Bringing a new puppy home could be a very exciting and fulfilling experience. And while you are trying to get the puppy adjusted to its new life in your home, you are no doubt making sure you are giving it everything it needs. Food, vaccinations, love, training and supervision, the works. A new puppy needs all the attention you can give it, more so during its initial days in the new place. So, while you go around feeding it and telling it you love it, have you considered an exercise routine for your puppy? Really, how much exercise does a puppy need? A puppy, just like a child, is a powerhouse of energy. So, it is important to dissipate the energy in constructive activities.
How does exercise help your puppy?
- Daily exercise is good for your puppy’s physical as well as mental health. Many owners discover that some form of daily exercises reduces behavioral problems such as endless barking, chewing, digging or general signs of bad temper.
- Puppies are also susceptible to obesity. Regular exercise can ensure that the puppy does not put on inordinate amounts of weight.
- It helps keep your pet’s muscles strong and supple.
- It helps your and your family’s bonding with the puppy.
- It could give your puppy an opportunity to socialize with other puppies or people. This is important for their behavioral progress.
- It provides a healthy dose of fun and entertainment and avoids frustration and boredom.
How to help your puppy exercise?
Walking is a good exercise for a young pup. Take short walks and walk at a slower pace. In safe, enclosed spaces such as the backyard or a dog park, let the puppy run freely. This way, the pup can regulate its exercise and take a break when it feels tired. Occasionally, you can get the puppy to fetch the ball you throw. But do not over-tire it.
How much exercise does the puppy need?
This is a very subjective question. It would have been so much easier if there would have been an app to guide how much exercise a puppy requires according to its age and breed? And how about a puppy version of a fitness band to track the pet’s activity and see if it’s getting enough exercise? Unfortunately, things don’t work like that. Every puppy is different. There are no written rules. However, you can consider the following factors to arrive at a sensible exercise routine for your puppy.
- Size – Don’t be misled by the size, though. A large-sized puppy does not have a higher endurance for exercise as you might think. For example, a rigorous exercise routine for a young Great Dane puppy might not be a good idea.
- Tolerance for heat – For example, a Collie might be better suited for outdoor play than say, a bulldog.
- Need for mental stimulation – For instance, you can include training sessions in the exercise routine for German Shepherd pups to give them the required stimulation.
- Age – When the puppy is too little, too much exercise can be bad for its physical development and health.
- Look for cues – If the puppy shows signs of being tired, stop and let it rest.
Apart from the above factors, it is a good idea to speak to your vet about how much exercise your puppy needs. You can also speak to the breeder to get more idea about the specific breed’s need for exercise (here’s more info on the Shar-Pei’s temperament). Or join a breed enthusiast group for support and advice.
Usually five minutes of exercise per month of your puppy’s age, twice a day, is considered an ideal. So, if the pup is four-month old, a twenty-minute walk twice a day should be enough.
Remember that too much exercise can cause developmental issues in puppies and must be avoided.
Care to be taken while exercising the puppy
- Ensure that the puppy is not getting overheated. Allow it to drink enough water.
- Make sure the puppy gets sufficient time to take short naps during the day.
- Before taking the puppy to the dog park, consult the vet to make sure it has had the necessary vaccinations.
- Set a routine for exercise and make sure you stick to it.
- Increase the exercise time gradually.
Here’s a fun game you can play with your puppy (he will get a lot of exercise from it):
Owing to the sedentary lifestyle of their owners, more and more dogs are getting overweight today. It is a good idea to get into an exercise routine with your dog, which will help both of you in the long run.