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Overtired Puppy? Here’s How To Tell If Your Puppy is Too Tired with 7 Simple Solutions!

April 23, 2021
April 23, 2021

Cranky, rebellious, slightly wild… wondering if your puppy is overtired?

It really does sound like it could be the case. Too tired puppies turn from being these cute little balls of fluff into a terror with teeth. 

By my experience? One of the reasons puppies become wild dogs, is because of this. 

Tired Vs Overtired

What’s the difference between tired and too tired?

Think of kids! I know I used to do it (and you probably did too right?) I would get overtired when it went past bedtime and I’d had a pretty full day. It’s the same with your puppy, they’re beyond the point of being tired. So they’re being loud, obnoxious and in your face – all the while not listening to you for even a split second. I want to help you with this, it’s usually a really easy fix. 

Want to know the primary cause?

yawning husky puppy what do you think - Tired Or Overtired?
A yawning husky puppy what do you think – Tired Or Too tired?

Over Exercise

I’ve often said that a Tired Dog Is a Good Dog — but that’s not just meaning physical exercise! Tiredness is more than just muscles. Overtiredness is far too often found in over exercised puppies.

Purely physical exercise will exhaust the muscles, sure, but it doesn’t mean that their brain is tired. In a way? This is a good thing! It means you have a bright little puppy who needs a bit more time!

little cavapoo puppy having fun and running around in the garden or yard - do you think puppy will be Tired or Over tired?
little cavapoo puppy having fun and running around in the garden or yard. Too much play can definitely be a factor.

You need to provide mental stimulation. This is a super easy fix, I promise. 

Don’t start today if they’re already on wild dog mode, but tomorrow? Try cutting their walks down to the recommended daily amount and focus on some of the ideas below to try and wear out that little puppy brain!

Remember not to make it too difficult, and remember to keep sessions nice and short so as to not overdo it! 

Here’s a few ideas for you;

sniffing is very powerful for puppies and dogs! It's a naturally relaxing activity, and their world is so much more oriented around their nose, sniffy walks should help to tire out your puppy's mind as opposed to just their muscles
Sniffing is very powerful for puppies and dogs! It’s a naturally relaxing activity, and their world is so much more oriented around their nose, sniffy walks should help to tire out your puppy’s mind as opposed to just their muscles

1 – Less Exercise, More Sniffy Walks! 

Instead of spending it socialising and figuring out other dogs, or whatever else you’ve been focusing on, try letting them sniff and experience all the different smells in your neighbourhood – sometimes even picking a different direction can work wonders to make their nose start working!

Imagine it like when you got an awesome new book when you were younger and you loved reading (Well, ok, I did, that was definitely me!) – this is that for your puppy. 

Letting puppy win will not encourage tenacity – it’ll just encourage them to play more!

Ali Smith

2 – Low Energy Play

If you’re looking for some low energy play, tug can be great, it relies on strength and brain  – just remember to let puppy win, lots and lots! Contrary to popular belief, letting puppy win will not encourage tenacity – it’ll just encourage them to play more! Interactive toys like those that tug-e-nuff produce are fantastic – but you can still find (or make!) great tuggy toys too.

Looking for great toys?

collie puppy doing clicker training with their mum/mom! Look at how good that little one is doing! Training is great for helping tire out your puppy's mind
collie puppy doing clicker training with their mum/mom! Look at how good that little one is doing! Training is great for helping tire out your puppy’s mind

3 – Training

Why not try some training? Teach them a new trick, or push their current ones on another level! If you’re looking for inspiration, try acing sit, or play around with recall! Both of these are staples of your dog training repertoire, or if those are awesome already? (Call me, because I swear, recall is something to be constantly worked on so if you’ve cracked it let me know right now!!)

Why not try some cute tricks? These are totally unnecessary, but they’re great for mental stimulation, something like Paw, spin, roll over or anything else you can think of! I’ve even taught Indie to open doors with a pull! So, the world is your oyster, keep training and keep their brain working.

4 – Feed in a fun way

Did you know there are feeding toys? Like the Kong! But you can do it for all sorts whether that’s a stuffed buffalo horn, or Toppl. Or, why not try scatter feeding? All of these sorts of things are that can make your puppy use their cute little snoots and become hunters of kibble or treats! 

Golden Retriever puppy enjoying a blue puppy Kong. Kong's are not only great enrichment but a wonderful way of feeding interactively! This interactive, slow feeding will help soothe them by encouraging licking, and will tire their mind out also.
Golden Retriever puppy enjoying a blue puppy Kong. Kong’s are not only great enrichment but a wonderful way of feeding interactively! This interactive, slow feeding will help soothe them by encouraging licking, and will tire their mind out also.

5 – Try Enrichment!

Enrichment is a trainer buzzword for activities that stimulate your dogs brain and make them happier. But these exercises awesome for puppies too. These can range from things like Snuffle mats, or which hand? You can also do things like playing hide and seek where you hide one of puppies toys and ask them to go find it (make it easy to start!). 

6 – What About Hoopers?

Hoo-wha? 

It’s like agility? But it’s no impact, so it’s perfect for puppies and elderly dogs alike! You can set it up relatively easily in your garden or yard, and just have a little fun with it! It will help you two bond, give you time to play and learn whilst playing. What’s to lose? If you don’t enjoy it, you can at least say you tried and probably had some laughs along the way! 

hoopers! A wonderful activity for old puppies, young puppies and all those in between - this is a wonderful low (no) impact version of agility that will work mind and body!
Hoopers! A wonderful activity for old puppies, young puppies and all those in between – this is a wonderful low (no) impact version of agility that will work mind and body!

7 – Downtime with a chew

Some quiet time in their crate or bed with a delicious natural chew will not only reinforce their love of their safe space, but release endorphins to make them happy and potentially help with focusing where those razor sharp teeth go! I don’t see a downside to this one.

We love yak cheese chews if you’re looking for it, check them out on amazon.com.

And that’s that! 7 pretty good choices for helping your little over sleepy puppy learn to redirect their energy and bring back some balance to their energy and your life. Puppyhood is hard, why make it more tough than it needs to be? 

BONUS! Structured Nap Times

This is really important, routine is huge for puppies. Put in plenty of nap times. Puppies cannot self regulate their need to sleep, so you need to step in and do this for them. Find yourself a little routine of how to settle puppy down and make sure they get some good sleep! It also really helps to understand how much sleep your puppy needs at whatever age they are.

This information is something we provide every week in our pupdates – did you know that? It’s really helpful stuff that just helps you to normalise your experience with your puppy.

And The Sleep-Wake Balance Is Restored

With that, your too tired puppy should start becoming balanced once more! With this, you should find that your puppy is learning faster, becoming a better, more sociable family member, not biting as much and ugh! The list goes on! A well-rested puppy is a happy puppy!

Weekly Advice For Your Puppy

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Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as the worlds best pet blog!

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