There are plenty of activities that we can do to exercise our dogs and even to exercise together.
But before diving into naming them…
For fun and profitable exercise sessions, every dog parent needs to understand their dog’s exercise needs and preferences first.
Also, safety and training come hand in hand when introducing a new activity to your pooch.
So, let’s dive into the details of dog exercise!
Why do dogs always need to be exercised?
Exercise is one of the five dog care pillars for your dog’s welfare. No matter how big or small your dog is, or how young or old, they all need exercise to maintain their health.
Regular exercise helps your dog to:
So, what happens when you don’t exercise your furry friend?
A lack of sufficient mental and physical stimulation can lead to various health and behavioural problems such as:
Of course, different dogs require different levels of activity:
Puppies have a lot of energy but less stamina than an adult dog, i.e., they need more breaks.
These short exercise sessions should consist of training, walking and playing to keep your puppy mentally and physically stimulated.
According to The Kennel Club, you can exercise your pup a ratio of five minutes of exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until your puppy is full-grown. This means 15 minutes of exercise up to twice a day when your pup is three months old, for example.
Generally, young and adult dogs have more energy than pups and senior dogs. That’s why they will need more exercise and playtime.
Adult dogs require at least between 30 minutes to 2 hours plus of exercise daily, depending on the breed.
Your dog’s breed plays a major role in how much exercise the dog needs on a daily basis. While age and health need to be considered, the breed is an indication of your dog’s general activity/energy levels.
Proper exercise is just as important for your senior dog as it is for your puppy or adult dog.
It’s just that as your dog ages, her exercise needs change, but they don’t disappear!
For instance, while walks should still be an important part of a senior dog’s life, these should shorten in length and be taken at a slower pace. Also, swimming can be good for her joints.
Depending on your dog’s breed and temperament, your pooch might be more inclined towards certain activities and play with certain toys.
On How to Choose a Dog Toy blog post, I go through the steps to help you select the right toy for your pooch.
As dog parents, discovering what games and toys your dog loves makes exercising her easier and more fun!
So what is your dog’s fav game?
|BREEDS||SENSE, INSTINCT||GAME, ACTIVITY, TOY|
|Puzzle toys, |
|Flying disc, |
|Jack Russells, |
|Pest control.||Tug, digging, |
|Bichons Frises, |
Shiba Inus, etc.
|No longer |
the duties for which
|Pointers, Setters, |
walking and hiking.
Also, therapy dogs, assistance dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
Dogues de Bordeaux,
Saint Bernards, etc.
|Performing specific tasks for their owners.||Obedience|
Miniature Pinschers,Papillons, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, etc.
|Companion.||Squeaky toys, tricks and games.|
Use the guide in my favourite dog toys for a complete range of toy option depending on breed traits and preferences.
Now it’s time to address how to safely exercise your dog or puppy.
There are some safety precautions you should take when exercising with your pooch.
Prior to exercising with your dog or puppy, here are some things to consider:
Here are some general tips to help you exercise your pooch safely:
After exercising with your furry friend, you will need to:
The goal of these recommendations is to ensure your dog’s safety when it comes to exercise, but also to keep your pooch healthy and happy for years to come!
There are many activities for exercising your dog, some more intense than others.
Have you ever noticed that your dog is quite energetic after a brisk walk but completely drained after a short training session?
That’s because just 10-15 minutes of mental stimulation, (an activity that requires your dog to concentrate and process information), is as physically exhausting as a half-hour of moderate exercise like walking or playing.
Playing with your dog and training her is a great way to keep your furry friend mentally and physically stimulated. Plus, apart from spending quality time together, it is a great opportunity to reinforce basic obedience, practice commands, and strengthen the bond you share.
Depending on your dog’s energy level, there are a variety of activities she can take part in outdoors and indoors.
There are loads of activities that you and your dog can do together to keep you both fit and healthy. 😉
Never underestimate the power of walking!
