While puppies might seem like an endless bundle of energy, their playfulness, curiosity, and exploration can catch up with them and tire them out. Depending on how long they've been in a home, they might already start showing signs of boredom with their surroundings, toys, or even siblings or pet parents.
Dog owners everywhere eventually have to deal with dog behavior that is less than ideal. Taking a look at some common dog behaviors will help you spot when your new dog might be physically exhausted or mentally tired.
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When your puppy is tired
If your puppy has room to run, that's a good thing. Dogs that can't burn enough calories, challenge their growing heart and lungs, and stretch their muscles might have trouble sleeping, become nervous, and start exhibiting nervous behaviors. These behaviors can include crying, excessive barking, destructive chewing, and aggressiveness.
Don't be afraid of tiring your puppy out. Dogs like naps and are able to quickly get in and out of deep sleep states if they are properly exercised. You don't need to take a long walk or have a big yard to exercise a puppy. Trying to wrest a chew toy away from a puppy for several minutes, running up and down stairs, and jumping onto and over obstacles can help your dog get the exercise it needs.
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Don’t push your doggie
Be careful not to overexert your dog trying to get it to exercise. Watch for excessive and continuous panting, especially if you're playing outdoors in a hot area. Make sure your puppy has enough water to drink to satisfy its thirst. This means keeping cool water near your play area and bringing the dog over to encourage it to take a drink.
If your dog wants to lay down and take a nap, let it do so. Watch the dog to see if it's resting peacefully, or if it's twitching or softly whining while it's sleeping. These could be signs of problems in a tired dog.
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Is your puppy bored?
If your puppy doesn't seem to want to play, but doesn't fall asleep when you leave it alone, this might be a sign the dog needs mental stimulation. Dog boredom is one of the main causes of destructive behavior. The problem might be a limited number of toys that no longer hold any fascination for a puppy, or the same games and activities the dog has done for weeks. Puppies also need time to learn what items are acceptable to play with and what activities are OK, explains MuttsManners.com.
Surefire boredom busters include variety in surroundings, toys, and activities will help keep your puppy engaged. Dogs that act out when they are alone can be kept in check with a toy like a Kong. These durable rubber toys can be filled with kibble, treats, or peanut butter so your dog will stay busy licking and chewing while you're gone. There are many varieties of puzzle toys that serve as mental stimulation and provide for chewing opportunities.
So will interacting with new people and other dogs during controlled playtime. Talk to your vet about when it's OK for socialization with other dogs at the dog park, which often depends on your puppy's vaccine schedule.
Dealing with destructive chewing
Dogs that chew, especially puppies, aren't necessarily bored. They might be dealing with teething pain. Chewing is a way to counteract boredom and a lot of dogs simply enjoy it. Furniture legs might resemble sticks, which dogs naturally love to chew.
Hide shoes, pillows, and other items you don't want to be damaged or keep them out of reach of your dog while you're learning how to deal with its chewing problem. Provide appropriate items to chew on, and when they go for the chew toys, give your dog some "good dog" praise.
Ensuring that your pooch is getting enough physical exercise is one way to deal with problem behaviors. A tired dog is much less likely to act out. Try a schedule of daily walks to keep your dog active.
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Too much barking?
Incessant barking might be one of the signs your dog is looking for attention. This can also mean you are dealing with a bored dog. If you hear from neighbors that your pet is barking while you're away, it might be a sign of separation anxiety, which can also cause problem chewing or other destructive behavior, according to The Humane Society. For behaviors like this that continue even with corrective positive reinforcement, it might be time to call in a dog trainer for help.
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Is the puppy 'hyper?'
Puppies that can't control themselves might be so tired they are wired, according to the American Kennel Club. This means you'll need to make sure you give your best friend more nap time. If you're on the phone, working on the computer, or watching TV, you'll need to do more than just try to hold or pet the puppy to calm it down. Walk it over to its bed and get it to lay down to see if it needs a nap.