Most young adolecent dogs are full of energy and need a lot of mental stimulation to be happy. Long walks might not be enought to tire them out. I've put together a few examples of exercises you can do with your dog to tire him out.
A wolf that wonders across the terrain, will sooner or later encounter a problem. The wolf will not have a nice, loving owner that will help it out, it has to manage on its own. The most common problem is to decide how to outmanoeuvre its prey. Another problem can be to negotiate the terrain. The wolf might want to cross a wild stream to get to a prey that he can feel the cent of on the other side. That would become a problem of getting around the object, in order to get to the other side. The conclusion would be that our dogs can never get enough of problem solving exercises. It is natural for them and it will make them grow into more self-confident dogs.
As dog owners we have to learn not to rush to our dogs side and help them before they even get around to trying to solve their problems. If you have the time, try to let your dog solve the problem it self, like getting untangled from its lead or finding the hole in the fence where they got through to the other side. Or maybe get to that toy that fell between the stairs. In addition, we can give our dogs some extra, home made, problems.
Take a clean old towel or cloth that you donąt need anymore and put it on the floor with a treat underneath it at the very edge of the towel. This is to ensure that the dog will find the treat and that he/she wonąt give up and loose his self-confidence.
Continue this training by putting the treat further and further in under the towel. When your dog can handle this, it is time to make the task a bit more tricky.
Put the towel flat on the floor, put a treat at one of the corners, on top off it. Start rolling the towel up, diagonally, placing treats strategically along the rim of the roll. Stop when you have reached halfway and the towel is at its longest. Present the dog to the towel from the tip of the triangle that is left. Now let your dog sniff up the treats and roll the towel up.
Some dogs donąt understand the exercise and need your verbal support, so try to encourage him/her to continue sniffing.
When your dog understands this exercise, you can roll the towel all the way to the other tip, leaving you with a towel full of treats (donąt overdo it, even if you have a big towel, donąt put more than about 15 treats in peanut size, in the towel). Let the dog figure out how to unroll the entire towel to get to the treats.
When your dog can do this unassisted, you can roll the entire towel up with treats in it, and try to make a knot out of the rolled towel. It shouldnąt be a very tight knot to begin with, we still want the dog to manage the task.
When your dog can handle the knotted towel, even when you have started tying the knot really tight, it is time for you to get inventive. Put the knotted towel with the treats in it in a box or a bucket or hide it somewhere in the house. Maybe you could put it underneath another towel or put it up in a tree in the garden, just high enough for your dog to reach. At this stage of the training it is up to you where you want to take the exercise!