All dogs need daily exercise but the amount each one requires depends on several factors. The three main criteria are age, health/fitness, and breed. Each of these is important and each must be considered before any vigorous activities can begin. Like people, all dogs have different needs. Some dogs are young and gifted athletes while other dogs may be frail breeds, overweight, seniors, or suffering an injury or disease. The fact is there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to each dog’s exercise needs.
So, before we can answer the question: “How much exercise does a dog require?”, we have to carefully consider each dog’s starting point. To do that we must first consider the dog’s age and that is the focus of this post. The other criteria are given above―health and breed―are equally important and should always be taken into consideration. Above all else, be safe and smart. Always consult with your vet first before starting your dog on any exercise plan.
Your Dog’s Age
Puppies are usually a tightly wound bundle of energy. They like to tear around the house and yard like little tornadoes. A puppy’s eagerness for play and learning is huge but it comes in sudden bursts rather than a steady stream. Their bodies are developing and growing fast, their need for bonding and learning are huge, and their curiosity about you and their surroundings is intense.
So, what does this mean to you? It means you must know about and take positive action on your puppy’s exercise and developmental needs. This goes well beyond feeding and house training. It means getting out with your pup each day for a fun walk or vigorous run. It means giving your pup the attention and training it craves and needs each day. A half-hour of good exercise every morning and night is a good rule-of-thumb for most healthy pups. With fundamental training, a proper diet, and plenty of rest this exercise will strengthen your pup both physically and mentally. It will help your pup soundly mature into adulthood. And, it will lay the groundwork for a permanent bonding between the two of you.
Adult dogs need regular, daily exercise too. Without it they will become overweight and bored. More often than not, a bored dog will become a problem dog. That is, bored dogs tend to snarl, fight, bite, and bark excessively. They may even become so bad-tempered as to become destructive to property and combative with other pets. As a dog parent, you don’t want that disastrous outcome.
By exercising and socializing your adult dog each day you’ll have a happy and healthy best friend for life. But, if you can’t routinely and effectively exercise your dog for any reason, then I encourage you to hire a professional to meet your dog’s needs. By reinforcing his or her training each day with rewards and love you’ll have an obedient and stable companion dog. The responsibility is yours alone―accept it and be a good parent, leader, and friend for your dog.
Senior dogs are very special and usually much loved by their human companions. Sometimes the infirmities of old age, such as disease or frailty will prohibit any kind of stressful exercise. However, most senior dogs will enjoy and benefit from the attention you give them. Just be mindful of their weight, body condition, and diet. Any sort of leisurely walk is healthy for a fit and healthy senior dog. For a frail or infirm senior dog a gentle grooming, some loving pets, or a little quiet playtime is perfectly acceptable. And, it will be much appreciated by your old best friend.
Properly training, socializing, and reinforcing your young dog is key to the dog behaving and interacting in positive ways as it matures. Remember that all dogs, especially puppies, need a lot of rest so keep the exercise sessions short but effective. As a dog parent, you should want to nourish your dog’s daily appetite for fun and challenging exercise. If you do this every day, then you’ll have a well-developed best friend for life.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief post. Most importantly, I hope you’ve gained some useful insights into the relationship between your dog’s age and exercise. As always, thanks for following our blog and be sure to share us with your friends!