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If you have a high energy puppy, you’ve likely been wondering how much exercise a puppy should get?
Your little fur ball always seems to need more and he barely sleeps at all, right?
Now, the natural assumption would be that your pupper is bored and needs a lot more exercise.
However, the opposite is often the case.
When I first got my Mini Poodle Baloo, he could barely sit still and he was so incredibly hyper. So, of course I thought I need to provide more exercise for him.
Unfortunately, he was actually overtired and overstimulated which resulted in hyper behavior. So, providing more exercise only made it worse…
To help you prevent this situation, here’s a guide on how much exercise a puppy should really get.
How Much Exercise Should a Puppy Get?
Have you ever heard the saying “a tired dog is a happy dog?” That saying comes from the concept that a dog that gets enough exercise is a well behaved and relaxed dog.
This is true for dogs of all ages. Adult dogs need to get in a healthy amount of exercise to keep them physically fit and prevent them from becoming destructive.
But what about puppies? Since they are in a stage of their lives where they are doing a lot of growing, it’s super important to make sure they get the right amount of exercise.
Now, the amount of exercise that’s right for your puppy depends on a variety of factors. Let’s get into it.
But first, here are a few related articles:
- Can a Puppy Sleep Too Much?
- How Much Does an 8-Week Old Puppy Sleep?
- How Many Hours a Day Should a Dog Sleep?
It Depends on His Age
The main factor that you need to consider is your puppy’s age.
If your puppy is still super young, then you should limit his exercise to shorter play sessions. As your puppy gets older, then you’ll likely need to up the amount of exercise he’s getting.
When your puppy is still young, his growth plates have not yet fused. Growth plates are cartilage that will in time solidify into bone.
But because they are not yet bone, they are very fragile. Overexercising your puppy or having him perform exercise that’s too high-impact can damage his growth plates. This will result in physical problems later in life.
So how much exercise should he get?
There’s no magical number, but the general rule of them is your puppy should get the number of minutes equal to his age in month times five for each exercise session.
Different Kinds of Exercise
It also really depends on the kind of exercise you’re giving your puppy. A short walk around the block is very different than a twenty-minute jog.
Of course, you shouldn’t even bring your dog outside for walks until he’s been fully vaccinated. Vaccinations will keep your puppy and other dogs in your area safe from illness and disease.
You can find out more information here: Puppy Vaccinations Schedule, a Complete Guide.
If your puppy is still very young, go with a small amount of low-impact exercise. But as he gets older and his growth plates fuse, you can start getting in more intensive activity.
What Can I Do About All this Excess Energy?
It’s one thing for you to know how much exercise is healthy for your puppy. But your puppy has no idea! And if you have a particularly energetic puppy, then this can be a real challenge.
So, what can you do about your hyper puppy? If you’re giving your puppy a healthy amount of physical activity but he’s still super energetic, then focusing on mental activities could help.
For a little inspiration, check out these 10 brain games for dogs to play at home.
Attention: Overtiredness Can Look Like Boredom
You may think that your puppy is bored because he’s running around and trying to get you to play with him.
But one really important thing to know is that overtiredness has a lot of the same symptoms as boredom. So even though it seems like you’re not giving your puppy enough exercise, the opposite might actually be true!
So how can you tell if your puppy is in fact overtired? Check out these 10 overtired puppy symptoms and what to do about it.
Make sure to download my free puppy schedule planner to track your puppy’s activity level on a daily basis.
Can You Exercise a Puppy too Much?
The short answer to this question is: yes!
Like we discussed earlier, your puppy’s growth plates may not have fused yet if he’s still quite young. And exercising your puppy too much can damage these growth plates and affect him later in life.
A puppy that’s had too much exercise and is overtired may also demonstrate some pretty frustrating behavioral problems.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re exercising your puppy the right amount.
Is It Bad to Walk a Puppy Too Much?
As a general rule, you should only walk your puppy for around 5 minutes per month of age.
Walking a puppy too much can have some serious negative health impacts as he gets older. Not only could it affect his growth plates, but a puppy that doesn’t get enough sleep can develop behavioral problems.
Now bear in mind that the five-minute rule per month of age doesn’t work on every puppy. Your puppy might need a little more or a little less. Pay attention to his behavior during and after his walks to see if he shows any signs of being overtired or under stimulated.
When Can Puppies Start Going for Walks?
If you’ve just gotten your puppy, then you might be pretty eager to start going on all those walks and hikes you’ve been dreaming of!
But you should wait until your puppy is fully vaccinated before you start taking him out.
This is important not just for your puppy’s safety, but for the safety of other dogs in your neighborhood.
Once your puppy has received his vaccinations, then you can start out by going for some shorter walks.
If you want some more information, Release the Hounds has a great guide for walking puppies.
How Many Walks Per Day for a Puppy?
The five minutes per month of age rule refers to the amount of time you should spend for each exercise session with your puppy.
But how many exercises sessions like walks should your puppy be getting? The AKC recommends that your little guy should get at least three sessions per day.
That Mutt recommends going for two 20-minute walks a day.
As you can see, the answer will vary depending on who you ask. The important thing is to see your dog as an individual. What he needs might not necessarily fit the answers you find online.
Try new things to see what works. And when in doubt, ask your vet!
When Is a Puppy Fully Grown?
So, you know that your puppy shouldn’t be exercised too much or it can affect him when he becomes an adult.
But when exactly will your puppy be an adult dog?
Well, the answer actually depends on your dog’s breed!
All dogs are “officially” considered adults once they reach a year old, but that isn’t necessarily when they reach maturity.
Small breeds tend to reach maturity faster than large breeds. So if you have a Shih Tzu or a Maltese, then he will likely be done growing around 6 to 8 months old.
Medium-sized breeds take a little longer to mature, usually around a year.
If you have a large breed, then expect his growth process to be a little slower. Most large or giant breeds don’t reach full maturity until their 12 to 18 months old. Some breeds can even take up to 2 years to finish growing.
If you’re not sure when your puppy will be old enough to be considered an adult, then you can always ask your vet.
When Can I Take My Puppy on Hikes?
Walks are one thing, but big hikes are something else entirely!
You may be imagining all the magical adventures that you and your puppy are going to go on. And don’t worry—you will be able to experience them!
But if your dog is still a puppy, don’t expect to be able to go on super intensive hikes anytime soon.
You need to wait until your dog is fully grown before you go on any big adventures. That means most likely waiting about a year before you start going hiking together.
If you want to start preparing your puppy to take hikes with you, check out these 10 things you need to know before hiking with a puppy.
And once your puppy is fully grown, how far can a dog hike in a day? Probably more than you think!
When Can I Start Doing Dog Sports with My Puppy?
Dog sports are a really great way to help your dog burn off all his extra energy. They can also be a fantastic way to strengthen your bond!
But just like with hiking, you need to wait until your dog is fully grown before going for more demanding dog sports like agility or flyball.
You may, however, be able to start practicing low-impact sports like tracking with your puppy.
Having a puppy is so much fun! At the very least, they certainly keep you busy.
If you want to make sure that your puppy is kept safe and healthy, then ensuring he’s getting an appropriate level of exercise will help. There are lots of things to consider when determining what that level is. Your puppy’s age, breed, and the type of exercise all play a role.
Try new things to see what works for you and your puppy. And, if you’re ever uncertain about something, ask your vet! They’re here to help.