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Why You Should Get Your Dog “Dog Tired”

By Dr. Marty Becker, DVM · Jul 20, 2023
Why You Should Get Your Dog “Dog Tired”

Did you know that there is a revolutionary device that will exercise, entertain, and educate your dog to the point of their tongue hanging out while you watch Tik Tok videos of dogs doing tricks, participating in dock-dog, or running in agility competitions? 

Let’s be clear, for a dog, being dog-tired is something veterinarians and trainers recommend. Far too few dogs regularly benefit from a post-marathon-like exertion. 

Dog-tired means exhausted, completely drained, or worn out. While primarily used to describe how humans feel after an intercontinental plane trip, a vigorous hike, or spending three days at a conference, let's reclaim the term to describe our canine companions who are so tired from physical and mental activity that they collapse into a deep rest. So deep they don’t hear you going into the kitchen where treats reside or nag you to go on a walk. 

Instead, legs stop moving, and the dog’s mind enters deep REM sleep, where dreams consist of slow rabbits, thousands of tennis balls, and trays filled with every cut of meat imaginable.

But first, a reality check. It’s not that easy to get a dog panting tired. I know. Besides being a veteran veterinarian (43 years) and the author of the book, “Fitness Unleashed: A Dog and Owner’s Guide to losing weight and gaining health”…I’m also a pet parent that, more often or not… is too busy or too tired to give our two dogs the daily exercise they want and need to remain optimally healthy and happy. 

I love my dogs with all my heart. Still, at the end of a 10-hour-day pounding away at the computer keyboard like a woodpecker on a short deadline, I’m going to choose to watch season five of Yellowstone and eat Cheetos rather than get off the floor and out the door to take the dogs on a mile or two hike around the neighborhood, just keeping it real.

Why do dogs need to exercise, get tired, and deep sleep anyway:

  1. Movement – Dogs’ bodies are built for action. They are athletic and need to keep muscles strong, and joints limber.
  2. Body condition – The percentage of dogs that are obese mirrors that of humans. About 66%. Veterinarians like myself know that most dogs need less food in their bowls and more miles on their feet. If we keep pets at or near their ideal body weight (what they weighed at one year old), they will live about 15% longer. That’s two extra years with our beloved pet!
  3. Sensory – Just as we like activities that stimulate the body and mind (tennis, golf, crossword puzzles, Sudoku), dogs like to keep their senses intact and engaged. Examples include tracking an object that moves, listening for it to launch or land, or sniffing for an object.
  4. Sleep – While all stages of sleep are essential for pets, just like for people, deep sleep offers specific physical and mental benefits. During deep sleep, the body repairs muscles, bones, and tissue. Deep sleep promotes immune system functioning. Deep sleep is vital for a healthy brain, including cognitive function, memory, learning, and motor skills. Far too few dogs get enough movement and interaction to get deep sleep.

As a practicing veterinarian for over four decades and a pet lover for almost seven decades, I, like you, have too many electronic tethers chaining me to a desk or chair and can’t seem to find enough hours in a day to do all the things I want or need to do. On top of that, I don’t have enough time to do one of the things I most want and need to do: fully engage my dog with training, stimulation, and enrichment.

But now, like a smartphone that replaced cameras, video recorders, and computers, I have Companion for my dogs. Like a partnership between Companion, my dogs, and myself, this revolutionary home device plays with QT Pi (Dachshund, Chihuahua, Jack Russel mix) and Quin’B (Pomeranian puppy), exercises them as they work for food or treats, and trains them in behaviors that make for a happy home.

I’m not suggesting that anyone or anything replaces you, the pet mom or dad. Put a life vest on your dog and take them swimming. Go on a vigorous hike. Throw a slobber slick tennis ball until your arm throbs. Even do as I do, hook a fake tail on a remote-controlled car, and have the dogs chase it up and down the driveway.

But if you’re like me, all of these activities sound great and should be done regularly, but I just don’t get around to doing them or doing them enough.

We can use some help. And yes. You can control Companion from your ever-present phone.