Taking Your Dog for a Walk – How Much is Enough?

How much exercise should your dog get?

The requirements vary based on the breed and with each individual dog.

Some breeds have lower physical demands and remember size doesn’t determine that. Breeds like Pointers, Retrevers, Border Collies and Jack Russells are extremely high-energy dogs. They may require several hours of excersize and stimulation every day.   

This doesn’t mean that you have to walk them for two hours, it just means that they need something to do (a job if you will) that will keep them busy for at least two hours per day.

If your dog runs with you or plays with other dogs, chases a ball or frisbee every day, or has an outlet to burn off his energy and have fun then walks are not as big ofa deal. But this is still not a replacement for walking! Your dog still needs to go for walks in order to interact (socialize) with his environment, other humans and other dogs.

As I mentioned in yesterdays blog, walking helps to provide mental stimulation and the exposure to new people, animals and situations helps to build it’s confidence. Learning to deal with different circumstances is part of socialization. A well socialized dog is more predictable and better rounded. It makes it much more fun to be around, and is much less likely to destroy your home and property.

Walking is also a great way to bond with your dog, and don’t forget all the health benefits for yourself.

OK, now that you are ready to walk and interact with your dog everyday, here’s a good rule of thumb to go by.

All dogs need your complete attention for at least one hour per day. Larger dog add ½ hour. Extreamly large dogs – add 1 hour.

You can divide this time up how every you wish. I divide my time into 15 min pieces. We play with toys twice a day for 15 mins each, we go out and play with the neighbor dogs for about ½ hour per day, and then we walk for about ½ hour.  

If you plan to JUST walk your dog, Small Dogs, (those who are under 15 pounds), need to walk at least a half mile per day. Medium dogs – 1 mile, Large dogs – 1.5 miles, and Very Large dogs – 2 miles or more per day. These numbers should keep your dog at a fairly calm level. Bur remember, a tired dog is a happy dog. And a happy dog doesn’t get into trouble.

Just remember to factor in to this, the natural energy level of your dog. If you have a hyper active dog you could about double these numbers. Subtract the energy level of an older or more calm breed and you can reduce these numbers a bit.

Tomorrow: Rules For Dog Walkers


3 thoughts on “Taking Your Dog for a Walk – How Much is Enough?

  1. I just came across your blog and I wanted to tell you that I think you are doing a great job! Iowans, as a whole, need to be more educated on animals. Whether it is walking them, feeding them the right food, or not buying dogs, most people seem to be in the dark ages. It is depressing, really. Thank you so much for helping to spread awareness on the needs of our pets!

  2. Thank You for the vote of confidence. I’ve been working with dogs since the age of 10 and it pains me to see what some people do to animals, and specificly dogs. I think a lot of it is that 85% just dont have the information they should have. The other 15% just don’t care.

    I think the only way to fix the problem is to ostart when they are young. For this reason I have taken it on myself to try to educated kids. Thats what the “ABetterDog4U” website is about. It’s geared toward grade 6-12. In the past few years I have even begun to mentor several neighborhood kids and their friends. Although I feel that I have been a sucess with them, I feel I need to do more. Thus: the Iowa Dog Trust was born!

    It is a huge project, so I have begun to look for help. I have only been putting IDT together for about 2 years and now that the programs have been conseved it is finally time to make them happen. This spring I began looking to build an alliance of business’s. Once we have some quality business’s in place, I’d like to build a “pilot program” to test it. I hope to have several events in the Cedar Rapids area next summer. Then go statewide after that.

    Please feel free to pass the word about the Iowa Dog Trust project … 😉

  3. Pingback: Taking Dogs For Walks in the Winter | The Iowa Dog Trust

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