Exercising your dog is as beneficial for you as it is for him, says a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
The authors mainly talk about walking your dog and its benefits for you, but considering the broader perspectives, those can come from just any exercise.
In this article, I’m going to take you through some tips to properly guide you on exercising your pet the right way because, as the study confirms, it’s as important for you as it is for the dog.
How Do You Tire Out A Dog Without Walking?
Dogs are predisposed to be active. Call them over for a walk, and nothing will stop them. But walking them isn’t the only way you could exercise them.
1. Training Of All Sorts
Some breeds, such as German Shepherds, Pitbulls, Australian Shepherds, Huskies, and Rottweilers, need more exercise than other breeds, such as Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs, and Schnauzers.
You might have already noticed that the latter ones are smaller breeds; yes, exercise and its frequency depend on the breed as much as it depends on the needs.
Besides walking, strolling, or running, training of all kinds stimulate dogs both physically and mentally. So, the breeds needing more exercise could easily be kept engaged with the training.
One such training is obedience training, where you teach the dog basic commands such as sit, stand, roll over, fetch, and so on.
2. Park Strolls
Dogs are social, and you already know that. Socializing is one of the ways they keep themselves entertained. No wonder you find them in groups or reply to stray bark resounding from somewhere.
You may have to put up with that one way or another, but for me, park strolls work like a charm.
It helps the dog fill its socialization bar and come home all tired enough to speak to anyone. Besides, it also helps in building social interaction by boosting confidence. However, make sure that the pup is vaccinated well enough before interacting with anyone or anything.
3. Buy Puzzle Feeders
Your dog already has a feeding bowl from where it devours its food in mere minutes. Understandably, that’s only keeping his hunger checked.
Some puzzle feeders available online and in the market help spice up mealtimes by successfully hiding the food in crevices. It not only keeps the dog entertained but also reduces his eating speed. As a result, he feels satisfied, and his spontaneous hunger keeps you out of trouble.
4. Stair Climbing
Exercising your dog indoors is a huge task. Stairs, on the other hand, provide a good opportunity for the pup to shed some calories.
Climb the stairs yourself and then ask your dog to do the same. I understand that it could be hard for the pup to keep up, but with time, he’ll learn what you want from him.
Swimming is an intensive exercise, but like humans, not every dog is fond of it. Take the Huskies as an example. They originated in Siberia, where the temperature falls way below 0 degrees Celsius. No wonder these dogs didn’t develop swimming habits because who could live in those temperatures?
However, that doesn’t mean in any way that you can’t train them to swim. After all, they are dogs, and they can do anything once trained properly.
Here’s how to do it.
- Pick a safe spot, either your own or a public pool.
- Look at the dog’s comfort and help him start in a shallow pool.
- Do not compromise at all on the pooch’s safety.
- Jump into the pool right with your dog.
- Swap swimming for walking or other activity to exercise the dog.
- Make a routine because dogs are suckers for that.
- Wait for the results. They are going to take some time.
Adult dogs do learn new things, but as I said, they are going to take time. Young pups, on the contrary, learn things faster. So, if you still have the chance, start the training early on.
6. Playing In Safe Premises
Sometimes dogs just want to be left alone to do their thing. Of course, you can’t do that because leaving them at their will may mean a nuisance for you. Complaints from your neighbors are one thing, but the dog’s safety, if it has a knack for running into cars, should worry you.
There’s a better way to do that. I have reviewed some great wired and wireless fence products on this website. They allow the dogs to play in secure premises. Whenever they try to break that premise, the collar on their necks stops them from doing so with the help of benign stimulations.
7. Throw Dog Parties Or Arranging Playdates
If leaving training collars on them for a few hours in the previous exercise isn’t your priority, throwing dog parties may become one.
I understand that you cannot throw a party every day but arranging playdates may be easy. You should ask your friends for help with this. Make sure that their pets are vaccinated and not aggressive. You want to create a safe environment for the pups, not destroy their confidence.
8. Join Agility Classes
You may be short on time and couldn’t fulfill your dog’s exercise needs. That’s completely okay. Agility classes in your vicinity could help you with that. They charge you for the time spent, and the workouts are done. Consider them as gym routines for your pet.
What Is The Best Way To Exercise Your Dog?
The best way for me is walking the dog down the street. It helps in tiring it out but seemingly so simple, walking too requires great knowledge.
You may be interested to read more about the health benefits of dog walking in this research.
Here are some expert tips.
1. Introduce the pup to collars, leashes, or anything you may take along for walking.
2. Highly active dogs or puppies tend to pull on the leash in an effort to run here and there. You may want to drain all that energy earlier. You could either walk them up the stairs a few times, play tug of war, or let it tear its toys to shreds.
3. When walking the dog for the first time, do not force it to walk at your pace. Instead, respect its limits and walk at its pace.
4. Use a harness to control the dog properly.
5. Use treats to distract it from the surrounding stimuli.
6. You may want to maintain a certain distance from possible distractions.
Try these tips and also learn more from my puppy walking tips in detail!
However, as I mentioned earlier, do not walk the pup before its vaccinations because it may contract horrifying diseases such as lepto, parvovirus, dog bronchitis, and canine distemper. These bacterial and viral diseases may lead the dog to a hospital emergency.
