Just how much exercise does your dog need a day

Making sure you give your dog adequate amounts of exercise is extremely important not only in preventing behavior problems, but also for the overall health of your pet. It can help keep you both happy. But not all dogs need the same amount of exercise so how do you know what amount you need to spend exercising your dog?

The primary consideration in determining the amount of exercise a dog needs depends on breed. Herders, hunters and working dogs need the most exercise of all the dog breeds. Ideally, these dog breeds need 30 minutes to one hour of daily exercise, whether it is a walk with its owner, playing outside with other dogs or running around and chasing squirrels. Misbehaving is much more likely to occur as well as health deterioration without this daily amount of exercise. Examples of these breeds are: Hounds, Beagles, Border Collies, Alaskan sled dogs, Australian and German Shepherds, Terriers (particular Jack Russell) and Shelties.

A common misconception is that the smaller the dog the less exercise the dog needs. This is a misconception. It is all about breed.

Mixed breed dogs makes it a little more difficult for the owner to know how much exercise is needed. The best way to gauge this is for the owner to observe the dog’s behavior. If the dog seems to enjoy lying in the sun all day then most likely he does not need a lot of exercise. On the other hand, if the dog is restless and wanders around the yard and house constantly, his needs will be better served with more exercise.

Walking is one of the top modes of exercise. But it’s not a lot of fun to walk a dog that “pulls” or who is not obedient to your commands. Clearly a dog who knows the proper way to walk on a leash will get more walks. Teaching this skill to your dog as a puppy is critical. However if this is not yet accomplished, there are ways to teach your adult dog to walk properly on a leash.

The phrase “walking properly” refers to the dog obeying the commands the owner gives and not “pulling.” For example if the owner says “stop” the dog knows and does stop. If the owner says “sit” the dog knows and does sit. If the owner says “heel” the dog knows and does heel. By teaching your dog these commands, both you and your pet will have much more frequent and enjoyable walks together.