How To Tire Out A Puppy – And Keep Them Safe
Puppies are boundless little balls of energy - so how to tire them out even? Turns out a tired puppy is a happy puppy and with a few of these tips & tricks, you'll be on your way to keeping your little buddy healthy and safe - all in one.
Puppies are just little balls of energy, aren’t they? You walk them, play with them all day – and they still want to bolt out an open door and explore the great outdoors. So if you’ve found yourself surrounded by a pile of dog toys, wondering “How to tire out a puppy?”, you’re part of a big family of loving dog parents out there asking themselves the same question.
Because as it turns out, tiring out your puppy regularly is key to keeping them healthy. It’s also a great way to prevent your little buddy from running away from home and getting lost. Or channeling their energy away from destructive tendencies. (Like chewing on your slippers or ripping up your cushions.)
So in this post, we’re going to cover important questions like why your little buddy is so hyper, when they start to calm down, and how to tire out a puppy best. Plus, how you can take a more active role in your puppy’s health and safety by following their every step.
Ready to get active? Let’s dive right in.
Table of contents
- Why is my puppy so hyper?
- Puppies & untrained dogs are more likely to get lost
- When do puppies start to calm down?
- How to tire out a puppy – indoors & outdoors
- How to tire out a puppy – with regular training
- Remember: A tired puppy is a safe, happy puppy
Why is my puppy so hyper?
For such tiny furballs, it’s pretty fascinating how puppies are so full of energy! So here are a couple of reasons why your puppy tends to be so hyper.
Your puppy is growing up & getting stronger
Between birth to around 8 weeks (or 2 months), your puppy is growing and learning to explore the world around them with their newer, stronger little legs. Just like human toddlers, they now have the speed and energy to just run around everywhere and burn off tons of energy. (Even more so if they’re an active, high-energy dog breed.)
Your puppy’s senses are improving
Your puppy’s senses are also growing and developing when they’re small.1 In fact, puppies are born deaf and blind – it’s only with their sense of smell that they can navigate the world. (Which, for at least a few weeks, is Mama dog and the milk she provides.)
So as your puppy grows, their sight, sound, and smell all gradually improve. Especially their sense of smell, which can drive them nuts with curiosity! Now your puppy can smell nearly 100,000 times better than when they were first born. (So no wonder they want to sniff every tree, leaf, bush, animal, or person they meet when you take them outdoors.)
How much you’re socializing your puppy
Your puppy’s pent-up energy might come out in some destructive ways. But this can depend on how often you socialize them. Aka, make sure they’re spending enough time around other puppies, people, and pets. (Including older dogs and even cats.)
In fact, puppies who don’t get to socialize with other dogs usually turn out more hyperactive than those that do get these opportunities.2 They just have so much pent-up energy that they don’t quite learn how boundaries work – across pets and people alike.
But by roughhousing and playing with other puppies, your little buddy actually learns puppy “etiquette” a whole lot better than if they were just playing with you. And even better if you have an older dog (or even cat) at home who can (gently) teach them some manners.
In the long run, this can help curb your little buddy’s destructive tendencies and help them chill out more.
Puppies & untrained dogs are more likely to get lost
Being a loving dog parent, we know you’re doing 200% to make sure your little buddy is growing up in a loving environment. And it’s actually because your puppy loves you and trusts you that they feel comfortable to run around and explore so much.
⚠️ But with that said, puppies and untrained dogs are actually two of the most likely to get lost if they bolt off on instinct when outdoors.
And with their underdeveloped senses and lack of training, your puppy might not be able to sniff their way back home. Plus, the great outdoors comes with dangers of every form – people, pets, pet thieves, predators, pesticides, poisonous plants, poisonous substances, and more.
A microchip is a permanent ID tag for your puppy. Once they’re 8 weeks old, be sure to get them to a vet so they can quickly and painlessly insert a microchip implant between your puppy’s shoulder blades.
- Now if your puppy gets lost, a helpful stranger can take them to a vet or a local animal shelter.
- Where they can scan your buddy for a microchip, find out your contact details, and get in touch with you.
A dog GPS tracker
Keeping tabs on your energetic puppy throughout the day can get pretty tedious. So imagine being able to track your puppy’s movements in real-time – with just a glance at your phone?
- Or getting an alert on your phone if your puppy is trying to sneak past a “safe zone” that you’ve set up?
- Or learning your puppy’s favorite spots and where they like to explore the most?
