While most puppy owners understand the benefits of exercising their puppy, a question frequently asked is how much exercise a puppy needs. Too little exercise and the puppy may become bored, and too much exercise can lead to injury.
There is no definite answer to this question, so we need to look at various factors, including the breed of your dog, their size, and how old your puppy is. Some breeds are predisposed to orthopedic problems, and any strenuous exercise should be delayed until they mature well. For giant breeds, this can take until they are 18 months of age or more.
Also read: Dog Obesity, And How To Avoid It
A young pup will not do too much, as their young legs won’t have much strength until they are 5-6 weeks old. While they are very young, the only exercise your pup needs is to potter around your home with their litter mates.
At this early age, pups should be allowed to determine how much exercise they do. Pups should never be forced to exercise as it can cause long-term harm to their growing bones and joints. If you leave them to their own devices, they will run and play as much as they want, then rest when tired. Remember that an enthusiastic pup will want to run and play with you and may not want to stop. It’s up to you to put the brakes on and allow them time to rest and recover.
You can start taking them for walks once your pup is five or six months old. Watch for any signs of weariness, and stop before they get tired. Their bones are still growing and still susceptible to overuse injury. At this age, you should avoid any excessive jumping because this can be particularly harmful to young joints.
When your dog is 12 months of age, you can start taking them for long walks and even start a jogging program with them. This is great for keeping them trim and burning up their excess energy. It’s also good for their mood, and your health will improve. Dogs make ideal running buddies!
Consider joining a dog sports club – agility, flyball, and tracking are lots of fun for dogs and will exercise their brains and bodies.
Most neighborhoods have a dog park, a great venue to let your dog off-leash to have a good run around. They can play with other dogs, wrestle and tumble, and completely wear themselves out.
Never underestimate the importance of exercise in your dog’s physical and mental well-being. You’ll find that if they have enough exercise, they’ll be less anxious and less inclined to get up to mischief because they are bored. After all, a tired dog is a happy dog.