How do I know if I am exercising my dog enough?

boxer on floor

Exercising your dog is one of the key elements to dog ownership. Dogs have been our best friends for years, working at our sides and helping us do specific jobs for centuries. That being said, in this modern day era if you can’t provide a space or take the time out of your day to exercise your dog, you are going to have problems and so is your dog. Exercise is about more than just physical health for dogs, it’s about their mental health as well and I can promise you, if you’ve got a dog chewing up things they’re not supposed to or digging or running away— they’re probably not getting enough exercise. Dogs have to burn off energy, especially young dogs, and most especially puppies. So how much exercise does your dog need? Well, let’s talk breed and age.

So how much exercise does your dog need? Well, let’s talk breed and age.

Obviously, a 5-month-old lab is going to have more energy to burn off than a 9 year old basset hound. This is where you’re actually going to have to do some research on your dog’s breed because some breeds naturally require less energy while some require more. This all goes back to how we as humans bred our best friends to do specific jobs. That being said, a walk around the block on the leash for pretty much any dog isn’t going to make the cut. No matter how much energy the breed has, 30-60 minutes of exercise time is recommended daily.

dog running

High Energy Breeds 

  • CorgisLabs
  • RetrieversTerriers
  • Pit bulls
  • Pointers
  • Stag Hounds
  • Irish Setters
  • Dalmations
  • Border Collies
  • most toy breeds

Low Energy Breeds

  • Great Danes
  • Grey Hounds
  • French bulldogs
  • Chow Chows
  • Shiba Inus
  • Mastiffs
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Bulldog
  • Akitas

So what it really comes down to when wanting to properly exercise your dog is not size, but rather, breed. And once you research their breed, you will find out what exactly their breed’s specialty is. For example, if you research a Border Collie, you will find out that it was made to herd and be agile. Upon finding that out, an owner of a Border Collie would obviously know that their dog is high energy and on that page, it recommends agility training for exercise. There’s your answer! Border Collies are probably the smartest dog breed and are excellent at agility training. Get your Collie involved in this and you’ll never find a chewed up shoe in the house again.

dog playing frisbee

However, we don’t all have the time, nor the money to sign up our dogs for agility training. Walking your dog is great! But seriously if you’re going to walk your dog, you have to commit. If you don’t feel like walking around the neighborhood for about an hour, try taking your dog to the dog park if he or she is properly socialized. This is a great opportunity for your pup to get some energy out while also socializing which is great for your dog’s mental health. And don’t worry, almost all dog parks have separate areas for small and large dogs (and plenty of seating for humans!)

And now contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are made for long runs, so you can’t just take any dog for a ten mile jog and expect it to react the same way that you do physically. The truth is, some dogs are runners and some dogs aren’t. Weimaraners, Vizslas, and Golden doodles are perfect for people who like to run long distances (over 10 miles). Greyhounds, Pit bulls, and Beagles are great for any distance under ten miles. This is the perfect exercise for dogs of this type, however for dogs like German Shepherds, this could quicken the onset of hip dysplasia and arthritis and so you should stick to Kong toys and fetch for your German Shepherd in that case. Word of warning to runners, don’t forget that dog’s don’t have shoes so be wary on hot days because dogs can actually sustain serious burns on their paw pads if running on hot concrete.

If you have a smaller dog, say, under 15 pounds, you can probably get away with exercising your dog indoors. You’re really going to have to devote some time to your dog one on one though. Smaller dogs have smaller circulatory systems so playing fetch in the living room will wear them out much quicker than it will a 120lb American Bulldog.

So you don’t live near a dog park and you have a large dog? Well, put that backyard to use! Get some toys and interact with your dog! Teach your dog to play fetch and “let go”. Exercising the brain is also important. Teaching your dog simple commands like “sit” and “shake” and etiquette like “no begging” and “no jumping up on people” are all things you can teach your dog little by little and these things will keep your pup’s mind spinning.

It’s that easy. Do a little research on your dog’s breed to find out exactly how much and what kind of exercise he or she needs. And to keep your pup healthy, make sure to visit The Dog Bakery to not only feed your dog some of the healthiest food there is, but to help feed shelter and rescue dogs. For every item you buy one is given to a dog in need.