That little bundle of joy you just got home needs his fair share of exercise. He might look too tiny and fragile to require more than a few steps to tire him out, but that adorable snout is eager to explore the world. Be the best workout buddy to your pup by finding out all about his needs:
How much exercise does your puppy need?
This is a common question that comes to the mind of all puppy parents. And it’s pretty simple to answer: He will let you know. The minute he shows signs of tiredness like panting, reduced speed, resisting a walk, etc. you know that he’s done for the time being. Allow him to take a nap and never force him to keep going.
If you need to know where to begin, a good rule to go by is a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age (up to twice a day): 15 minutes when 3 months old (twice a day), 20 at 4 months of age, so on and so forth. This rule applies only at a young age, when there shouldn’t be too much stress on hard core exercise and more on taking in all those fresh, exciting scents.
How to exercise your puppy?
Raising an active pup increases his chances of growing up to be a healthy dog. Your little one needs consistent exercise: short walks everyday and long treks over the weekend are not a good idea. This can hurt your puppy’s growing body. However, consistency certainly does not mean you don’t add variety to his exercise regimen. Mix it up for his overall development and to form that special bond:
a) Short Walks
Backyards are a great place to let your puppy loose and to give him the liberty of roaming around freely whilst being in a secure environment. However, that isn’t enough exercise for your ball of energy. A series of short walks through the day is ideal for both you and your pup. Try taking him for walks on different surfaces like grass or pavements, and even opt for a variety of routes to help him adapt to new environments.
Playtime should always be fun. For that, keep introducing your pup to fresh activities and toys.
Playing fetch is a good way to make your puppy run without putting on him the pressure of a long distance run on the sidewalk, where he has no choice but to keep going before he reaches home.
Remember playing tug of war with your friends? Now play with your little guy. A structured game like tug will not only be welcomed by him, it will also help you two bond and enable him to develop self-control.
In summer, remember to book some swimming sessions for your pup – it’s fun and let’s them warm up to water.
Most of us undermine the importance of exposing our pups to the company of their fellow companions. We either assume they will automatically grow up to be social butterfies or well, we feel like it’s not important enough.
It is absolutely necessary to plan play dates with friends or to become a part of puppy playgroups. It doesn’t just help tire them out; it also prevents them from looking at others of their species as a threat and getting into harmful fights when they grow up.
d) Treasure Hunt
While physical exercise is essential, mental stimulation must also be given equal importance. Allow him to channel that inner explorer in a natural manner by scattering some of his dry food in a garden or making a trail of it for him to follow.
Identify a soft patch in your garden and make it his designated digging spot. Hide some treats in it, or maybe even his favourite toy. Let him get his paws dirty!
When he is indoors, keep him occupied with chewy toys or food-stuffed puzzle toys.
e) Training Sessions
Finally, learn how to train that naughty little thing. Obedience training might not be enough physical exercise, but it will tire him out. Have a few short sessions through the day wherein you teach him basic commands like sit, stay, paw, and down. Any and all positive behaviour should be encouraged through treats.
While it is all fun and games, it is never a bad idea to be on the safer side by taking a few precautionary measures:
- Begin with short walks and remember to pause at frequent intervals.
- Avoid slippery and sharp surfaces to keep safe those tender paws.
- When it’s either burning or freezing outside, keep your pup indoors.
- With age, gradually increase the duration of the walks.
- Never take your puppy on a walk immediately after a meal as it causes bloating.
- It is advisable to avoid jogs and runs up until your puppy is more mature as it can be detrimental to their bones and joints.
- Recognize your puppy’s stamina and walk them accordingly. Forced exercise can lead to injury and health problems.
- Lastly, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian if your puppy shows continued signs of lethargy.
Make exercising an integral part of your puppy’s daily schedule. He will be thankful (and fit) when he grows up!