Do dogs get tired? Complete guide for a relaxed dog

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If you have a high energy dog like my Miniature Poodle Baloo, chances are you’ve been wondering: do dogs get tired at all?

When I first got Baloo as a puppy, he nearly drove me insane!

For the first couple of months he was unable to lie down – let alone sleep – outside his crate. I literally thought that he has the energy of some kind of superhuman and I feared that this would never change…

Luckily, we got his energy under control with the right amount of exercise and a good routine, which I’ll show you in a bit.

Now, the short answer is:

Yes, dogs do get tired. With the right kind and the right amount of exercise, you’ll be able to get any dog sleeping. Keep in mind that you can also overdo it with exercise, though. That’s particularly problematic because an over tired dog might show the same signs as a bored, very active dog.

This is why we need to look that question in a little more detail.

Do dogs get tired?

As I’ve just said, yes, dogs get tired. However, all dogs are different and not every dog will get tired as quickly as you might wish.

Just imagine if he only slept for as little as we do, so let’s say about 8 hours. You’d have a full-time job just entertaining your dog!

So, even if you have a high-energy dog, in most cases he’s not zooming around 24/7, even if it might seem like it, as I can tell you from my own experience.

If your pup is super active for 5 hours per day that might seem like a whole lot. But 5 hours in 24 hours is nothing, right?

Other than that, it’s very important to understand the signs of a tired dog. Because if you have a zoomy dog at home, chances are you’re misinterpreting his behavior, like I did in the beginning.

How to tell if my dog is tired?

Let’s first find out how to tell if your dog is tired.

Now, there’s a difference between a tired and an over tired dog.

Generally, having a tired dog is wonderful. It means he’s content and peacefully sleeping. It also means that he gets enough physical and mental stimulation, so that he doesn’t need to find himself something funny to get into.

So, a tired dog really is very relaxed and chilled out. This usually happens after a lot of physical or mental exercise. But it can also happen after emotional stimulation, such as being around unknown people or walking down a busy street.

A tired dog is a happy dog

As a rule of thumb, a tired dog is a happy dog!

Finding the right routine can work wonders for his behavior. You’ll probably get rid of about 80 to 90% of behavioral issues by simply making sure he gets the right amount of exercise.

This also means that you shouldn’t overdo it. Because while a tired dog is great, an over tired dog can be terribly annoying!

Do dogs get grumpy or cranky when tired?

Some dogs definitely get grumpy or cranky when they’re tired.

This is an indicator that they’ve absolutely had enough and desperately need a nap! Not all dogs can calm themselves down, though. This means that it’s possible to have a dog throwing a tantrum but being unable to sleep.

This is probably what happened when Baloo was still a puppy. He was so hyper all the time that I thought he needs more action. But actually, he was just overtired and desperately needed a nap.

Thank god for crates, this was literally the only way I got him to sleep!

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How to make a dog tired

Now that you know that dogs do get tired, then next question is: how do you make your dog tired?

While the amount depends on your dog, I can tell you straight away that your dog needs exercise in order to get tired.

Remember that dogs are active a whole lot less than we are. But not giving them any exercise at all would be kind or cruel.

Do dogs get tired from or tired of walking?

If we’re talking about exercise, most dog owners probably think about walking. This brings up 2 questions: do dogs get tired from walking? And do dogs ever get tired of walking?

Let’s start with the first question: yes, dogs do get tired from walking, but only a little bit. You can significantly intensify the exercise he gets out of it by adding a few things, though.

Anything that gets your dog to use his brain is much more demanding and tiring than simply walking. Here are a few examples:

  • Let your dog sniff: dogs love sniffing, it’s almost like reading the papers for them. This means they need a lot of brain power to process all the information, which will make them tired.
  • Incorporate some obedience: Obedience training also requires your dog to think about what you want from him and to generally focus on you. Just incorporate a few minutes of walking heel, some sit, down, stay etc. in your daily walks and your dog will be significantly more relaxed afterwards.
  • Walk new routes: New routes mean new smells which make walks even more interesting for your pup.
  • Make some street parkour: let him jump on benches, let him go around poles or make him put his paws up on trees. The possibilities are endless! Get your dog extra engaged and he’ll love his walks even more.

Here are some more ideas for fun walks.

