Puppies have boundless energy, and regular exercise is essential for their health. Learn how to moderate their exercise sessions so they don’t become too strenuous and risk damaging their young bodies.
Avoid activities that stress their developing bones, muscles and joints, like climbing stairs (which can lead to hip dysplasia later in life) and long walks until they are older and physically mature. Even then, these sessions should be broken up into shorter durations.
Regular puppy exercise is a great way to get and stay healthy. It can help lower blood pressure, maintain bone density and prevent obesity. It’s also a good way to bond with your dog and create positive experiences that build trust and improve communication.
Just like people, dogs need daily physical activity to feel their best. A physically fit dog is more relaxed, and a relaxed dog is less likely to engage in destructive behaviors such as chewing or excessive licking.
Puppies have boundless energy, so puppies still need daily exercise to burn it off. Exercise is so important that it should be a regular part of your puppy’s routine from birth.
Incorporating aerobic and strength-training exercises into your puppy’s daily routine is a great idea, and there are many ways to do this. From canine paddle boarding and dancing to on-leash walks and agility, the options are endless!
Just be sure to monitor your pup’s exercise to make sure they don’t overdo it. Puppies are still growing, and their joints are soft, so long periods of intense exercise can be hard on them. Short neighborhood walks, decompression “sniffers,” and indoor mental enrichment are great ways to keep your puppy’s energy levels up without overdoing it.
It’s well known that “a tired dog is a good dog.” A puppy playing, training, or engaging in daily exercise is far less likely to chew on your furniture, bark, whine, or lick and chew its paws. A bored puppy often turns to self-destructive behaviors you don’t want in your home.
Just like with humans, dogs need daily mental exercise, too. A mentally active dog is much less likely to become destructive and less prone to anxiety (and self-destructive behaviors).
Luckily, for puppies, play and cognitive challenges are often as simple as giving them food puzzles or a snuffle mat to work on. In addition to being fun, games like tug-of-war teach valuable skills such as drop-it and emotional self-control.
If you are experiencing puppy blues or have a mental health condition exacerbated by stress, consider talking with a therapist. A therapist can help you understand the experience and offer safe, non-judgmental support.
While you may be tempted to let your puppy lounge on the couch for long periods, remember that dogs who don’t get enough exercise can become anxious or restless and use destructive behaviors such as chewing or digging to cope. Regular exercise gives your dog a chance to expend energy, and they can also receive endorphins from their playmates, which will make them happier overall.
When choosing an exercise routine for your pup, consider their age and fitness level. For example, puppies under three months should have off-leash playtime on soft surfaces such as grass and avoid stairs, and long walks should be saved for when they are a bit older (and their growth plates have closed). If you have a dog that needs daily exercise, try using products like Whistle to monitor your dog’s activity and track how much time they spend active.
Like us, your pup can easily overdo it with exercise, especially if they’re not used to it. Give them a few days off from walking or hiking to recover their muscles and joints. Short neighborhood walks, decompression “sniffers,” or extra indoor mental enrichment are good alternatives to active play or outdoor walks. Organizing group playdates with friends and neighbors in nearby fenced-in yards is another way to provide socialization, exercise, and fun for your dog without committing to an organized sport.
Puppies that don’t get regular exercise are prone to boredom and may turn to destructive behaviors like chewing or licking things. Exercise keeps puppies engaged and gives them something fun to do instead of looking for entertainment, which can be expensive (and unhealthy).
Regular exercise helps your dog learn faster by increasing oxygen flow to the brain, encouraging new connections between neurons. It also makes your dog more flexible, allowing him to adapt to changes in his environment and master new behaviors.
The type of physical activity your puppy needs will vary depending on his breed and age. For example, a high-energy breed like an Australian Cattle Dog or Border Collie will need more daily physical activity than a low-energy breed like a Pug or Bulldog.
As a general rule, your puppy will need five minutes of exercise for every month of his life while his bones are still growing. This includes free play with toys and other dogs, a short walk around the neighborhood, and games such as tug of war. Limiting high-impact activities such as running and jumping to avoid joint damage. Watch your puppy carefully and be prepared to stop when he is tired.