- Or being able to track your puppy across an unlimited range – no matter how far they run off?
You might’ve heard of your peers hanging a Tile or Apple AirTag to their pets’ collars to find them. But here’s our advice: avoid these Bluetooth-powered item finders. They’re built for tracking your wallet, keys, or backpack – not living, moving puppies who can dig a hole under your fence or bolt off at 15-20 miles (24-32 km) per hour into the outdoors.
(For reference, Usain Bolt can run at a maximum speed of 27 miles/43 km per hour. Can you? Makes chasing down a runaway puppy not the smartest idea, if you ask us.)
Besides, Bluetooth trackers are only options for a puppy if you’re vigilant 24/7. Or your little buddy doesn’t tend to wander off beyond the range of a neighborhood block.
💡 The Tractive GPS tracker, on the other hand, works across an unlimited range. Plus, it connects to mobile networks across 175 countries. So you can track your puppy even while on vacation.
Which is why we’d recommend a dedicated dog GPS tracker – for 24/7 peace of mind and a guarantee for your puppy’s safety.
Because the fear and panic of finding your little buddy missing is never worth it – while the joy of being able to follow their every step and finding them safe and sound always is.
Always know where your dog is
Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your dog too.
Read more: Tractive reviews on Trustpilot
When do puppies start to calm down?
It can take up to 1-2 years for your puppy to calm down and behave a little more.3 This has to do with how they grow and develop month over month.
- Between 2-4 months, your puppy is now in the “teenage” phase. So they’re still more curious and excitable and ready to bolt off at any minute. This is a great time to begin some basic obedience training to curb their rambunctiousness a bit.
- Between 4-6 months, your puppy will begin play-fighting with you, other pups, and even bigger dogs. (All in good fun, of course.) Make sure to provide them enough opportunities to socialize and learn their boundaries early on.
- Between 6-12 months, your puppy now counts as a semi-adult. Here’s where their exercise needs peak – you’ll need to keep them occupied as much as possible to prevent boredom.
💡Your Tractive GPS also helps you track your growing puppy’s everyday activity with its built-in Activity Tracking features. So you can ensure your little buddy’s getting enough exercise – and catch on more quickly if they’re not as active as before. (Which might indicate an illness, infection, or injury, in some cases.)
Most puppies tend to reach full “adult” stage by 1-2 years.
- While their playful instincts might still lead them to run off to explore the great outdoors, they’re better able to self-regulate at this age.
- Puppies at this stage also have a better understanding of their own size and strength. (So they know who it’s smarter not to pick a fight with.)
Read more: How to convert dog years into human years
How to tire out a puppy – indoors & outdoors
Puppies are naturally curious, playful, and full of energy. So here’s how to channel and redirect it best – so you can keep them happy, safe, and healthy.
Outdoor games in your backyard
Socializing your puppy between 3-12 weeks helps them grow mentally and emotionally. But at the same time, there’s always the risk your little buddy might pick up some kind of illness from other dogs or from their wider environment.
So until you can get your puppy fully vaccinated (around 18-20 weeks)4, give them plenty of outdoor time in your backyard, apartment complex, or any other open green space near your home.
Here are some outdoor games you can set up to tire out your little buddy:
- A homemade obstacle course, using blankets, pillows, cushions, stuffed toys, and other props. (A great intro to agility training!)
- Football, using a rolled up pair of socks, old clothes, or a soft material.
- Chase bubbles around. Mix some soap and blow them around your backyard and watch your little buddy go nuts chasing them!
- A scavenger hunt, where you hide your puppy’s favorite toy and get them to sniff it out. (Also a great way to help them develop their sense of smell.)
- Create a digging box to keep your puppy away from your flowers or other plants. Puppies love to dig and hide their “treasures” – and even better so if they can do so safely and without messing up the rest of your garden.
⚠️ Worried your puppy might dig a hole beneath your fence – or escape your backyard somehow? Remember: it takes just one open door to spark their curiosity and drive them to run off.
Luckily, you can set up a “safe zone” with Tractive’s Virtual Fence feature, which instantly alerts you if your little buddy is trying to sneak past it.
Indoor games for a rainy day
If you’re wondering how to tire out a puppy when heading outdoors isn’t an option, we’ve got you covered. Plus, many outdoor games are also safe to play indoors – just mind your ceiling lights or furniture!
- Tug of war with a string of used clothes, rope, or any other pullable material you can find. Perfect for when your puppy is teething and can’t wait to bite everything they see.
