We often think of exercise only as a health issue ie. weight, but it has significant day-to-day effects on a dog’s behaviour as well. Dogs — particularly puppies and adolescent dogs — have a lot of energy, and if they don’t get the chance to burn it off, destructive behaviour is often the result. If your dog digs to China in the backyard, chews your favourite shoes or barks significantly and constantly while you’re at work, your dog’s probably not getting enough exercise.
Sam and I have a Labrador x Spaniel named Wallace, he’s now getting on at 9 years old however, until he was probably 4 years old Sam would run him for 90 mins twice a day and on weekends up to 4 hours a day just to wear him out and save her favourite shoe collection from the tip!
How much exercise is enough depends on your dog’s age, breed, and health. A 6 month old boxer puppy is going to need more than a five-year old greyhound. A sight hound needs short bursts of exercise; guarding dogs don’t need as much overall as sporting breeds who like to hunt all day. Even within a breed, the need varies. A highly energetic eight-year-old Labrador could easily need more exercise than a calm three-year old one. And mature dogs still need to go for walks — just shorter ones than they used to enjoy.
Generally speaking, a leashed walk around the block isn’t going to cut it for most. Most dogs need a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. Your beloved pooch needs enough that you can see he’s slowing down by the time you’re finished.
Active breeds like Ridgebacks, Boxers, Labradors and Pointers need a minimum of 1-2 hours of hard aerobic exercise most days of the week, ideally every day.
Hounds and hunters like Beagles and Spaniels could go all day really, that’s what they’re bred for but it is constant moving and stimulation, not hard aerobic exercise. Our second dog Charlie is Beagle x Spaniel and he can truly hunt all day long if we let him. He’s 8 years old now but when he was younger he would get 90 mins twice a day at a bushy park full of scents and tracks to wear him out and keep him out of trouble.
Not all toy or small breeds get enough exercise inside the house (contrary to popular belief). Pugs, for example, are prone to obesity and need much more exercise than they usually get.
It’s not safe to go out in extremely hot weather and that’s why we always choose parks and beaches with plenty of shade and some kind of safe waterway for the dogs to cool down in.
Where to get exercise
Hiring a professional dog walker can help you give your dog the exercise they really need. There are a few different options to give your dog some variety in their week.
50 mins Park Dog Walks
We offer 50 mins walks at beautiful local parks in your area. We would recommend this service for all dogs daily. Dog parks are popular places for off-leash exercise and playing with other dogs, which is exactly what most dogs need.
½ Day Doggy Beach Trips
We take the pups out for a whole half day to the beach. The dogs have so much fun and are wonderfully tired when they return. For active young dogs we recommend a couple of these during the week in addition to a standard 50 mins Park Walk on the other days.
Full Day Doggy Farm Adventures
This is for the seriously active or simply the seriously spoilt dog! We transport a small group of like-minded dogs to gorgeous farm only 35 mins from Sydney where they have 5 securely fenced luscious acres to roam free and play with their pals. At the end of a farm day these dogs are so deliciously tired you won’t hear boo out of them til tomorrow! You might choose to send your dog on a full farm day middle of the week simply to break up their week and give them a holiday early!
Active Doggie Day Care like our ½ Day Beach Trips and Full Day Farm Adventures, can exercise both your dog’s mind and body. Dogs should come home from day care completely worn out and deliciously happy.
The cost of not getting enough
Inactive dogs are often overweight dogs, and as in people, that brings plenty of health risks. Obesity contributes to a dog’s risk of diabetes, respiratory disease, and heart disease. It exacerbates common orthopedic concerns such as hip dysplasia and arthritis. Obesity can stress joints, ligaments, and tendons. Mature dogs often have a hard enough time getting up without the added problem of lifting excess pounds.
So the small cost of exercising your dog will truly save you and your beloved pooch in the long term.