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How Much Exercise Does My Puppy Need?

Exercise & Your Puppy

Regular exercise is really important for your puppy’s fitness mental health and overall well-being. Without it, your puppy can become bored which can lead to destructive or “naughty” behaviour, or gain excess weight. Walks for a puppy should be all about exploration-sights, sounds, and smells of the world. Once your puppy has had all his vaccinations, a walk should become part of his daily routine.

How much exercise is enough?

The amount of exercise your puppy needs will depend on his age, breed and size. It is recommended that when your puppy receives all his vaccinations, he can go out for 15 minutes of exercise twice a day. You can then add on 5 minutes for every month they get older. It is really important to listen to your puppy when exercising, and learn to read the signs that he needs to stop, or wants to keep going. His developing body is working hard on growing so lots of rest will be needed between work-outs! Be careful with large breed puppies-damage can be done to their joints if they are jumping or running down stairs a lot.

If he seems like his is struggling to keep up on your walks, slow down or reduce the distance until his fitness improves. Likewise, if your puppy is still full of energy after your walk, then it’s probably time to introduce more activity into his day!

Dawn Greer and her puppy Wow smiling at camera

Dawn Greer, Agility Trainer

Dawn has been competing in agility for 15 years. She has competed with 8 dogs of different heights and breeds and has competed at Grade 7 Green star/Championship level at both IKC and KC.

She has represented Ireland in agility at Crufts, World Agility Championships and the European Open.

Dawn is an avid dog lover, living with 9 four legged companions, 5 of which are retired, 3 competing and her new puppy, Wow. She loves training dogs and giving the best advice on taking care of a new pup.

Exercise chart for puppies

Types of Exercise for Your Puppy

Your puppy is developing and is still only a baby, so his exercise and playtime should include lots of opportunity for him to explore and learn! What he learns in his first year will carry him through into adulthood, so getting your pup off on the right paw to start is a really good idea! Keep variety in his exercise too as you need to give him time to discover what he really loves!

  • Free Play is a really important part of your puppy’s early adventures, and does count towards his daily exercise. Start by allowing your pup to explore a small space within your home, and gradually widen his limits of exploration into the garden. Using puppy toys during free play is a great way to encourage social interaction. As your puppy is learning during this free play exploration, remember, if you don’t want your adult dog to play in the flower beds, don’t allow your puppy in there today!
  • Training Classes and puppy socialisation classes are a great way to keep your pup active, but also help him develop into a social, well behaved adult. They also count as part your pup’s daily exercise, so do allow him to rest afterwards.
  • Walking On Lead once your puppy has had all his vaccinations, you can safely start to bring him out for some on-lead walks. Keep walks short as your puppy become accustomed to his the lead, and builds up his strength. Where possible choose grass or sand for walks as it will be softer on your pup’s young paws.
  • Ball Play and Catch are great interactive games for older dogs, but as your puppy is still growing, high impact games of chase that can put pressure on your pup’s joints are best avoided. Try gently rolling the ball a short distance, rather than throwing it at speed to the bottom of the garden. Using softer balls is also recommended to protect your young pup’s teeth.

Use Play Time for Training Your Puppy

Exercise and play are so important to keep your puppy fit and healthy, but it is also the perfect time to help teach your puppy simple commands.

  • Recall Training: leave your pup on one side of the garden and the run to the other – calling your puppy to join you will teach him to come when called.
  • ‘Fetch’ and ‘Drop’ Commands: Using directive words like ‘fetch’ and ‘drop’ during play time will help your puppy to learn their meaning.
  • Teach Your Pup to Stay: at rest time, use your ‘lay down’ and ‘stay’ commands to help teach your puppy to stop and stay where you need him to

Knowing When to Stop

Just as exercise is important for your puppy, knowing how to read your his signals is extremely important with any exercise. Your puppy will need to take lots of rest between play-times as his muscles need to build strength.  If at any time your puppy is showing signs of distress, stop and rest. Slow down the pace and consult your veterinarian if symptoms continue.

Got a Question? If you have a question about find the right toy or lead for your puppy, speak with one of our Pet Care Advisors in-store today.

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