Exercise is vital to all living creatures. It maintains a healthy physical and emotional state of being. Dogs are no exception to this rule, but as always we stress all things in balance.
If your dog is acting out and out of control then you are advised to provide more exercise and increase her daily obedience work. The exercise will help her to vent her frustrations and exhaust her enough to slow the mischief down. The obedience drills will help her remember who’s in charge and whom she needs to check in with before she decides to chase the cat.
Do not think that exercise is the answer to bad behavior, as some TV trainers would have you believe. If you maintain a routine of 3 miles of exercise a day to keep your dog tired enough to behave well, then next week it might take 3.5 miles to get the same results and 4 miles the following week – because now you are conditioning an athlete and it will take more exercise to get the same results. Plus after you dog has taken a nap they wake refreshed and haven’t learned a thing. Better to work the mind which calms your dog naturally and lasts.
Young puppies should only get the same amount of exercise that they would playing around the den with their littermates. Do not over-tire your young pup.
When exercising older puppies equate their “real” age to the age of a child- this will help you understand how much exercise is enough. A four-month-old puppy should exercise like a four-year-old child ~ would you take a four-year-old child for two mile hike? Probably not. The puppy might seem like they can do it, but when they grow into their adult bodies they will begin to show the stress you put on them as puppies. Hip-dysplasia and arthritis can be environmental as well as genetic. You can create problems by over exercising a young body.
Good management begins early, it is much better to take your puppy out for 3 or 4 short walks (or play times) a day rather than 1 or 2 long ones. Here is a good guideline for planning your pups exercise regime, begin at 3 months and add 5 minutes of exercise per outing per month old.
3 months = 15 minutes
4 months = 20 minutes
5 months = 25 minutes
6 months = 30 minutes
7 months = 35 minutes
8 months = 40 minutes
9 months = 45 minutes
10 months = 50 minutes
11 months = 55 minutes
1 yr = 1 hr
We recommend you alternate between physical exercise and mental stimulation. Remember that working your dog in obedience & relationship drills for 20 minutes is just as tiring as a 20-minute walk and its far better for your relationship and your dog’s manners.