06 May How much exercise does your dog need?
It’s been a big day. Work was hard, you’re tired. It’s raining and cold. You just don’t have time.
As Baxta or Charlie pant by the door, hoping and wishing to go for a walk with their best friend, you ruffle their fur and say, “not today buddy”. The following day, you take them for a stroll around the block, and that’s enough right?
The answer is no.
Experts in dog behaviour agree that too little exercise is causing epidemic levels of canine obesity, lethargy and behavioural problems. It would blow your mind how many pets around the world are considered obese – and it’s on the rise.
How much exercise your dog needs depends on breed, age and general health. But the consensus among behaviourists and veterinarians is that one hour a day of exercise is required to keep your four-legged friend fit. You don’t have to spend your days throwing balls until your arms ache, or take your pup on a daily bushwalk.
You also need to factor in general mental and social stimulation that occurs naturally during the day, and at home. It’s best to research your dog breed to have a better understanding of how their natural instincts play into their need for exercise.
You also need to consider how old your pup is. Smaller puppies will need lots of sleep but also lots of exercises, so short bursts are best.
Adult dogs have the most options when it comes to physical workouts. They can jump to catch balls, roll around with other adult dogs and swim further and more confidently.
When heading outside isn’t an option, indoor games you can play at home include tug of war and hide and seek (the winner finds the well-hidden treat), as well as learning new commands. Any game that builds your dog’s self-control by helping him turning away from temptations will flex his brain cells and also lay the foundation for better behaviour.
Whatever you do, be consistent and make activities fun, not a chore. Exercise is as much about your dog’s well-being as bonding with your companion.