So, now the second answer is easy: if you make it only a tiny little bit interesting, dogs don’t get tired of walking. Make sure he at least gets to sniff and walk new routes from time to time and he’ll be happy.

Physical exercise

Okay, we’ve already touched on physical exercise under the last subtitle.

But I’d like to emphasize the importance of physical exercise to make a dog tired again.

High energy dogs need to run!

If he’s well-trained, let him run off-leash once per day, if possible. Otherwise, playing fetch in your backyard or on a long leash are also great ways to get that energy out of your dog.

In any case I highly recommend making 3 walks per day at 20 minutes each, at the very least!

For lazy dogs that might do the job. But very active dogs, like Baloo, need more.

This is why we usually make 3 walks at 30 minutes per day at the very least. About 4 or 5 times we go on a 1-hour off-leash walk in the afternoon and once or twice per week we have Agility training.

I can also highly recommend dog training, such as Agility. This totally leaves Baloo pooped! In case you’re wondering if this is also something for small dogs, check out my article on the 7 best small breed active dogs.

What’s particularly awesome about dog sports is that it’s physical and mental exercise at the same time.

Mental exercise

Speaking about mental exercise, this is what will make your dog really tired.

Having to think and process thoughts is very exhausting for dogs. In fact, you might be training your dog’s stamina by simply doing a lot of physical exercise. This means he can only run more after that.

However, mental exercise will always relax him and get him right into his booty sleep.

Other than sniffing and obedience training, any kind of puzzles are a great way to keep your pup busy.

As a rule of thumb, 10 minutes of intensive sniffing or other mental exercise is about equal to an hour long walk!

Keep in mind that he needs both. So, if you’re not doing mental exercises on walks, it’s a good idea to replace 1 of 3 walks by 10 minutes of mental exercise every now and then.

In order to get you started, check out my article on how to mentally stimulate your dog and these 21 fun things to do with your dog at home for some more inspiration.

Good routine

And last but not least, a good routine will also help to make your dog tired. The reason for that is because dogs can relax when they know how they’re day is going to look like.

It’s much easier for your pup to relax and sleep if he knows that there’s nothing going on between 8 and 11.30 am. He knows that because it’s the same every day.

So, think about some kind of routine you can set up for your dog that’s more or less the same every day.

In my free pdf guide for a calm dog you’ll find some inspiration, along with some tips how I got Baloo to become a calm, lovely pup!

Do dogs get over tired? Over tired dog symptoms

So, now that you know that dogs can get tired and how to make them actually be tired, let’s look at what happens if you overdo it.

Dogs can also become over tired. This can often happen if they’re mentally or emotionally overstimulated.

If your pup had too much physical exercise, he’s usually just going to be exhausted. But if he’s over tired, he’s going to be a serious pain in your butt! Particularly if he’s throwing a tantrum or can’t stop his zoomies…

How much sleep do dogs need?

In order to find out if your dog is over tired, it’s important to understand how much sleep dogs need. I’ve just published an article on the question “how many hours a day should a dog sleep” that answers this question in detail.

So, I’ll just give you the short answer here: dogs spend about 12 to 14 hours per day in deep sleep and another about 4 to 6 hours chilling and resting. This means, the average dog relaxes and sleeps for about 18 hours in every 24 hours.

So, does you dog get constant entertainment during the day? That can also be if he’s accompanying you to the office or if your kids are playing with him all the time.

All of this can be a lot of emotional stimuli. And if your pup is the kind that can’t relax when there’s something going on around him, then it’s very likely that he’ll soon be overtired.

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How do I know if my dog is too tired?

The most common signs for your dog to be over tired are:

  • He forgets commands
  • He’s having the zoomies
  • Sniffing the ground
  • Excessive panting and/or lip licking
  • No interest in playing
  • Excessive thirst.

To learn more about this topic make sure to check out my article on overtired dogs and the slightly different symptoms for overtired puppies.

Why does my dog sleep all day?

If you own a dog that’s very good at taking his nap time seriously, then I’d like to congratulate you first of all! That’s a true blessing.

However, if you feel like your pup is active for much less than 6 hours per day and you feel like he’s lethargic and doesn’t have any interest in anything other than sleeping, then there could be a problem.

Lethargic behavior is an indicator for dog depression. But it can also be the reason for so many other things.

If you notice a change in your dog’s behavior and he stays lethargic for more than 2 or 3 days, then you should definitely consult your vet.

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