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The Benefits of The Tired Dog

Keeping your dog healthy and well-behaved makes for a happy pet owner

Posted April 09, 2012 in Dog Behavior

There is an old saying that couldn't be truer: "A tired dog is a good dog."

Just like with people, when dogs receive a healthy balance of physical and mental stimulation, they will be happy and well-adjusted. Your dog wakes up each morning with a certain amount of physical and mental energy that he or she needs to expend to feel happy, occupied, and balanced. What your dog needs will be different from other dogs;  breed, age, size, and individual temperament all contribute to this, as does your dog's mood on any given day.

Dogs that don't receive adequate stimulation for their bodies and their brains might be restless, destructive, hard to train, and even in the worst cases, aggressive and irritable (just like people!).

Here's our advice for helping your dog find a happy balance:

To each his own
Consider your dog -- his age, breed, temperament, energy level, and overall health impact what kind of stimulation and activity will best. A dog who is naturally a couch potato isn't a dog that you need to take on 5-mile hikes, and a dog that is bouncing off the walls 18 hours a day won't be satisfied with a walk around the block.

Experiment and mix it up
To keep things interesting for your dog, and for you, be sure to address your dog's need for both physical and mental stimulation. If your dog loves to run, then make sure you give him or her plenty of time to let out that physical energy. But make sure you also engage his brain, whether it's through some obedience training (learning a new trick actually can take a lot of energy for a dog) or solving a problem (like getting food out of a toy designed to hold some kibble). A dog that gets only physical exercise could still have a very unsatisfied and "wired" mind and that can lead to destructive behavior or just a restless pooch.

Doggie daycare and play groups can be an excellent chance for your dog to expend a lot of physical energy and learn how to get along with other dogs. However, even after a long day of playing at daycare, your dog might still need some mental engagement, which could be satisfied by a little focused obedience work between the two of you. Tired dog laying down Think about your dog's activity as though it's on an old-fashioned scale -- if

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