Exercising Your Dog
It's easy to get frustrated with the so called "chore" of walking your dog (especially during cold or wet weather), but striving to make the exercise enjoyable for both you and your dog can improve both of your lifestyles dramatically. You can even exercise your dog inside by making him work for his treats and using pathways through your house as makeshift obstacle courses. Read on to find out exactly how much exercise your dog needs, and how to get the most out of walking him.
How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?
Its easy to see that the athletic and muscular Rhodesian Ridgeback will need more exercise than the stocky English Bulldog but for other breeds it can be less straightforward. How much exercise or how far your dog should be walked depends on its size, age and breed.
Giving your dog regular exercise everyday is the perfect way to keep them in shape. To understand how much exercise your dog needs, take him on a walk and see if he is worn out by the end of it. If he has had enough exercise he is likely to rest or sleep. If he is still full of beans or seems to be putting on excessive weight, you will need to lengthen your walk, or provide him with more strenuous activities along the way. Some great ways to give your dog more exercise on a walk include swimming (if the breed is able to do so) and a game of fetch.
Terriers retrieving sticks
It is important to understand that taking your dog on a big, long walk at the weekend will not make up for any exercise that he isn’t getting during the week. Make it interesting by bringing a ball to play with and get the whole family involved. This will provide your dog with a great deal more exercise and will offer a great opportunity to bond and get stuck into more training.
English Bulldogs playing outside
Enough exercise will help to calm your dog down, and will prevent him from developing destructive behaviour. If you don’t give your dog the opportunity to use his energy, he’ll find other ways to use it. Many dogs turn to destructive behaviours like chewing, digging, raiding cupboards and bins, and attention seeking habits like barking, whining and play biting.
Can You Over Exercise a Dog?
There's nothing better than showing your dog you love him by taking him out for an adventure. You may be thinking that you are as fit as they come but remember that dogs share a common ancestor with wolves who can run all day if they have to. Whilst this can make it quite difficult to over exercise some of the larger dog breeds it can be very easy to over exercise a puppy.
Over exercising an adult dog can be quite difficult. See how long it takes for your dog to tire and then work around that. If you are walking your dog off the lead and allowing him to run around then he will tire a lot faster, but if you are walking him on the lead then you may need to exercise him for longer. Dogs enjoy being taken for a walk, so make it fun by bringing a ball or toy to play with along the way.
If your older dog suffers with heart or joint problems it is best to allow him to wander around the garden under your supervision. Avoid taking an older dog out during the hottest part of the day because their ability to regulate their body temperature deteriorates as they get older.
Over exercising a growing puppy can result in joint problems, particularly with Giant Breeds. General guidelines suggest that a puppy should receive five minutes of exercise for every month of it’s age. For example, 10 minutes per day for a dog of 2 month, and 15 minutes a day for a dog of 3 months. This can be done in one or two walks per day, but until your puppy is at least a year old, it should be taken for no more than two walks per day.