How Much

The amount of exercise a dog needs is different for every dog and depends on various factors. Some of these factors were discussed in chapter 4. Obviously, a dog with a high energy level needs more exercise. Your dog's breed will have an effect on his need for exercise. Among those breeds developed for tireless activity are sled dogs, hunting dogs, and herding dogs. An older dog needs less exercise than a younger dog. Another factor is whether your dog is an only dog or has another dog to encourage him to play and exercise.

A dog's exercise needs do not depend on his size. Small dogs do not necessarily need less exercise than large dogs. Some large dogs, especially some of the giant breeds, are very phlegmatic, while a small terrier can be like a missile on four legs. A Mastiff may only need a leisurely stroll around the block, while a Parson Russell Terrier may be going strong after two miles of brisk walking.

Like humans, dogs derive the most health and mental benefits from exercise if it is extended aerobic exercise, not just a fast sprint. Don't make the mistake of thinking that because your dog is panting, he is tired and should stop exercising. Dogs pant to cool themselves, much like we sweat. It does not mean they are gasping for oxygen.

Access to a fenced yard is not enough to provide most dogs with adequate exercise. They won't exercise on their own, other than perhaps a fast dash around the yard with the initial burst of energy. Left alone in a yard for long periods, they become bored and can develop behavior problems, such as digging or excessive barking. Tying a dog out or using an overhead trolley certainly does not constitute exercise.

Exercise must be limited for dogs with physical problems, puppies, and old dogs. Puppies need short, frequent bursts of exercise, and should never be forced to exercise longer than they wish. As dogs get older they need less exercise. Old dogs derive many health benefits from regular exercise, even if they don't need it from a behavioral viewpoint. A brisk walk of a mile may be just the thing for a 10-year-old dog, even if he has arthritis and reduced heart function. Exercise encourages regular bowel movements, keeps up muscle tone, preserves range of motion in the joints, and provides much-needed mental stimulation. When deciding about cutting back on an older dog's exercise, keep in mind that dogs age at different rates, with large dogs having shorter life spans and showing signs of age earlier than small dogs.

Whenever you are exercising your dog, you must be careful about the heat. Dogs do not cool as efficiently as humans do because they cannot sweat through their skin. As mentioned above, a dog cools himself by panting, which circulates blood through the lungs and nose where it comes into contact with cooler surfaces. When you are hot, your dog is hotter. An overheated dog can die of heatstroke.

So what is a good amount of exercise for your dog? Let his behavior tell you. Is he relaxed or restless? Think about any behavior problems your dog may have. Is the cause lack of training, or is it lack of exercise? Most likely, it is a combination of both. However, if inadequate exercise is part of the cause, training alone will not solve your problem. The answer is giving your dog more exercise.

Dog Owners Handbook

Dog Owners Handbook

There are over a hundred registered breeds of dogs. Recognizing the type of the dog is basically associated with its breed. A purebred animal belongs to a documented and acknowledged group of unmixed lineage. Before a breed of dog is recognized, it must be proven that mating two adult dogs of the sametype would have passed on their exact characteristics, both appearance and behavior, to their offspring.

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