A Tired Dog Is A Happy Dog: 5 Ways To Keep Your Dog Busy

Dogs are energetic bundles of fun, and they require more than two times the amount of sleep that we need. If they’re not playing with the garden hose or chasing squirrels up trees, you might find them curled up in their favorite spot for hours.

Although it's normal for dogs to sleep for more than half the day in some cases, it becomes a concern when your dog sleeps longer than normal or way less.

People say a tired dog is a happy dog and a “tired dog, happy owner,” but a very tired dog can be even more dangerous for itself and its people.

There are many reasons why a dog might be more tired than usual or seem particularly uninterested in many activities that usually excite them. So it is important to know the symptoms and signs of exhaustion in dogs. Not to worry, this article highlights several ways to keep your dog busy.

Two fluffy happy dogs outside surrounded by orange and red trees.

A Tired Dog is a Happy Dog, Right?

Is a sleeping dog a happy dog? Is a calm dog a happy dog? These are some of the questions curious dog owners ask. 

If you’ve ever had a super energetic and very hyper dog, surely you know the answers to these questions. Here’s why we’d like to think a tired dog is a happy dog:

  • Tired means they got much-needed exercise: man’s best friend needs all the exercise they can get because it helps their overall health. Dogs are fairly active animals, so you need to ensure they stay fit to avoid potential health problems. 

    Just keep in mind that all dogs aren’t the same, and this means that a dog will need a different amount of exercise depending on its breed, age, and overall health.
  • They're not getting themselves in trouble if they're dog-tired: boredom is one of the biggest causes of behavioral issues in dogs. Dogs are incredibly smart, can be naughty, and look for ways to entertain themselves when bored. 

    More often than not, these ways of entertainment aren’t ways humans approve of, so you need to make sure your furry friend is getting enough exercise during the day. This reduces the chances of getting into trouble if they're tired, keeping your sanity in check and your day stressless.
  • Dogs require loads of sleep, and they love it: Despite them enjoying being active, dogs also do not joke with their sleep, and it is important they get well-rested. 

    Around 12 to 14 hours, on average, is enough hours in a day for a dog to sleep. And no, this isn’t a lot if you're comparing the sleeping patterns of humans - dogs are built differently.

How do I know if my Dog is Tired?

There is never a dull moment when your dog is active and happy, but a tired dog can mean different things. 

Some dog owners, especially new ones, find it hard to tell if their dogs are unwell or simply tired. As a pet owner, you should know when to give your dog a rest when they show signs of tiredness and exhaustion.

Because let's face it, most dogs don't know how to stop themselves, no matter how tired or exhausted they get. There are always telling signs that your dog might be getting exhausted - here are a few examples:

  • Yawning is one of the signs that your dog is tired, exhausted, stressed, or uneasy. 
  • If a dog who's usually hyper lies down in public, it may be a sign that they need a good break. 
  • When your dog forgets even the simplest commands or tricks then it's a telling sign that it needs a break. 
  • Dogs usually focus on owners, especially in training. But if they're preoccupied with sniffing the ground, then it's pretty obvious that they're tired and uninterested. 
  • Excessive panting and lip licking are other signs of tiredness in dogs. 
  • Excessive thirst. 
  • Hiding. 
  • Little to no interest at all in playing. 

5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Busy

Like human beings, dogs need a strong balance of mental and physical exercise, whether it's indoors or outdoors. Here are 5 ways to keep your dog busy:

1. Go On Hikes Together

Taking your dog on a quick hike is one way to keep your dog busy and active. 

Hiking is a good way for dogs to exercise and an even better way to get away from the busy and noisy city life to explore the quieter part of the world.

It's an activity that will benefit you and the dog as you get to take in much-needed vitamin D on a sunny day while your dog burns energy. 

Research and look for suitable hiking trails that you and your pup can and make sure to pack essentials too!

2. Teach Them A New Trick

Another fun way to pass the time and keep your dog busy is to try teaching it a new trick, whether it's learning the name of their favorite toy or how to shake a paw. 

The more hours you spend teaching new tricks, the more options you can exhaust. One useful trick you can try is getting them to tidy up after playing with their toys. 

Start by teaching your pup the meaning of "put it away" and getting them to pick up their dog toys and drop them in a box.

After this, you can go further by scattering toys around the room and pointing to specific toys one at a time, and getting them to pick them up and put away. Soon enough, your dog will be able to do this trick with just a command, and you can reward with a treat too.

3. Play Treat-dispensing Puzzle Games

Puzzle games aren't just for humans; there are several puzzle games made for dogs that you can use to keep them busy. Owners can play these games with their dogs and reward them with treats. 

There are puzzle games that dispense treats once a dog hits a lever or button on command, and these games most times come with multiple levels of difficulty. 

Once you train your doggo to play and get the hang of it, they'll have something to stay occupied with while you work at home or do some chores. As a precaution, choose the puzzle game according to the size of your pup.

4. Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is another fun activity to occupy your fur baby with and keep it busy, and it's quite fun and pops up on pet TikTok videos pretty much every week. 

It is a fun, bonding, and surprisingly educational game for dogs because it teaches them to come to you. 

Start by telling your dog to sit still and stay, then go and hide somewhere in the house. Wait for a few seconds before you call your dog to come to you. 

Your pup should be able to find you quickly with ease and once they do, make it a habit to praise them excitedly.

Try upping the game's difficulty every time you play it to challenge your dog's mind by hiding in different new locations around the house.

5. Grooming Your Dog

Undoubtedly, grooming is an incredibly important part of every dog's life, and some dogs require more grooming than others. 

However, irrespective of the breed, it is important to groom your dog at least once daily and the best time to start is when they're a little pup, so they get used to it. 

You can use grooming to keep your dog busy while keeping it clean. Grooming is a good bonding activity that gets dogs used to physical contact.

A tired dog resting its head on a pile of snow in the sunshine.

While your dog may not understand the workings of a clock, they still have something called an internal circadian rhythm that gives a general sense of the times of the day things happen. 

This is why they are already at the door before you come in from work at the same time every day. A clear daily routine will help your dog know when it's time to keep busy with play, exercise, or just lay down and relax.

Looking for more ways to tire your dog out? Check out these dog friendly swimming holes in Ottawa to visit when the weather is warm!

Want to keep up to date about dog stuff in Ottawa? Join my mailing list!


Are you a pet parent in the Ottawa/Gatineau area?

Join below to receive fun emails about the local pet community,

including helpful info, notice of local pet events, and special offers on pet photography.

Yay! You're signed up. An email from me just hit your inbox - Go there now to confirm your email address!

Are you a pet parent in the Ottawa/Gatineau area?

Join below to receive fun emails about the local pet community, including helpful info, notice of local pet events, and special offers on pet photography.
Sam Coral Photography Logo
Ottawa Pet Photography