How much exercise should your dog get?
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