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How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

The Zoomies and Beyond: Understanding Your Dog’s Exercise Needs

You know the scene – you’ve just gotten home from a long day at work, ready to kick back and relax. But the moment you walk through the door, your pup transforms into a four-legged tornado, racing around the house at lightning speed. These “zoomies” are a telltale sign that your dog needs more exercise.

As a proud dog parent, I’ve been there too many times to count. It can be tricky to figure out the right amount of daily activity for our canine companions. Some days, a quick walk around the block seems sufficient. Other days, I find myself wondering, “How much exercise does a dog really need?”

Breed and Age Matter

The simple answer is that it depends. A dog’s exercise needs are heavily influenced by their breed and age. High-energy pups like huskies or border collies require significantly more physical and mental stimulation than a couch potato breed like a bulldog. And puppies, with their boundless energy, need more frequent activity breaks throughout the day compared to senior dogs.

As the American Kennel Club advises, it’s important to choose a dog breed that aligns with your own lifestyle. If you’re more of a Netflix and chill kind of person, a herding dog bred to run all day probably isn’t the best fit. On the flip side, a Toy Poodle won’t be thrilled if you try to train it for a marathon.

Striking the Right Balance

When it comes to my own pup, Winston, a 4-year-old standard poodle, I’ve found that he does best with at least an hour of exercise per day. Anything less, and he starts getting a bit stir-crazy, barking at imaginary noises and pestering me to play. But if I give him a good long walk or a game of fetch in the park, he’s a happy, relaxed couch potato for the rest of the evening.

As the experts at Outdoor Dog Adventures note, a slow 20-minute stroll around the neighborhood usually isn’t enough to meet most dogs’ exercise needs. They thrive on variety – a brisk walk punctuated by sniff breaks, a game of tug-of-war, or a hike through the woods. And for many pups, a single daily exercise session just won’t cut it. They need multiple opportunities to burn off steam throughout the day.

Adapting to the Elements

Of course, Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate with our dog’s exercise routine. Hot, cold, or rainy days can make it tough to get outside for long periods. That’s when I get creative with indoor activities to keep Winston entertained. The AKC suggests things like tug-of-war, puzzle toys, and even training sessions to provide both physical and mental stimulation on those less-than-ideal weather days.

Wrapping it Up

At the end of the day, the “right” amount of exercise for your dog comes down to getting to know their individual needs. Pay attention to their behavior – are they calm and content, or do they seem restless and bored? Experiment with different activities and durations to find the sweet spot. And don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian or a certified dog trainer if you need guidance.

One thing’s for sure – an appropriately exercised dog is a happy, healthy dog. So get out there and get moving! And if you ever need a little inspiration, be sure to check out for all kinds of tips and resources to keep your canine companion in tip-top shape.

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