Exercise is a topic that comes up all the time in training classes. Students are asking what type and how much exercise their dog needs. The answer is fairly simple. If your dog is constantly bringing his ball or favorite toy to you while you are trying to relax, he’s not getting enough. High-energy dogs such as retrievers need more than lower energy dogs like Dachshunds or Shiba Inu’s. Exercise not only tires your dog out so both of you can relax; it also provides a healthy lifestyle for him. So, what is enough exercise?
When I ask students whose dogs are having a hard time focusing or bouncing all over the place, I ask how much exercise they get. “We went for a mile walk just before class” is the answer I get. Taking a high-energy Lab or Golden Retriever for a one-mile walk is the equivalent as a marathon runner jogging around the block. In most cases, it’s going energize them and leave them wanting more. Most dogs need at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise
every day, some need much more.
There are a number of ways to exercise your dog. You can take your dog out for a jog, play fetch, take them swimming, go to a dog park or take them to doggie daycare. If you have a dog that likes to fetch things, playing ball or Frisbee works great. If you don’t have a fenced yard where you can play safely, tennis courts work well. If your dog likes water, swimming is one of the best ways to exercise your dog.
Dog parks are another option for exercising your dog. There is normally plenty of room for playing ball or Frisbee; some even have ponds for the dogs to swim in. Dog parks also have the added benefit of socializing your dog with other dogs. Make sure you do your homework before going to a dog park. Most are great places but you’ll want to visit them on the days and hours you plan on going to make sure it’s going to be what you want.
One of the best options for exercise and socialization is doggie daycare. Doggie daycares are normally staffed with people that not only like dogs, but are also trained on how to handle large groups. They also understand the difference between good play and play that could go bad. Again, I would do your homework by stopping by any facility you plan on taking your dog to. Get a tour of the facility, talk to the staff and ask plenty of questions. Find out if
you can see the dogs interacting during your tour. You will want to make sure you feel comfortable with how your dog will be handled.
Exercising your dog will not only tire him out so both of you can relax; it will also help him live a longer, happier life.