We, as a species have nurtured a mutually beneficial relationship with dogs for millennia. They’ve been our constant companions as we have grown and evolved in our notions of society, politics, science, art, and technology. They’re referenced time and again in the histories of cultures separated by thousands of miles. They’ve helped us to hunt, helped us to maintain our land, helped us to raise our livestock and (perhaps more importantly) been true and loyal friends who have given us companionship and love when we need them. Yet, it seems that many dog owners lack an understanding of the mentality and physiology of their four-legged friends. They treat them as children or little people with the same set of instincts as us and then get perturbed when their actions don’t conform to our expectations.
Remember, you’re sharing your home with a wolf!
While it’s perfectly understandable that we may want to keep our dogs indoors and spoil them occasionally we still must respect the fact that our fluffy friend is, by nature, a sophisticated pack hunter and scavenger and while their predatory instincts may have been muted by generations of selective breeding and domestication they still have needs that simply don’t align with the sedentary lifestyle that most humans adopt today. Thus, it’s understandable that many dog owners worry about whether their dog is getting the right amount or quality of exercise.
So, how much exercise does your dog need?
Common sense dictates that a dog’s age, breed, size, and general health are all contributing factors in determining how much exercise your canine companion needs, although you may be surprised at just how much walking time your dog may need to burn away all that pent-up energy stored inside. Thus, if you’re only managing to give your dog around 20 minutes of exercise a day this more than likely isn’t enough and you may need the services of professional dog walkers in your area. Below you’ll find a rough guide to daily exercise time allotment.
Some larger and more athletically inclined breeds may need as much as 2 hours plus of exercise a day. These include; Rottweilers, Springer Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Boxers, Border Collies and Dalmatians. Even smaller “working” dogs like Staffordshire Bull terriers will require around 90-120 minutes of exercise a day.
Most medium sized dogs like greyhounds, basset hounds, and larger terriers require around an hour a day of walkies while 40-60 minutes should cut it for most medium-sized breeds from Cocker Spaniels to Shetland Sheepdogs. Even small and delicate breeds like Yorkshire Terriers and Dachshunds require around 40 minutes of exercise a day. It’s only the tiniest of breeds like the Pug, the Shih Tzu and the Bichon Frise that can get by on 20 minutes of exercise a day.
A few handy hints
If you genuinely struggle to find the time to exercise your dog, consider treating them to some interactive feeding toys that will help them to burn a few calories while engaging them mentally as they work to earn their food. Try varying the pace, introducing 30-second intervals of sprinting or fast walking to give you both some cardiovascular exercise. Playing fetch is a time-honored classic but bring some toys with you rather than throwing sticks which can result in splinters in the mouth and tongue.