You might have seen recent posts on the internet about this topic. You might have also heard the formula ‘5 minutes per month of age’ for calculating how much exercise to give your pup.
But that formula came out of thin air and while guidelines are important to help puppy owners from over doing it, or flooding their pup with too much stimuli. I get many owners with pups that lose out of important socialisation skills, fearful from too much exposure as people try to cram in as much socialisation as they can or are feral with excess energy. Others with adult dogs in their home might struggle with walking both while not over doing it for the puppy.
Max comes out with me most days by necessity, as I can’t leave him alone for too long yet. But that means I’m out for hours with my son or walking the terriers. So I always carry a puppy papoose to pop him in when he’s tired and have frequent breaks for him to rest. So, what’s the right amount of exercise how how can you tell when your pup has had enough?
It’s really down to your puppy. Start small and watch your puppy for signs of fatigue or stress. Once you have a basis you can go from there and play it day to day.
Here are some things to consider:
While exercise is important, it is t the by all and end all. Look at ways of burning your pup’s mental energy to poop them out, such as enrichment feeders and fools ol fashioned training.
Avoid high impact activities like throwing balls, constant leaping off things and too much play with other dogs. While gentle walking is great for lubricating joints, too much harsh pressure and twisting to your pup’s joints can cause issues later in life.
Look out for your pup’s tired cues. ￼ Things like nagging your other dogs, biting on their lead, stoping or siting/laying down, jumping up at you, vocalising, biting or any suddenly out of character behaviour is a sure sign your pup is either tired or over whelmed.
If you can, have something you can pup your pup in so they can rest while you’re still on the go, like a puppy bag, or even a dog pram for larger breeds. Make stops frequently and allow for your puppy to have a rest or even a nap. This is great for installing a settle behaviour in your puppy early as well as a great opportunity for habituation training.
Quality vs quantity - your puppy will get tired faster or sooner depending on what you’re doing. Going for a pub meal might well be very tiring for your puppy with all the stimuli than going for a stroll over your local playing fields.
Don’t forget to give your pup a day off! Days off help pups to recharge, consolidate learning and teaching them to switch off and not expect the same thing every day.
All in all, use your observational skills and learn your pups limits, understand those limits can change. Max can happily do a walk one wash, and that same walk in another day he might need me to carry him for a bit.