Daily walks are a simple way to introduce movement in your life and engage your whole body.
Plus, a brisk walk is a great opportunity to get rid of your dog’s extra energy and for your pooch to engage in sniffing around and exploring new places, making use of one of their primary senses – smell.
Insider Tip: A slow walk where you let you pooch sniff for as long as she wants is also a great way to keep her mentally stimulated.
Playtime is a fun way to bond with your pooch and also teaches us to continue to be playful regardless of our age.
Additionally, dog games are a great source of mental and physical stimulation for your furry friend.
Apart from games like fetch and tug, brain games keep your dog’s mind engaged and sharp throughout her life. With these games, you teach her new skills and increase her intelligence.
The faster your doggy is moving, the more energy she releases.
Some dogs enjoy short sprints or light jogging, others love running for long distances. And some don’t like running at all! Like our Tootsie, a pug that we fostered.
It all depends on your dog’s energy levels, stamina and character.
Some dogs can gradually increase their tolerance and join you on your daily run. Just make sure that your pooch can take it!
For the more adventurous and outdoorsy dog parent, this a wonderful activity that provides lots of mental and physical stimulation for your pooch.
When I was younger, I used to go mountain climbing and hiking every weekend. My two dogs at the time, Lagun (a Pyrenean Mastiff) and Boss (a Boxer), would come along when appropriate for them.
With Lagun, we climbed the highest mountain in the Iberic Peninsula, the Mulhacén (3,479 m). He thrived in the snow and he was a great aide for us on that trip as the mountain was still covered in snow that spring.
There are many dog sports that your dog would enjoy including agility.
It involves training your dog to do a number of obstacles on an agility course, such as
And you are more than welcome to run alongside your dog. 😉
Consider enrolling your dog at a local club. You can either enter as a serious competitor or simply for fun!
Yes, you can do yoga with your dog!
Also known as “doga,” this exercise is meant to relax and calm you both. You can either do it at home or find out if there are any local classes. Dogs will definitely get their good share of mental stimulation as you will be teaching your pooch new tricks.
Alternatively, your pooch can join you in your human yoga session, like the cutie in the photos. 🙂
Water sports like swimming is another form of exercise that you can practise with your doggy and a sport that targets your whole body too.
If your dog enjoys swimming and you have access to water, swimming can be a great solution for you and your pooch. Swimming is a low-impact exercise and also works great for dogs with joint problems.
Insider Tip: Take your dog to swimming classes before letting her swim. Also, she should wear a life jackets for her safety.
Love to dance?
Engage your pooch in your next session. You can choreograph a dance routine that will have your pooch running between your legs and performing other tricks.
Dancing is a great workout that helps you develop greater stamina, better balance, lower blood pressure, and improved muscle tone and bone density.
Think your pooch will like it?
Funny story: Baxter (a White West Highland Terrier, “Westie” for short) got excited and circled around my partner and me every time we were dancing at home. For sure he enjoyed jumping around with us!
If you enjoy playing football, let your pooch join you in the backyard.
Dogs that enjoy fetching and playing with balls can be an asset for a one-on-one match. Pass the ball to your dog, and let her pass it back with her nose or paws (or however else she chooses, as long as the ball is getting passed back!).
As I said, there are many sports where your dog can tag along ;).
Just make sure you gradually introduce her into it and keep an eye on her safety.
Once your dog knows how to walk properly on the leash, you can get your rollerskates on. Think of it as the next level of leash training. And hopefully, you know how to rollerskate!
Finally, it’s time for cycling, although I bet there are other options to exercise with your furry friend.
For cyclers, bringing your pooch along can be a great way to spend time together plus get some exercise done.
Like running, get your dog used to the exercise gradually.
Insider Tip: Cycling on the road is dangerous. You probably want to opt for bike paths in the city (if legal) or a trail in the countryside.
Plus, when your pooch is tired or doesn’t feel like it, she can always come along in your bike basket, if she can fit in.