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When you think “puppy” the last thing you think of is laziness. But despite that, many puppies aren’t as boisterous as what you would expect.

If your puppy is lazy then there can be many reasons why that’s the case. The important consideration here is whether there are any medical issues going on that are causing it.

These of course need to be ruled out, and once that has been achieved, then it’s time to address other concerns.

Is My Puppy Lethargic?

Puppies sleep for 18 to 20 hours in a day. If your puppy is energetic when they are awake, then your puppy is normal.

If your puppy is lazy when they’re awake, then it can be related to illness, stress, environmental factors, or genetics. If unsure, always take your puppy to the vet.

Before you decide that you have a lazy puppy, first you need to know what is normal for a puppy.

They’re growing at a rapid rate and their brains are developing by the hour. Every moment awake can be very taxing on their little system, and before you know it, they’re out like a light again.

What can be a concern is if they’re lazy and lethargic during the rest of the day during those 4 to 6 hours that they’re awake. During this time, you would expect your puppy to be curious, playful, and perhaps a little naughty.

If your puppy is energetic when they’re awake, but they sleep 90% of the day, then I’m happy to tell you that your puppy is completely normal.

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If your puppy is lethargic when they’re awake, then read on as we dive deeper into the topic.

Lazy Puppy Breeds

It could well be that your dog has a propensity for laziness. Some breeds are just naturally more subdued than others. Here is a list of dog breeds that are more likely to be slothful.

  • English Bulldog
  • Greyhound – I know right!
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Basset Hound
  • Boston Terrier
  • Saint Bernard
  • French Bulldog
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Chow Chow
  • Great Dane
  • Newfoundland
  • Shih Tzu

Of course, each dog has their own personality and some of the above breeds will be hyper pups. Likewise, there will be plenty of dogs from breeds not on the above list that exhibit the lazy gene.

How Much Energy Should My Puppy Be Using?

As stated, your pup will only be awake for 4 to 6 hours of the day. During that time, you might expect your puppy to be energetic, but the truth is, they tire very quickly.

When exercising your puppy, you should only walk them for 5 minutes per every month of age. For example, if your puppy is 4 months old, then you should only walk with them for 20 minutes.

Puppy Age (months) Exercise Time (minutes)
1 5
2 10
3 15
4 20
5 25
6 30
7 30+

The reason for this is not only because it can affect the development of their bones, but also because it will simply tire them out.

If you’re taking your puppy for 30-minute walks every day it’s likely they are over worked and exhausted. This is too much exercise for a young puppy.

Also of note is that larger breed puppies will fatigue quicker than a smaller one.

To learn the best method of training a lazy puppy, be sure to check out our post: How to Train a Lazy Puppy

Is My Puppy Lazy or Sick?

This is the distinction you will be looking for when deciding if it’s time to visit the veterinarian.

Have they always been lazy or is it a new thing? If they’ve always been this way, then it’s likely it’s in their nature, though there are other considerations addressed in this article.

If their laziness is new, then it could be due to the weather, something they ate, an event or new experience that is upsetting them, or it could be illness.

Look for signs of illness by referencing the following list:

  • Labored breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy and inactivity
  • Excessive panting
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Dry, red eyes
  • Mucus in poo
  • Whimpering

Any of these signs indicate that your puppy could be showing signs of lethargy due to an illness and they should be immediately treated.

What Else Causes Laziness?

New Home

If your puppy is new to your home, then it’s likely they are still adjusting. It can take a week or two for them to fully feel comfortable in their new environment.

They also could be missing their siblings and mother and will find a corner somewhere to quietly bury their sorrows.

Be sure to offer lots of love and support during this time of transition.

Boredom

It’s important that your puppy has enough adequate toys in their environment. You should always purchase a variety of toys for them, as some dogs find different toys more stimulating than others.

Some pups love to chew on rubber while others enjoy pulling apart a soft toy.

One toy that we recommend to all puppy owners is an enrichment toy. A toy that makes your pup mentally work to achieve a goal, such as a treat dispensing toy, is a great option.

These types of puzzle toys can get their brain juices flowing and assist them in their development.

Wrong Diet

If your puppy isn’t receiving a nutrient rich diet that fulfills all their dietary requirements, then they could be feeling lethargic.

Just like us, if we fail to eat enough veggies in our diet, we will start to feel sluggish, and the same applies to dogs.

Three good options that offer a nutrient rich meal are:

Lack of Interaction

Puppies play better when they’re playing with others. Be sure to engage your pup in play time activities.

Try to play a game of chase, tug-of-war, or fetch. By showing enthusiasm yourself, your puppy will likely follow your lead.

There’s Nothing Wrong

Your puppy may naturally be a calm dog who prefers to lay about than engage in play time activities. If this is the case, you should consider yourself lucky, as a hyper puppy can be a handful!

Weather

If you live in a hot climate, your pup will be less likely to run around and more likely to find a cool place to rest.

Watch for fast breathing and panting and be sure to keep a bowl of fresh water around.

Car Sickness

Consider how often you are driving your puppy around. If it’s a lot, and you’re concerned your pup is lethargic a lot, it could be they’re suffering from travel sickness.

What to do for a Lazy Puppy

Here are a few things you can do to activate your dog’s boisterous side:

  • Buy different toys
  • Engage them at play time – find your inner puppy
  • Take them for play dates with other puppies
  • Have a routine for play time – such as before mealtime every day
  • Use a playful voice

How to Train a Lazy Puppy

Some puppies have little interest in just about everything except for sleep. And when they’re sleeping it’s important to allow them this time as it’s pivotal to their growth and development.

But what about when they’re awake and still show no interest in training?

Here are few things you can do to help you in training your lazy pup:

  • Find a treat they just can’t say no to! – Make sure it isn’t big, you want a small treat so you can use them generously in training. We use Wellness Soft Puppy Bites.
  • Shorter training sessions – Keep your sessions short but try for more than one in a day.
  • Train them when they’re hungry – You have a higher chance at keeping them engaged in their training.
  • If they show no interest in training, look for the backdoor method – If you want to teach your puppy to lay down, then wait for them to do exactly that, then say “drop” and give them a treat. Do this enough and you will have trained them to drop and they didn’t even know it!
  • Be patient and lower your expectations – Your puppy is learning a lot about the world and there’s a lot to take in. If your puppy is slow to learn, be patient and consistent.

They’re Still Lazy

If your vet has given your puppy the all clear, and your exercising them appropriate to their age, and there are no other factors that could be affecting their energy, then there’s only one answer remaining: you have a lazy bones on your hands! Not the worst thing in the world to have.

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