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Exercise in puppies and young dogs

How often, how much and how active can I play with my puppy? Often, you hear that you have to be very careful with the movement of your pup. Don’t walk stairs, don’t jump, walk 5 minutes per month of age etc. But what does that mean? What is allowed and what absolutely not?

For starters it is important to look at your pup. Too much exercise for one dog could not be enough for another to get the energylevels down. In general it is better to let your puppy exercise in a controlled way on a smooth not slippery surface, multiple times a day instead of wearing him out with wild playing. Does your puppy stay behind during the walk because he is tired? Or is he very stiff the next day, take a step back and let him rest. When the stiffness is not going away please contact the vet or a physiotherapist, like De Ruijter Dierfysiotherapie.

  1. For every week that a pup is old he is allowed 5 minutes of exercise in 24 hours. That means that a pup of 12 weeks can walk for 15 minutes 4 times a day. Mind that movement indoor is included in this time. Give your dog plenty of rest!
  2. They can walk stairs when the steps are lower than elbow length of your pup. Only under supervision though and only when necessary, and don’t let them jump of the stairs! Let your puppy walk quietly next to you.
  3. Play max 1 time a day for 10 minutes with a calm adult dog or a puppy of the same size. Don’t let your puppy play with bigger puppies. The most injuries are caused this way. Adult dogs are, in general, a bit more careful when they’re playing.
  4. Don’t play with balls or sticks, you can use searching games.
  5. Most exercise must be done on a smooth not slippery surface. Coordination training is really important for the movement system though. Try sometimes a more uneven surface for a short time from sand to high grass. Or let your pup balance shortly on a fallen tree. But never too long and always with a helping hand.
  6. From 9 months you can teach your puppy to walk next to your bike. Start by walk next to the bike together until the pup is used to that. Then you can start to cycle for a couple of minutes and expand this to half an hour at 12 months of age. Try to keep the speed around 8-14 km/h so it stays nice and relaxed for your puppy.
  7. At the age of 12 months, you can start with sport activities.