Dog exercise needs
We often think of exercise only as a health issue, but it has significant day-to-day effects on a dog’s behavior as well. Dogs — particularly puppies and young dogs — have a lot of energy, and if they don’t get the chance to burn it off, destructive behavior is often the result. If you’re annoyed at the holes your dog has dug, have headaches from his barking, and have to replace pillows shredded into expensive fluff, your dog’s probably not getting enough exercise.
These behavior issues cause many people to give up their dogs, even though they’re completely preventable. (You know those “free to a good home, dog needs room to run” ads? They’re usually placed by people whose dogs don’t need room to run; they need exercise they’re not getting.) Unfortunately, some people don’t think enough about exercise when selecting a breed, and they choose a dog who needs more exercise than they’re willing or have time to provide.
How much exercise does my dog need?
How much exercise is enough depends on your dog’s age, breed, and health. A 10-month old Irish Terrier puppy is going to need more than a five-year old Whippet (you could appropriately sing, “Wild thing, you make my heart sing” as your puppy races around the house and yard). A sight hound needs short bursts of exercise; guarding dogs don’t need as much overall as sporting breeds who like to hunt all day. Even within a breed, the need varies. A highly energetic eight-year-old Golden Retriever could easily need more exercise than a calm three-year old Golden. And geriatric dogs still need to go for walks — just shorter ones than they used to enjoy.