E is for Exercise!

Posted on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 by Jo Clarke

E is for Exercise.

How much exercise do dogs need? How far should I be walking my puppy? Does a dog need to run free of its lead to be happy? These are the sorts of questions I get asked all the time, and unfortunately there is no quick answer or set requirement.

Puppies

When exercising puppies you need to be aware of their growing bones, where to much exercise and/or high impact exercise such as chasing balls, should be avoided. Large and Giant breeds are generally slower growing than the smaller or medium sized breeds and therefore may require limited/restricted exercise for longer. It is always to speak both to the breeder of your dog and your vet to further discuss. With my own dogs I have always stuck to the guide of 5 minutes exercise per month of age. Therefore a 10 week old puppy should be getting around 10 minutes lead walking and a small amount of free play per day. However this is just my own opinion based on the types and breeds of dogs I have owned and advice I have personally received over the years.

As physical exercise should be reduced in puppies, now is a great time to get rid of their excess energy providing mental stimulation and exercise which should help to tire them out! Great ideas include using food releasing toys rather than a bowl to feed their meals (Buster Cubes and Dog food games are great), scattering treats and biscuits across the garden for them to find and search for, interactive play and games with the family and teaching your puppy new commands and tricks using its daily food as rewards. Attending a good puppy training class, such as the Go Fetch It Puppy Socialisation Classes can help you and your puppy learn good manners and obedience

Adult Dogs

Again here there is no hard and fast rules which we can apply, but a bit of common sense and some good advice from a vet should give you a good gauge of how much exercise your dog will require.

Firstly, assuming that your dog is healthy and does not suffer from any conditions which affect its physical ability (such as hip dysplasia), we need to initially look at the breed or type of dog that you own. Typical working breeds such as Collies (Boarder, working sheepdog, Bearded, Shetland sheep dog etc.), working type terriers (Jack Russells, Patterdales, Fox Terriers etc.) and working line Gundog breeds (Working Cockers, Labradors, Springer Spaniels, Hunt Point Retrieve breeds) often have higher exercise requirements then say your ‘companion’ breed dogs such as the Shih-Tzu, Boston Terrier, King Charles Spaniel and Pug. The Kennel Club provide a great breed reference which can give you exercise guidelines for each breed- have a look at this one for the Labrador.

Again with adult dogs you need to give them outlets for their mental energy also- and again here be inventive, find new ways of ‘interactive’ feeding rather than using a bowl, enrol in a pet obedience training class such as the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme or if you have an active dog you may want to try your paw at some Agility.

If you have a dog which cannot be trusted off lead have a look at our 1-2-1 training or Behavioural services and see if we can help! A dog which returns when called and can be trusted running free is a joy to own!