How To Exercise Your Puppy

A puppy on a walk

Have you ever looked at your puppy and marveled at the amount of energy he has? Has he been bouncing about and you’ve found yourself wondering how to tire a puppy out? No matter if your puppy is a big Great Dane or a tiny Yorkshire Terrier, he needs exercise on a daily basis. Read on to learn how much exercise your puppy needs and how to safely give him the exercise he needs.

How much exercise does a puppy need?

Keep in mind that every puppy has different energy levels and different exercise needs. If you’re just starting out with exercising your puppy, make sure to exercise for a short period of time and always be aware if your puppy is starting to show signs of fatigue.  

Here are some ways to get started on making exercise and play a part of your regular schedule:

  • Walking outside knocks out a few things your puppy needs: exercise, exploration, practice with commands and knowing when and where to potty.
  • Sign up for an agility or obedience class together. Not only will you learn something new, but your puppy will enjoy playing with other puppies.
  • Play games together! Games like fetch, flying disc and tug of war are not just fun, they provide your puppy with mental stimulation, too! Check out our article on how to play with your puppy for some game ideas.
  • Have a treadmill? Use it! Treadmills are a great option to exercise your puppy when you can’t him outside. Make sure you start out slow and train him to walk calmly on the treadmill in a fun, positive manner. Monitor your puppy at all times.

Puppy exercise do’s and don’ts

DO consider your puppy's needs and present physical condition. Excessive jumping and strenuous activity can put stress on their growing bones, joints and muscles.

DO go slow! If exercise is not already a part of your puppy’s routine, don’t jump into a rigorous exercise program right away. Begin with short periods with activity and gradually increase the time, speed and distance.

DO begin walking or running with your puppy on soft surfaces such as dirt, sand or grass until his pads toughen. Keep your puppy's nails trimmed so that they don’t tear as he runs.

DO place a reflective collar on your puppy, use a bright leash and wear white or light-coloured clothing so the two of you can be seen if exercising at night.

DON’T exercise your puppy immediately before or after he has eaten. A full stomach may cause digestive upsets.

DO check your puppy's feet for burrs, grass, thorns, rocks or ice and snow. All of these should be removed immediately. Also, make sure to routinely check for ticks after exercising outdoors.

DO obey local laws about using a leash and always clean up after your puppy. Your local police department or animal control department can tell you more about laws in your area.

DO give your puppy small amounts of water before and after exercise. To learn more about puppy hydration, read our article about how much water your puppy should drink.

IMPORTANT: DON’T go out in extreme weather conditions. Running in the heat or cold is dangerous for puppies. Just because your puppy may be willing to jog with you in 30 °C heat doesn't mean it is safe for him to do so. If you do plan to take your puppy outside during cold weather, check out our article on how to keep your dog warm during the winter.

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