Not all dogs are the same and not all dogs need the same amount of exercise. However, all dogs need some amount of regular exercise.
The amount of regular exercise your dog needs, will even vary with their age. However, before you consider getting a dog, you need to seriously consider if you can offer a dog the active lifestyle that they need.
Why Does a Dog Need Regular Exercise?
Your dog needs regular exercise to keep them physically fit. But they also need it for their mental health. Your dog will become bored and frustrated without regular exercise.
Dogs are very active, by nature. As a general rule, humans are not as active as they used to be. We either work long hours, or sit for many hours. Either on the computer or watching TV. This mismatch can make for a strained relationship – or a really miserable dog.
Before bringing a dog into your home, you must consider the activity level that the dog needs, to be physically and emotionally healthy. It is easy to think that you only have to walk a dog twice daily, so you will get sufficient exercise too.
Consider the activity level a dog needs to be physically and emotionally healthy.
If you don’t walk now, you are unlikely to change these habits enough to make a good fit between you and an active dog. It’s the dog that will suffer if they fail to get what they need in regular outdoor time.
The amount of daily activity that a dog needs is not the same as exercise. Every dog needs time each day to walk, run, jump and unwind. That may come with a walk on the leash to the park or around the block.
A dog that lives in a home with a fenced yard can enjoy free running and playing without the constraints of a leash. Older adults who have their own problems with mobility limitations need to choose a dog that requires less daily activity.
Variety of Regular Exercise
Dogs need a variety of exercise too. My dog Poppy has an hour walk around the block in the morning. She can sniff to her hearts content and we can have a tug of war over whether she can eat all the leftover takeaway on the floor. A couple of hours later she has an hour group walk with a dog walker and other doggie friends. We then go out at lunchtime to the woods where she can run over, under and through obstacles. She normally tries to climb a tree to follow a squirrel, but gravity normally wins here. Then a play in the field after work (mine not hers) and a final play or quick walk around the block before bed. It’s the variety as much as the miles that keeps her active and interested.
Larger dogs tend to be more physically active. Among those are dogs whose heritage includes being working or hunting dogs. They have an innate desire to be busy and work off energy. Dogs such as Irish Setter, Doberman, Beagle, German Shepherd and Greyhound are built for movement and agility, so they naturally desire daily exercise.
Size can fool you as the extremely large dogs like the St. Bernard and Bull Mastiff, who can easily outweigh their owners, are low activity dogs. Even though you see the St. Bernard in movies rescuing the lost skier, what you miss is the rest of the time when the dog is sleeping in front of the fireplace.
Small dogs like Poodles, Pekinese and Chihuahuas can live in small spaces and forego the daily long walk in the park, but their high-strung temperaments cause them to be high in activity around the house.
Granted, their activity may be running aimlessly around the room, or bouncing on you, but they do calm down when the energy burst is spent. That’s the point where the little dogs crawl back on your lap or on their plush pillow for a well-deserved nap to recharge.
People who enjoy spending time outdoors for recreation or to unwind after a day at work are ideal owners for active dogs. Both owner and dog look forward to the end of the day, when they can play chase in the park or go for a run together.
Just remember that your dog needs regular exercise for both their physical and mental health. Regular exercise relieves stress in people. It does in dogs too. How much regular exercise does your dog get and do you think it is enough?