How much exercise does your dog need?

How much exercise does your dog need?

Both physical and mental exercises are important for all dogs. Your dog’s age, fitness, and breed are all factors to consider when you’re setting up your dog’s exercise regimen.

More often than not, when a dog is displaying destructive behaviors, the root of the problem can be traced back to a lack of exercise. Even if you have a daily routine with your dog, if he’s being destructive and has trouble focusing on basic, well-known commands in any environment, he needs more exercise!

It’s important to be aware of your pup’s age and breed when it comes to exercise. For example, if your dog has short, stubby legs — or if he’s a giant breed like a Great Dane — regular exercise like running with you or the bike can actually cause joint damage. In this case, find something lower impact…Like swimming, or mental games!

Puppies younger than 18 months should also be monitored carefully during exercise increases. Their bodies are still growing, and heavy impact exercise like agility or coursework (or jumping for frisbees) can hurt them or cause bodily damage. Be careful! But, have fun. Consider things similar to interval training with your young dog. This allows for bursts of running and playing, but not for prolonged periods that can hurt his growing body.

As a rule, all dogs (of any size and age!) should get no less than 1 hour of dedicated exercise a day. Running, playing fetch, socializing, going for a hike, swimming, or playing hide and seek are all great ways to burn some extra energy. Ideally, adults of active powerful breeds should get 2 hours of solid exercise every day.

Exercise does not include time alone in the yard. This is not exercise! While somewhat stimulating, it is not challenging enough to burn real energy for most dogs. Exercise needs to include you! Take your dog out and about for a walk, run, or bike. Play games together! Learn new tricks (YouTube and our blog are great places to find new and fun tricks and how-tos!). Don’t get boring for your dog; keep things interesting.
Note: As a bonus, utilize your dog’s breed instincts in exercise! Have a Retriever? Make that game of fetch more interesting by doing multiple retrieves, water retrieves, or hidden retrieves. Have a Beagle? Scent games are the way to go! Just be sure to get ready for the barking! Jack Russells love to chase small prey, so make a fluffy prey decoy and attach it to a fishing rod (no hook!) and let ‘em fly!