Dec 04 , 2019
Are you concerned that your pup is too much of a couch potato? In this article, we'll discuss some ways to know if your dog is getting enough exercise.
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Do you notice any of the following in your pup?
such as chewing or digging.
such as playing too rough, higher prey drive, hyperactivity, or unruliness.
such as barking and whining.
in the form of infrequent, short naps, not sleeping through the night, and anxiety.
like laziness and depression, which can be common in large dogs.
It's no surprise that lack of exercise mostly manifests in the dog's behavior. All these characteristics can be the result of a result of not getting enough energy out. Thankfully, these maladies can often be cured by increasing exercise. If these are long-standing behaviors that have become a habit, they can still be corrected with training, even though it may take a bit longer.
There are physical signs of too little exercise, too:
More body fat is the tell-tale sign that the dog isn't exercising enough, but it could also be from too much food, or both.
Low Muscle Mass
Less exercise means smaller, softer musculature.
Constipation is common when dogs aren't moving enough.
Just like the problems with behavior, these physical symptoms can be alleviated by increasing your pup's exercise to an adequate level. The transformation won't happen overnight, but with commitment to the program, you will see results.
Keep in mind that every dog is different. There is no cookie cutter type or amount of exercise for dogs. Even within breeds, individual dogs can have very different exercise needs. Similarly, there is no cookie cutter perfect weight. Dogs have all different types of frames, even within a breed, and the weight that works best for a two year old dog won't necessarily be the right weight for him at ten years old.
But how does one know how much is too much exercise? If your dog is too active, he'll take longer to recover between exercise sessions. You may notice that he lacks energy during the day, sleeps more than normal, and doesn't play as much.
Remember that letting your dog out in the backyard does not count as exercise! There is no mental stimulation involved in being left alone outside. Going along with you for a walk, run, hike, or bike involves a substantial about of mental energy. When confined to the backyard for too long, some dogs will look for an outlet for their energy and develop unhealthy habits such as non-stop barking, fence fighting, digging, running the fenceline to chase cars, and many other bad habits.
If you aren't sure if your dog is at a correct weight, it's best to check with your vet. Remember to always consult your vet before starting an exercise regimen for your pup, and to rule out any illnesses first.
Have you worked your pup up to a new exercise program before? Do you have any tips to add? Please let us know on social media!