Wildebeest's Guide to Exercising With Your Dog
Do you worry that your pup isn’t getting enough exercise? Because a dog’s energy threshold is determined by many things such as breed, age, and overall demeanor, it can be hard to know for sure whether or not they’re getting the physical exertion that’s optimal for their lifestyle.
While every dog is unique, there are some general guidelines for life stages to keep in mind. Small indicators such as behavioral problems or excessive destruction are a good sign that the pup might need some more activity — conversely, if they’re sleeping as much as your housecat, you’re probably doing something right!
If you’re unsure about how much energy your dog needs to burn off each day, check out these life-stage guidelines so you can ensure you’re doing enough of (and the right kind of!) exercising with your pup:
Puppies are undoubtedly adorable, but they’re also full of playful energy they need to use up. Giving them plenty of opportunity for exercise will keep them well-behaved, help with potty training, and ensure they’re staying at an optimum weight as they grow into adulthood. A good rule of thumb is to do 5 minutes of exercise per month of age twice per day until the puppy is fully grown.
Since puppies’ joints are still developing, it’s important to choose exercises that won’t cause undue strain or set them up for future issues. In the beginning, avoid activities that involve lengthy runs, stairs, or steep inclines. Instead, use this time to teach pup to use puzzle toys, schedule puppy playdates, or begin working on fetch basics. Puppyhood is the perfect time to experiment with a lot of different activities to find out what your dog enjoys — just be sure to pick things that can be done in short bursts with lots of time to rest in between.
Larger than puppies with about the same threshold for activity, almost-grown dogs will certainly keep you on your toes. In the “teen years” of dog ownership, young dogs are still not fully matured but can do much more than they could as a puppy. Their joints are still at risk for straining but much less so, and they’ll be better at taking a break on their own when they get tired.
This is a great time to let them start exploring the world around them in more depth. If you’re near a safe body of water, swimming is a great, no-impact activity to try (and it will wear. them. out.)! This is also a great time to take field trips to a dog park, so you can start building socialization manners and give them time to explore off-leash in a controlled environment. Make sure to provide plenty of water and let their curiosity be your guide.
Fully grown pups will start to mellow out eventually, but they still need regular exercise to keep them happy, healthy, and out of trouble! Experts recommend a guideline of about 60 minutes per day, but that number should be customized based on any health restrictions (such as Brachycephalic breeds) and each individual pup’s needs.
To get the energy out of adult dogs, you can do whatever your pup prefers! Walks, jogs, and hikes will get their nose and legs working, and honing in on their fetch skills is a low-effort activity for you. Additionally, adulthood is the perfect time to try out an organized activity if you think your pup might be interested — dogs of all breeds can thrive in sports such as barn hunts, sporting agility, or flyball.
You can definitely teach an old dog new tricks! While senior pups shouldn’t be subjected to high-impact exercises, there are still plenty of things you can do to keep them active. Take things at their pace, but short, frequent walks and play sessions are great for maintaining their health.
Additionally, there are activities you can do with your senior dog that aren’t cardiovascularly straining at all. Teaching them new tricks, playing “find the treat”, and setting them up with puzzles or snuffle mats will keep their minds and bodies engaged for a long and happy life!
Wildebeest creates adventure-ready dog gear for the modern family right here in California. All products carry a Wild4Life guarantee, so you can exercise without worry! Show us how you get your beest’s activity in — tag us on Instagram or use #mywildebeest!