Tips & Tricks

12 Ways to Tired out Your Hyper Dog at Home

full shot sad woman with dogs home

As any pet parent with a high-energy pup knows, keeping up with an active dog’s need for exercise can be utterly exhausting. I remember when my tireless husky Bailey was younger – our daily walks only seemed to rev her further up, making it clear she required a lot more physical activity than I could provide through standard walks alone.

I began experimenting with activities that could pack a bigger exercise punch in less time to truly wipe her out. After testing countless options, I discovered several exceptionally effective techniques to drain even the craziest hyper pups in quick at-home sessions. Thus eliminating any need for multi-hour marathons around the neighborhood!


The best part? These activities engage your dog both physically and mentally, tapping into instinctive drives for play, adventure, and even mischief. So you can maximize their inborn love of fun while fulfilling exercise needs. Two birds, one stone!

In this article, I’ll cover my personal top 12 ways to exhaust active dogs at home. Let’s dive right into the deets!

Here’s how to wear your energetic dog out without ever having to leave home…

#1 Hide and Seek with Treats

Hide and seek is fun for kids, but dogs especially. It taps into dogs’ natural scenthound instincts for a mentally and physically engaging game. While your dog waits in another room, hide treats around the living room – under pillows, beneath furniture, even stuck to low window panes. Then, release them to sniff out and uncover all the hidden edible prizes!

This nosework search activity provides your dog with fun stimulation without a lot of required movement from you. Watching your pup zigzag around the room, nose to the ground as they ferret out, treat after treat, is entertaining as well as tiring. The seeking, finding, and gobbling keep boredom at bay and your dog happily occupied.

#2 Turn Mealtime into a Job

The second effective way to burn off a hyper dog’s endless energy is to make them work for their food using interactive treat puzzle toys. If your energetic pup has to solve a challenge and put effort into accessing their meals, it provides vital mental and physical exertion.


I’ve used food-dispensing toys to feed my hyper husky ever since she was 3 months old. Her first was a Loobani Rolling Food Puzzle Toy. The sight and scent of kibble stimulate a dog’s brain into an excited, focused state while they determine how to access the goodness inside.

This aroused mental energy paired with the physical activity of manipulating the toy with their paws and mouth to reach the food equals a perfect mind+body workout. Way more effective at tiring out dogs than a basic walk or bout of fetch!


My veterinarian also explained that puzzle toy feeding improves digestion compared to gulping down food too quickly from a bowl. Another benefit for hyper pups prone to eating issues.

So skip boring bowls for a while and transition your high-velocity dog to working for all their meals. Watch them eagerly attack clever conundrums like hiding kibble under puzzle pieces, slider discs, flip lids, or stuffing it into wobbling Kongs. This effort to succeed in releasing that delicious food over and over definitely leads to faster napping!

#3 Flirt Poles for High-Energy Play

A flirt pole is another simple way to exhaust your dog. This tool is a perfect way to rapidly drain your dog’s pent-up energy. It still surprises me how much Bailey enjoys it, and if I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably Bailey’s all-time favorite game (if she could talk, I could confirm this). 

This interactive toy features a long pole with a rope attached to a dangling lure on one end. As you move the pole around, the lure dances and darts enticingly to trigger your dog’s prey drive.

flirt poles for high energy play 1

This chase simulation allows them to sprint, leap, and pounce freely without you having to run yourself. Trust me, a few short minutes of vigorous flirt chase can tire a dog out as effectively as a long walk or run.

#4 Bungee Tug Toys for Backyard Play

If you have a backyard, bungee tug toys are one of the easiest ways to wear out your dog. These interactive toys attach to a tree or post outside and have an elastic bungee cord running through the interior.

As your dog grips the toy in their mouth and tugs, the stretchy bungee creates a fun slingshot effect that launches the attached lure forward. Your dog gleefully dashes after it to resume tugging and trigger the flying lure over and over for endless chasing and pulling.

Dog Bungee Hanging Toy

Compared to flirt poles, the elastic resistance of a bungee tug prevents human arm strain. But it still allows dogs to satisfy their instinct to pull and play intense outdoor fetch and tug-of-war games at their own frenetic pace!

#5 Blow Bubbles

Believe it or not, blowing bubbles can be a super fun way to keep your active dog engaged at home! There are even specially-made dog bubble toys on the market designed just for canine fun. The bacon-scented blower is my dog’s favorite – it releases meaty-smelling bubbles that will capture the dog’s attention and ignite those prey-drive instincts.

Chasing, pouncing, and popping the drifting bubbles provide hours of stimulating physical activity and mental enrichment. It’s also a great low-effort activity for those days when you don’t have the energy for more involved playtime. Simply dip and blow bubbles across the backyard for your pup to joyfully pursue and bite!

#6 Play Tug of War

Tug of War is another effective game to exhaust our active dogs. It provides engaging physical exercise for both of us while teaching good manners.