- Use a flirt pole. Attach a string to the end of a pole (or a broomstick). Tie a pair of your puppy’s favorite socks or one of your shirts to the string. Dangle it in front of them and watch them lunge for it every time!
- Hide and seek, which can help your puppy develop their sense of smell and hearing.
- Magic cups, where you hide a treat or toy under a bunch of plastic cups. Shuffle them around and let your puppy guess where it is! Otherwise, you could play the same game with just your hands and a smaller object (like a quarter.)
- Indoor obstacle course. Set up pillows, cushions, or other moveable props in an obstacle course and get your puppy to run through them!
- Puzzle toys, including food dispensers that make your puppy have to solve a simple pattern or puzzle to “earn” their food. A great way to keep your little buddy mentally active too.
⚠️ Your puppy is an ingenious little critter – so while playing hide and seek, they might squeeze into a tight spot indoors, get stuck in your air vents, or end up locked inside a wardrobe. (Where you won’t be able to see or hear their whining and crying.) Here are three quick and easy ways to locate your puppy indoors with your Tractive GPS.
Initially, you’ll want to ensure your puppy meets other puppies and dogs indoors. (Until they’re around 18 weeks and have all their shots in place.) Because as important as it is to keep them safe from infections from other pets, it’s equally as important you socialize them with others. Which makes regular puppy playdates an important part of your puppy’s social and emotional growth.
- So set up a time with friends or family to bring their pets over and to have them play together indoors or outdoors (like in your backyard.) It’s a win-win either way, since you get to spend time with your loved ones – and your puppy gets to learn how to better behave in pet society.
- Or reach out to fellow pet parents via social media – you and your puppy both might just make some lifelong new friends!
Just make sure your friends and family bring over pets who have been vaccinated themselves and aren’t sick at the time. Also, don’t worry about them picking up anything infectious from a pet of another species (like a cat.) The chances of cross-pet infections are usually super low.5
⚠️ Remember: dog-friendly spaces like some cafes and restaurants will expect your puppy to be well-behaved throughout. And the more your little buddy socializes with other pets and people, the less likely they’ll be to bolt, steal food, or get up to mischief.
Regular outdoor walks
Wondering how to tire out a puppy once they’ve (finally) gotten their shots? Start with short outdoor walks to help them build up strength gradually. Even a 10-15 minute walk around your block can help them benefit from the exercise and sensory stimulation of the outdoors.
⚠️ Keep your puppy indoors too long and they’ll end up getting bored, stressed, or even anxious – and might “act out” by peeing around the house or barking non-stop.
💡You can log your daily walks with Tractive’s fun Dog Walk feature. Besides keeping you motivated and accountable to your puppy’s daily exercise, you can also share your live walk in real-time with your friends and family.
Walking your puppy isn’t just a fun, enjoyable activity. It might soon actually be required by law in some countries! For example, a new law in Germany is soon going to mandate dog parents to walk their buddies at least twice a day. So that you continue treating your puppy’s health and wellbeing as a priority.
Puppy parks (or other dog-friendly spaces near you)
Once your little buddy slowly gets used to the outdoors, look for a puppy park or a nearby dog-friendly green space. Remember to take it slow and allow your puppy to get to know the other dogs at their own pace. Expect a ton of butt sniffing, mounting, and even play fighting – and remember: it’s all 100% normal and healthy.
But it bears repeating: only take your puppy out to a public space when they’re at least 18 weeks old and are fully vaccinated. Your little buddy might be at risk of picking up an infectious disease from a park.6 Including:
- Kennel cough
- Canine distemper
- …and in rare cases, even rabies
Your backyard is still a controlled, secure environment – so your puppy is less likely to pick up something infectious. But in a public space, there’s no telling who or what they might run into. So make sure to get the green light from your vet before taking your little buddy outdoors with you.
💡One of the first signs your puppy might be feeling poorly? A drop in their energy and activity levels. Which you can track on a daily basis with Tractive’s Activity Tracking – and get your little buddy to a vet for a checkup before their health worsens.
Short hikes in nature
Being in nature brings a ton of perks to both you and your puppy. The exercise and sensory stimulation alone are worth it. But with that said, it’s still better to ensure you pick an easy hiking trail for your little buddy. Walking on an uneven trail might put unnecessary stress on your puppy’s growing bones and joints.
So keep your hikes short and sweet – and build up gradually from there. Plus, make sure your puppy has at least a microchip in place in case they run off to explore some sight, sound, or smell in nature.