You could exercise unvaccinated puppies indoors using some of the methods I shared above. Add one more to it: Create small hurdles for it in your safe backyard and walk it through them. When it comes to walking indoors, however, the rule of thumb is to walk your pup every 5 minutes per 1 month of its age.
How Many Hours Should A Dog Be Exercised?
According to Outdoordogadventures, dogs should exercise for at least 2 hours daily. But this is a general estimation. How much exercise a dog need depends on its breed, sex, age, and lifestyle. As you already read, some breeds are more active than others, and some are entirely couch potatoes.
For example, German Shepherds and Border Collies need 90 minutes of exercise, while French Bulldog is fine with 60 minutes. The latter is a small breed with a lifestyle suited for an apartment. Thus, it doesn’t want a lot of exercise.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Exercised Enough?
There are clear telltale signs that indicate your dog’s stagnant lifestyle.
1. Gaining Weight
According to a Journal of Nutritional Science study, overweight dogs tend to exercise less frequently. Even if they do, they’ll burn out after a few minutes.
So, if your dog’s not exercising like it used to, chances are that it has gained some extra pounds. The same study mentioned obesity as the “number one health concern in the dog world.” You better get down on cutting back the dog food and helping your pet exercise.
2. Destroys Things
Dogs, when not exercised well, release their energies on things they find around the house. Therefore, you may see a torn sofa, broken vase, or shredded toilet paper.
It may also try to run away from the house, as with huskies. They are escape masters.
The underperforming thyroid gland is one reason for lethargy, and depression is another. You should get your dog checked for both if you notice a shift in its behavior. It may stay in a corner for a long time. Staying withdrawn and uninterested is another telltale sign that the dog’s suffering from depression. In worst scenarios, it may even stop engaging with you as actively as it did before.
4. Showing Over Excitement
Dogs show their involvement in something by being extra enthusiastic about it. When you take it out, it may start jumping around, barking excessively, and showing restlessness like never before. All these signs of over-excitement present the case of him missing being walked out.
5. Barking Like A Maniac
These animals communicate with barking, whimpering, and whining, among other physical cues. Your dog may have started barking incessantly at everything. Listen to it. I don’t say you should rule out other possibilities, but I’m sure not exercising it well is one of the main reasons.
6. Muscle And Joint Stiffness
A dog exercising less daily will experience muscle and joint stiffness in the long run. You know how it goes with these two. They are built for mobility; if they don’t get it, their growth will stunt, resulting in weakness, pain, and muscle seizures.
You may consider other reasons, however. The stiffness could also result from arthritis, especially in older dogs.
Is It Okay Not To Walk Your Dog Every Day?
Smilingleash says that walking your dog daily isn’t necessary. Sometimes, the animal might need a break as much as you need a break from the gym. Taking a few moments to itself will help the muscles cope with breakdown, if any, and rejuvenate to take on further exercise down the line.
So, yes, it’s okay not to walk your dog every day. However, do not forget to consider your dog’s mood. It may be too active to rest on a given day. I understand that some owners cannot get along with daily walks. That’s where the indoor activities I talked about come in. They could serve as low-key exercise regimes, all the while keeping you off the streets.
What Happens If You Exercise Your Dog A Lot?
Over-exercising and under-exercising are two sides of the same coin. They both lead to debilitating conditions that no owner would want for their dog. I talked about the effects of under-exercising the pet, where obesity is the major issue.
When over-exercised, a dog may experience these:
1. Paw Blisters
Dogs have soft foamy pads beneath their paws. They serve as shock absorbers and are somewhat immune to wear from beneath.
However, they aren’t entirely indestructible. They have a limit, and breaching it will only cause them harm. If you see wear and tear in your dog’s paws, it’s time to let it rest.
Do not force it to walk on those because it’s akin to walking on blisters.
2. Heat Strokes In Summers
Dogs don’t have effective cooling mechanisms as we do. Therefore, they have a higher chance of getting a heat stroke in summer upon profusely heating up.
One of the catalysts for that is over-exercising.
Heating up and sweating more go hand in hand until the sweating takes over and the dog gets dehydrated. You may not want that because it leads to muscle soreness and stiffness. It’s a two-way sword for muscles, as you may have noticed. Not exercising them enough leads to their stiffness, but so does over-exercising.
However, the latter is because of acute water loss, while the former results from inactivity.
4. Avoiding Activities
A tired dog is a quiet dog; you may know that, but a tired dog is also too tired to do anything. Thus, you’ll see him lying in near-unconscious bliss somewhere. It will muster up any energy left to free itself from your clutches when you try to take it out for walking.
Related: How to tire out a puppy?
German Shepherds become too timid, so you know when to stop.
There is more to over-exercising than just these, as stated in the article: how much exercise a German Shepherd needs.
Dog Exercise Guide And Tips – Conclusion
Dogs require daily exercise to keep healthy and active. However, how much they require depends on several factors, including age, sex, weight, and, most of all, breed. The answer in this article is for dogs in general. Read about your specific breed on our website. I have sprinkled links above for you to follow. Good luck!