jog, chase, catch, and release their pent-up zoomies so they can relax and be calm indoors. This is not optional for them, and they don’t do well when they can’t go out and burn off their pent-up energy.

Short training sessions followed by exercise and playtime are very rewarding for them. Some ideas include brisk walking, loose leash running, swimming, find it, backyard agility, and playing catch/fetch with a ball or and the flying disc.

We hope that these tips help you and your dog have some fun together. German shepherds are great dogs but require work and commitment to meet their needs and need a family willing to provide it.

They are worth every minute for people who have the time and energy to spend with them. There is no better breed and not many require the same activity level that they do. As always, please feel free to share with your friends.

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