Clients frequently ask me the above question, and the first thing I ask them is:
“What did you do with your dog on your walk?”
The responses include:
“On the leash, I took him for a run.”
“While the dog was wandering about, I made a phone call.”
“I walked for nearly an hour while listening to music.”
This is the source of the issue…. A dog that is simply walked will love it, but it will not necessarily become exhausted as a result of the walk. A dog must be mentally stimulated as well as physically exercised to tire out on a walk.
When you take your dog for a walk, I recommend that you focus on your dog for ten minutes on your walk. With the dog, you can undertake some obedience training or play some search games. This is enjoyable for both of you, and you can even play a small search game with the whole family by having the kids hide while your dog ‘searches' for them!
If you can't let your dog off the leash, let him to stop and sniff when he wants, rather than pulling him away and keeping him walking. Smelling is a powerful stimulator for dogs, and it's how they learn about who's in the neighborhood and who's been wandering around. Allow him to be nosy!!
Your dog will need to utilize its brain, and the interaction will strengthen your bond with your dog.