Puppy exercise is a very important feature of their ongoing care. In addition to several health benefits, exercise will also provide valuable socialisation and behavioural skills for your new pet.
Anyone who has had a new pup understands that they are really little fluffy balls of energy. As a new pet owner, it’s sometimes difficult to sort a routine to allow you sufficient time to not only housetrain your new puppy but also to teach him new skills too. Likewise, sufficient puppy exercises are also important to maintain his physical well-being and mental health. Any physical movement also helps to form important bonds and a healthy relationship with you, his owner.
Why is puppy exercise important?
Just like physical exercise is beneficial to a human, it’s exactly is the same for a pup. Here are several main reasons why you should make sure that your new pup has sufficient, but not too much, daily exercise:
- Exercise counteracts obesity and any health risks associated with an overweight pup – controls weight
- Reinforces the pup’s cardiovascular strength
- Regular walking exercises improve housetraining routines
- Reduction in behaviour problems through social, educational and physical stimulation
- Reduction in digestive and constipation health issues
- Pup becomes more agile
- Increases confidence, particularly in shy pups
How much exercise does your puppy need?
As your puppy begins to grow, so do his bones, muscles and vital organs. During this important period, the pup’s body’s growth plates are forming and closing and any disruption to this development can cause serious injury to the puppy. Dog owners are generally recommended to be cautious when exercising their dogs until after 6 months of age.
Once your dog passes the 2-year mark, more energetic, endurance activities can be introduced. Although small puppies are always on the go, in actual fact they do require a lot less exercise than an adult canine. As a result of too much exercise, your pup can suffer joint damage and even exhaustion. This is particularly prominent in large dog breeds.
Obviously, activity levels vary from breed to breed, but generally, you should do a minimum of one or two walks each day. Increase a pup’s exercise by 5 minutes for each month of their age. As an example, a pup aged 3 months needs 15 minutes of activities, a 4-month puppy has 20 minutes, twice daily. Edgemoor Vets reply to the comment -How long should we train a puppy for each day? Keep their training sessions short, no more than 30 minutes at a time. Like children, puppies can lose concentration and need time to process what they’ve been taught with rest and sleep.
5 best puppy exercises (for a young dog)
No.1 Take a walk
Although your young pup may be too small to take into the park with the other dogs, you can still get him used to wearing a collar and lead. Walk him around the garden until he has had his final vaccinations. Short walks and slow jogs are recommended. This will allow him to explore, teach him some commands and toilet duties.
No.2 Play a game
Games that you can play with your pup also provide mental stimulation as well as puppy exercise. He will adore chasing after a flying Frisbee, fetching and rolling a ball or playing with one of his toys.
No.3 A game of Hiding and Seek
Of course this doesn’t work the same way as it does when playing with children, but basically, you hide, then the pup seeks you out. First of all, go and hide somewhere, in the garden or inside if it’s a rainy day. Keep saying your pup’s name and he will soon bound around the house searching for you.
No.4 Attend an obedience class
Another excellent puppy exercise opportunity. Put your names down for a puppy obedience or agility class together. Not only will your pup learn some new tricks, but he will also enjoy meeting the other puppies taking part. Plan a puppy play date so that your pooch can meet other young playmates. They will burn off excess energy just running around together.
No.5 Find the toy
Every small puppy has a favourite toy. He is probably quite attached to this so will be happy to hunt it out if you hide the toy somewhere. You might have to give him some clues or even dangle the toy in front of him as a tease. Even so, he is sure to run around getting plenty of puppy exercise as he sniffs his toy out.
How NOT to exercise a puppy
Even more important is to understand when you shouldn’t take your pup for walks or exercise. Gastric problems like bloating can affect dogs with a deep chest during exercise routines. For this reason, don’t take your pup for his exercise session before he eats, or straight after his meals. Wait until he has digested his food.
Other forced puppy exercises to avoid include:
- Fast running or jogging with young pups
- Excessive chasing after a ball or Frisbee – although this is fine in moderation and over short distances
- Riding your bicycle with your pup running alongside – apart from puppy exertion this is also a dangerous sport
- Lengthy hikes and walks at a fast pace
Keep track of your daily puppy exercises
As previously mentioned here, it’s important not to over-exercise your pup each day. You can very easily keep track of how long his walks last plus any other playtimes that you spend together, by logging this info onto a puppy exercise chart. Likewise, as he gets older, you can monitor his increasing daily minutes of activities. Lots of physical exercise can be harmful and strenuous for your new pup.
Certainly, you don’t want to overdo things and cause any lasting health issues. Managing to tire out your young pup is probably easier than you think, and with our puppy exercise suggestions, he will be ready for sleep before you know it.