Exercise for Puppies and Dogs

We all know that it is great to get out and about with our dogs for nice long walks in the countryside. 

For years the general recommendation for exercise is 5 minutes per month of age twice a day for puppies. This is a bit of a myth and no one knows where this rule came from. 

When you first get your puppy it is essential to expose them to as much as you can within the first 4 weeks that you have them – this is if you get your puppy at 8 weeks of age to ensure the exposure to new things has been done repetitively before they are 12 weeks of age.

At 12 weeks of age that developmental phase is finished and it can be considerably harder to correctly socialise and habituate your puppy to the world.

So how much exercise can you give your puppy?

This is equivalent to asking how long is a piece of string?!

It’s dependent on breed and more importantly each individual puppy.

Some puppies are naturally more lively than others. 

You need to assess the puppy that you have and work out what their individual needs are. 

There is no one size fits all plan for puppies.

There are many types of walks that you can do with your puppy.

Street walks – on lead walking on pavements or country lanes. The timing needs to be gauged by what your puppy can cope with. Be sensible. You may find one day a 12 week old puppy can cope with walking for half an hour. Another day they may only manage 10 or 15 minutes.

Look at your puppy and what they are telling you. If they are stopping every few paces they could be feeling overwhelmed or they could just be physically and or mentally tired.

If they are striding out and happily exploring carry on walking but be sensible. Stop frequently, with smaller puppies you may want to carry them for a bit. 

Don’t force them to walk.

Off lead walks – until your puppy has learnt a rock solid recall you shouldn’t let them off their lead unless it is a completely enclosed area.

Use a long line whilst working on your recall with your puppy. When your pup hits adolescence at around 14 weeks of age they will be much more confident and the state that their brain is in could really affect their behaviour. 

If they start running around away from you they will find their own rewards which will make it harder for them to come back to you.

When they are running around ensure they are not doing any high impact activities. Jumping on off and over things. 

New Puppy? New Dog? Teenage Terror? Learning Workshop

Here are some suggestions for activities to try with your puppy/adolescent dogs

  • Exploring walks – go to many different new places: The countryside, beaches, forests, parks, cities, towns, villages, river walks.
  • Sniffing walks – allow your dog to sniff and enjoy their walks
  • Go places to practice your recall and your other training
  • Mantrailing
  • Companion Scent training
  • Parkour – once you learn the skills you can incorporate these into your walks
  • Canine Hoopers