How to tire out a puppy – with regular training
Curious how to tire out a puppy when they’re still, well, on the younger side? In general, vets recommend training your puppy once they reach around 8 weeks. It’s a great way to keep them physically and mentally active, socialize them, and also teach them some new tricks – all in one go.
So here are a couple of training tips, tricks, and hacks to stay on top of their health, wellbeing, and behavior.
Collar or harness training
Vets recommend gently guiding your puppy to wear a collar or harness around 7-8 weeks.7 Remember: puppies aren’t born wearing collars, so initially, yours might resist or just find it weird. But collar training is an important part of their socialization. (And with an ID tag, you’re more likely to keep yours safe if they run away.)
So make sure you pick the right type of dog collar or harness for your little buddy. Ideally, a regular flat collar you can fit two thumbs comfortably inside to ensure it secures against your puppy’s neck.
Much like a collar, walking your puppy on a leash can help prevent an escape attempt outdoors. Start with a loose leash and train your little buddy with basic commands like sit, stay, and heel. And if your puppy resists at any point, pause for that day – and pick it again the next day.
💡 With time, you can help your growing puppy even test their limits with off-leash training. Like Sally the Samoyed who wanders the Scottish countryside without a leash – and her trusty Tractive device, which her mum Claire relies on to keep her safe. (While also improving Sally’s recall.)
Basic obedience training
Younger, untrained dogs are more likely to run away. But by teaching your puppy commands like come, sit, heel, and stay can help override their chasing instincts to an extent. Just remember to:
- Start in a quiet, familiar environment. (So you don’t stress your puppy out.)
- Go slow. Focus on teaching your puppy one command at a time.
- Be consistent. When your puppy sits at the command “Sit”, make sure to reward them just a second after.
- Pick your “rewards” carefully. You don’t necessarily always need treats to reward your puppy. Praises, pats, and extra playtime can be rewarding enough. (You want to ensure that your puppy isn’t overeating treats.)
💡Want a fun, practical way to teach your puppy “good” behaviors through positive reinforcement? Give clicker training a whirl. Dogs of all ages, breeds, sizes, and temperaments respond well to it – and it’s a great way to deepen your bond with your little buddy.
Make sure to revisit your puppy’s training periodically to keep it fresh – or consider enrolling them in a puppy training class once they’re old enough and have gotten their shots.
Teaching your little buddy tricks is a great way to keep them happy and engaged – while also giving you some quality time with them.
- Simple tricks like roll over, play dead, or paw just need some time, patience, and consistency.
- Over time, you can teach your dog more advanced commands like “put it away”. (To help them learn to clean up after themselves once playtime’s over.)
💡 Did you know the average dog can learn up to 165 words?8 You could teach your puppy to identify the names of different objects around your house! Which works great for helping your puppy understand what objects are off-limits (like wires, your Christmas tree, or Halloween candy).
But if you ask us, what’s the best way to tire out a puppy? It’s to have fun! With all the love and fulfillment our furry friends bring us, we really should count ourselves lucky we get to be a part of their lives this way.
And with just a couple of these tricks and training commands, you’ll be well on your way to a happy, tired out puppy in no time.
Remember: A tired puppy is a safe, happy puppy
Still wondering how to tire out a puppy? Start slow and pick a couple of these activities to get the ball rolling. Because at the end of the day, a tired puppy is a happy puppy – and you’re doing wonders to take an active role in their safety and wellbeing.
- As always, make sure to get the green light from your vet regarding vaccinations and how soon is too soon to take your puppy outdoors.
- Till then, fill up your indoor space with toys, treats, and opportunities to teach your little buddy some new tricks.
- And from there, make sure to socialize your puppy with other people and pets to help them learn and grow.
Once they’re old enough, remember that your puppy is still a ball of energy and instincts. But with a microchip implant and a GPS tracker safely clipped to their collar, you’ll be on your way to a longer, safer, happier life together in no time.
With patience, consistency, and tons of love – you can train and manage your puppy’s energy and redirect it towards a happier, healthier future. With the right balance of physical exercise and mental stimulation, you can ensure your energetic little buddy grows into a well-behaved member of pet society.
Want to uplevel your game of fetch? Here’s canine behaviorist, Will Atherton, sharing his best tips and tricks.
And if you’ve found this post useful or know a fellow puppy parent, share it with them – and let’s help build a happier, healthier, safer world for our little buddies.