Regular exercise is the key to a healthy and happy puppy. But making it part of their routine doesn’t have to be dull – mix it up a little with a brisk walk, jog, or some games.
Exercising your puppy:
All dogs, no matter what type they are, need at least half an hour of exercise a day.
Making exercise fun:
Enrol your puppy in an obedience or agility class. Even if he’s already trained, a refresher class will provide an opportunity to interact with other dogs and an outlet for his energy. Check with breeders and dog clubs for further information.
Exercising all year round:
Check your puppy’s health with your vet before beginning an exercise program during winter. In the winter, dress up warmly before going for a walk. Find a place with a windbreak if you want to play any games. Alternatively, consider training your dog on a treadmill. As crazy as it might sound, you can teach your puppy to build up his endurance slowly. Never leave him unattended and don't allow the leash to dangle.
Dos and Don'ts:
- Do consider your puppy’s needs and present physical condition. Always talk to your vet before embarking on any program.
- Do go slow! If you have not exercised your dog regularly and decide to launch a regular exercise program, begin with short periods of activity and gradually increase the time, speed, and distance.
- Do begin walking or running your dog on soft surfaces such as dirt, sand, or grass so his pads toughen.
- Do keep your dog on a leash to give you control when walking or running.
- Do place a reflective collar on your dog, use a bright-colored leash, and wear white or light-colored clothing when exercising at night, so the two of you can be seen.
- Don’t exercise your dog immediately before or after he has eaten – a full stomach may cause digestive upsets or even serious medical conditions.
- Don’t go out in the middle of the day. Running in the heat is dangerous for dogs.
- Finally, don’t raise a couch potato! Puppy exercise will help them live longer, healthier lives and can help prevent negative puppy behavior.