Having a dog is one of the best decisions you’ll make in your life. Their companionship, personalities, and loyalty are just a few great reasons to have a dog. But there is also a great deal of responsibility involved in owning a dog. They need adequate nutrition, healthcare, love, and stimulation. That’s what we want to discuss today – exercising your dog.
Dogs need exercise. They don’t do well physically or mentally if their physical needs aren’t met. But how much does your dog need to exercise every day? Is it fair to exercise them until you’re pooped, or is your stamina a poor indicator of your dog’s needs? Read on to learn how much daily exercise your dog really needs.
Not Just for Potty Breaks
People who don’t own dogs generally think that the purpose of taking your dog out for a walk is to poop and pee (pardon our French). Of course, allowing your dog to relieve themselves is a part of the daily walk ritual, but there’s much more to this time outdoors they crave. If you have a large backyard and you allow your dog to ‘go’ out there when you’re at work, they will still need a longer, more scenic walk in the afternoon or evening.
Dogs are people too (you know what we mean), and they can become bored with the same settings and people. Unlike us, though, dogs can become destructive when they’re bored and misbehave. Dogs need mental stimulation as well as physical activity – hopefully, they get both of these needs met in the same activities.
How Much Does Your Dog Need
So, how much activity does your dog really need? There are several factors to keep in mind when determining this. For instance, your dog’s breed, age, health, and personality will all factor into how active they need to be.
The biggest consideration is their breed. Dogs like Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Belgian Malinois are high-energy breeds who love to be active. In contrast, breeds like Basset Hounds, Yorkshire Terriers, and Bulldogs are low-energy breeds that don’t require as much exercise.
While we joked a little about comparing your stamina with your dog’s, it is essential to consider your energy when deciding on the dog you want. If you enjoy an active lifestyle, a high-energy dog is a good fit for you. But if you’re more of a couch potato, you and a low-energy dog will be happier together. Try to be realistic about your expectations.
If your dog is young and healthy, it’ll need more exercise than an older dog or one with health issues. Observe your dog at exercise to see if they need more or less time. Dogs that start walking slowly or pull on the leash may be telling you they’re ready to go home.
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Ways to Exercise Your Dogs
Walking your dog is a simple way to give them the exercise they need, but it isn’t the only way. Here are a few other ways to exercise your dog.
Running is an excellent idea for you and your dog. Begin slowly, even if your dog is high-energy. Let your dog work up to running just like you would do for yourself. Begin with walk runs and short bursts of runs, then build up to longer distances.
Related: Top 10 Hardest Dog Breeds to Train
Walking is the staple activity for dog owners – as it should be. A walk (gentle or brisk) will give your dog the chance to get fresh air, take in new sights, sounds, and smells, and of course, pee and poop. Their walks can also be opportunities to socialize with other dogs and deepen the bond between the two of you. Often, your dog will need one or two walks each day.
You don’t have to stick to dry land when exercising your dog. Many dogs love the water and would eagerly swim in the ocean, a pool, or other bodies of water. They’ll have great fun with you in the water while you both get fit and burn calories.
In addition, to exercising on a walking trail, your dog can also benefit hugely from regular play sessions. Depending on your breed and your dog’s personality, they might enjoy various games. Some dogs enjoy a game of chase, catch, and tug of war, and some even love to hide and seek. There are loads of dog toys available on the market that stimulate their natural inclinations. Add a dog treat to one of those toys, and they’ll spend lots of time in play. Consider safety as well as your dog’s enjoyment when choosing how you’ll play together.
Hiking is an excellent opportunity to bond with your dog over a longer period. Hiking trails are often in scenic locations, so there will be lots to stimulate both of your minds. There are usually other dogs for your dog to socialize with and new sights and smells. But just as you work with your dog to build up to running, you should do the same with hiking. The terrain and distances may be more than they’re used to, so take it slow initially.
If your dog is high-energy, it might like to run along with you on a cycle ride. Huskies, Dalmatians, and Pointers are just a few of the dogs that might love a long run. You still have to build your dog’s stamina to those speeds slowly. Don’t push them too hard. Instead of making them healthier and more robust, you could cause injury. Your time out should be enjoyable and invigorating for both of you.
Some dogs thrive on agility exercises like obstacle courses. They love the physical and mental challenges of running through tunnels, jumping over hurdles, and seesaws. They’ll get a good workout and really enjoy themselves. Depending on your dog’s energy level, this could be a weekly or several times per week activity for them.
When you take the dog out for exercise, please consider its fitness level, energy, and age. Choose exercise experiences that are fit and appropriate for their breed and personality. Also, consider the weather when you go out. If it’s too cold or too hot for you, it will also be too much for them.
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