When playing tug, I follow one key rule – the game stops immediately if teeth touch the skin. Puppies who haven’t learned bite inhibition yet will struggle with this. It’s significant to reinforce gentle mouths through training before playing rough games.

full shot women dog inside

A good game of tug can be demanding exercise, especially with a strong, large dog. Since most tug toys are made of rope or fabrics easily destroyed by aggressive chewing, I make sure to put the toy away securely after playtime to prevent unattended shredding. Having gone through many destroyed tugs taught me this lesson!

beautiful border collie dog training with owner

#7 Frisbee for High-Flying Fun

If you have a spacious enough backyard, Frisbee is like supercharged fetch, perfect for dogs that could play all day. I can hurl a Frisbee way farther than I can throw a ball, giving my pup more extended sprinting each turn. I just stand there tossing while my dog happily does all the running around.

If your dog is new to Frisbees, start with a soft disc rather than a hard traditional one. Accidental smacks from standard models may discourage them from trying to catch mid-flight. Build excitement by tossing short distances, rolling the disc on the ground, and rewarding attention is shown to it.

dog lifestyle care

Once they get the hang of chasing and retrieving longer throws, stand back and let that natural canine athleticism put on a show! Frisbee provides easy aerobic conditioning for dogs ideally suited to tiring out energetic breeds.

#8 Backyard Sprinklers

If your dog doesn’t mind the water, you can set up lawn sprinklers in the backyard on warm, sunny days. The movement and sound of the spurting, splashing water arcs tend to delight and entice many dogs. 

For extra entertainment, grab a hose nozzle and make the water squirt in unpredictable directions, keeping dogs engaged and guessing where it will splash next. Consider tossing some floating pool toys into a plastic kiddie pool filled with water as well. Dogs can spend hours happily diving in to retrieve the toys, swim-resting, then repeating. This combination is a surefire way to tire out energetic canines.

#9 Tire Out Dogs with Fetch on Stairs

If you have stairs in your home, turn them into a high-intensity workout zone for your energetic pup. Simply stand at the top while your dog waits eagerly a few steps below. Toss their favorite fetch toy down the whole flight of stairs, commanding them to run after it.

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As your pup bounds down the steps, grabs the toy, and then races back up to deliver it, they build cardiovascular endurance through a series of sprints and direction changes. The incline also strengthens hind muscles and taxes their stamina faster than running on flat ground. A few repetitions leave an exuberant young dog happily exhausted!

You can make it more challenging by throwing longer distances or incorporating commands before releasing your dog to chase each toss. When playtime is over, be sure to provide ample water and affectionate praise for your worn-out companion!

#10 Snuffle Mats for Nosework

Snuffle mats allow dogs to happily forage for meals using their keen sense of smell, providing valuable mental enrichment. These fabric mats feature numerous fabric strips and strands that hide your dog’s kibble or treats within the textured grid.

dog snuffle mat

I love to scatter my dog’s dinner into her snuffle mat, then set it on the floor and let her root around with her nose through the faux foliage. Finding each piece of food amid the obscured piles and ridges keeps her actively sniffing and searching for a good 15 minutes. Once her food puzzles are solved, she usually naps deeply, thanks to the mental exertion.

#11 DIY Nosework Game

If you don’t have a premade snuffle mat on hand, it’s easy to create your own homemade version using old towels. Simply lay one or more bath towels or small throw blankets on the floor in a pile. Break your dog’s meal up into smaller handfuls of kibble. Then, randomly scatter the individual nuggets and bits of food throughout the folded towels so they fall into the crevices and creases.

As your dog pushes through the towel stack, sniffing out dinner, all that nosing and foraging burns tons of mental energy.

dog lick mat


#12 Backyard Agility

The last proven way to tire out a high-energy, hyper dog is to set up a backyard agility course to really get their body moving and mind engaged. You can easily create one using everyday household items lying around.

agility training 1

To start, arrange a series of obstacles that require different movements for your dog to complete. For example, line up chairs or sturdy boxes for them to hop up on and walk across. Create tunnels from cardboard boxes or laundry baskets for them to crawl through. Use a small staircase or pile of sturdy books for them to climb upwards.

By setting up 5-10 DIY obstacles, you can design a comprehensive and calorie-burning workout for your dog. Once they’ve completed it, you’ll see how much energy it takes out of them.

Final Words

That’s all. I hope you’ll find that at least a few of these ideas are effective in tiring out your dog at home. 


About Zelda D.Nelson

As a lifelong dog lover and proud mom to two energetic rescue pups, I know firsthand how important puzzle toys are for providing dogs with much-needed mental and physical stimulation. After over a decade of experience raising well-adjusted, happy dogs, I joined the Loobani Pet team to help other pet parents discover the joy and benefits of dog puzzles. Through my work at Loobani Pet, I've become an expert on the ins and outs of various interactive dog toys. My goal is to simplify the selection process so you can easily pinpoint the perfect puzzles to match your pup's needs and lifestyle. Whether you need a toy to challenge your brainy breed, keep your power chewer occupied, or simply provide some rainy day fun, I've got you covered.