Puppies and Exercise

Puppies and Exercise

Jul 09 , 2020

This is an X-ray of a two week old puppy. You can see that the skeletal structure has big gaps. Puppies have a lot of growing to do before their skeletal structure is fully grown and their joints are fully formed with bones.

We always advise that puppies shouldn’t be allowed to jump on or off things or be over exercised until they have had a chance to grow. Too much impact activity before their little bodies are fully formed can cause serious issues in later life and even at a young age. Studies show that hip dysplasia and other similar orthopaedic conditions are on the rise in puppies.

So how do you safely exercise your puppy? The general rule of thumb is to allow 5 minutes of exercise per month of age (up to twice a day). Once fully grown your dog’s exercise levels can be increased.

A wildly believed myth is that if you don’t exercise your dog enough they will become unhealthy and destructive. Whilst physical exercise is important in raising a healthy dog, it is not the only way to tire them out. Think about this; you’re training to run a marathon so you go running every day, gradually increasing the length of your run until you achieve marathon distance. By this time you are super fit and you can run far longer than you ever did before and you don’t get worn out. You’ve trained yourself to become an athlete. You now have more stamina and power than you ever had before and your energy levels are at an all-time high. Now apply that same concept to your dog……hhmmmmm not such an attractive scenario right?

Dog’s don’t need hours and hours of exercise, puppies especially don’t need to run and run and it’s actually bad for them.

So how on earth are you going to tire out this bundle of energy and teeth? MENTAL STIMULATION!! Dogs these days don’t have to use their brains an awful lot. They don’t have to hunt for food, they don’t need to rely on their survival instincts, they don’t have to search for safe and warm places to sleep. All they really have to do is give us those puppy dog eyes and we pretty much provide everything they ever needed and more! What we, as owners forget is that mental stimulation, thinking, is hard work for the dogs of today. If you challenge your dog mentally, you will have a calmer and more relaxed family member in your midst and yes, they will be tired!

So what is mental stimulation and how do I do it? Interacting with other dogs is mentally stimulating, play is mentally stimulating, new environments are mentally stimulating, finding things, games, training, smells, sights, sounds, these are all brain games that you can use to help wear out an excitable puppy without damaging their body. Fur Indoors Bridgend is an ideal place to learn how to do all of these things. We do them, every day, in day care, in our dog hotel, in our training classes and in the dog park. It’s not all about running around!

Sam caldwell-Thorne