You’ve probably heard of the benefits of exercise for humans: the release of endorphins, lowered stress levels, lowered blood pressure, and a sense of general well-being.
Well, guess what? Your pup experiences the same things. Every dog—no matter the breed—needs physical exercise. Without it, your dog will get bored, anxious, and unhealthy, and may act out because of his dissatisfaction. Of course, just like humans, not every dog should follow the same fitness routine.
Different breeds need different amounts and types of exercise, so build any fitness regimen according to your dog’s needs. Below are some general guidelines for dog fitness. They’re divided by breed, so find the section that most closely matches your pup and get moving!
The Herders and the Sporting Dogs
Designed to roam multi-acre ranches and feel at home in the outdoors, these dogs need a lot of exercises. Herding and Sporting dogs need at least one 90-minute, high-intensity workout per week. Two times a week is ideal, and each session should be divided into both mental and physical workouts. Bring some treats along and run through your dog’s tricks and commands while he is resting. You’ll keep him mentally focused and prevent boredom, as well as tire him out physically.
Not all hounds are created the same, and exercise needs will depend on the breed. For instance, greyhounds are sprinters and prefer short bursts of high-intensity exercise lasting only a few minutes. Roaming hounds, like beagles or bloodhounds, are used to trekking long distance and have similar exercise needs to the herders and sporting breeds.
The pugs, Chihuahuas, Maltese, and poodles of the world may be small, but they still need a workout! Many of these breeds have a propensity for obesity, so it is important they exercise frequently. If space is limited, don’t worry; these dogs are so small they can get a lot of exercise in a relatively small area.
Okay, but what should we do for exercise?
Let’s keep it simple. Fetch is one of the best options for keeping your dog in shape, and can be played nearly everywhere. If you want a low-impact activity, take your dog for a swim. Make sure he wears a life-vest and only keep him in the water as long as he is comfortable.
Don’t forget to work out your dog’s brain as well. Give him a food toy that makes him work to get the treat inside, or hide treats around the play area if your dog is scent-driven. Challenging your pup will keep that noggin strong and those wits sharp.
Exercising your dog is an important aspect of being a responsible pet owner. Make fitness a routine part of your week; if you plan it right, you can make workouts that allow you and your dog to get exercise at the same time. Your canine friend trusts you with their health, and it is up to you to keep them engaged in both body and mind. If you do, then you’ll have a much, much healthier best friend.