You have work, happy hours, gym time, and social events. You feel like you’re booked solid, and at the end of a long day at work, you can’t wait to collapse onto the couch and snuggle your pup.

You get home and see that the couch is in pieces, with fluff strewn across the floor. Your dog is quietly laying at your feet, elated that you’re finally home to spend time with him.

Should you be mad? There’s no point in correcting your dog since you didn’t catch him in the act, but is it really his fault anyway? You have work and friends taking up all of your time; you’re tired at the end of a long day. Your pup only has you—he depends on you for walks, playtime, and other ways to pass the time. When your pup gets bored and frustrated and needs to find a way to vent his pent up energy (even if it is on the couch), is it really his fault?

Dogs who are bored will find a way to relieve their boredom, often by chewing, with whatever they can find—even if that the family couch. Exercising your dog regularly—both physically and mentally—will give them an outlet for all their canine energy. Walking, training, and even playing hide-and-go-seek are all great ways to tire your pup out. Don’t have time every day? Consider hiring a dog walker to walk and play with your dog midday. A tired dog is a good dog, and much less likely to vent his frustrations on a prized pair of shoes.

Hide-and-go-seek games can be a lot of fun, while providing mental and physical exercise. Start off with your dog next to you, and scatter a handful of treats across the floor. Tell him to “find it” and praise him while he finds every treat. Move onto having him wait at further and further distances while you scatter treats, and eventually in another room while you scatter and hide treats for him to find. For a food free version, hide in another room and then excitedly call your dog, encouraging him to find you! As he gets better at it, hide yourself in more difficult to find spots.

Dog puzzles are another great way to give your dog something to do while you’re away. Stuffed, frozen treat balls or puzzle cubes filled with treats make him work to get his food, providing mental stimulation. If you have an especially high energy dog, consider feeding a meal, or part of a meal, each day using a puzzle toy. On a hot summer day, you can also freeze treats or dog toys in an ice cube by adding water and toys to a large bowl, then freezing. For added motivation, you can flavor the water with some beef or chicken broth—this is a toy best utilized outdoors (it can be messy).

Another exhausting possibility is heading out with your dog to check out new places and meet new people, if your dog enjoys socializing. As you explore, feel free to work on some training—moving the training background makes it difficult since there are so many new distractions! Introduce your dog to some new people while encouraging good behavior. Your dog gets some training in, and as a bonus, you both increase your social circle. With enough practice, he’ll be the best behaved dog your neighbor has ever met!

If your dog still has energy to spare, consider increasing your dog walker visits to every day, or a couple visits for any long days you have to spend away from home. Your pup will love it, and you’ll love coming home to a happy and tired out pup!

By Rachel Leisemann Immel

Fluffs of Luv Pet Care offers an array of customized pet care services, including in home pet sitting, dog walking, cat only pet sitting, overnight visits and cat and dog grooming and more. As the most reputable pet sitters and dog walkers in Charlotte and the surrounding area, Fluffs of Luv has put countless clients at ease by caring for their cherished companions while they were away.  Give Fluffs of Luv a call for a free in home consultation for pet care or to set up a grooming appointment 704-421-3492 or visit www.fluffsofluv.com.