Your Dog’s Energy Level and Exercise Requirements

As a trainer, I often deal with mismatches. The huge, energetic dog with no manners and a small, demure owner is a frequent mismatch. Another is the brilliant dog who really needs a job and the owner who is a couch potato. Or the athlete who has a Chihuahua and would like to take him mountain climbing. But unlike mismatched socks, these mismatches last a lifetime and can be difficult to live with. So ask yourself a few lifestyle questions.

Be honest. Is this you?

Or is this you?

Your energy level and the dog’s energy level should be close.  Of course, all puppies are pretty high energy and this usually subsides.  But some breeds seem to be perpetual puppies. Labs for instance are often the “Peter Pans” of the dog world. On the other end of the spectrum might be Bulldogs.  Rumor has it that people have gone from couch potato to 5K runners in two months. But what are the chances of making and maintaining that lifestyle change?

Do your research

Check out what the exercise preferences are for that breed.  Then try to be realistic about your own exercise level.  Don’t commit to a breed that requires regular and heavy exercise if you are not already living a lifestyle that would support that.  Although dogs frequently do help us to exercise more, be careful not to overestimate the extent to which you are really willing to change your life.

Of course there are always exceptions, but if you would like to get a general idea of a particular breed’s exercise requirement, you can go to AKC.org.  For each  breed, they have a section called “Right Breed For You?”  If you are getting a mixed breed from a shelter or rescue, someone within that organization can probably make a pretty good guess as to its likely heritage. Most encyclopedias of dog breeds contain information about a breed’s energy and exercise needs.

Have you considered?

I’d like to put a good word in here for the older dog.  Frequently an older dog has an energy level that is easier to live with if you tend towards the couch potato end of the spectrum. They are also often housebroken.

Now if you already have an energetic, high maintenance dog, what ways have you come up with to burn off a little energy?

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Image Credit: dglassme and yo_unroe on flickr

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3 Responses to “Your Dog’s Energy Level and Exercise Requirements”

  1. Michelle S 20. May, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    Our bulldogs are velcro couch potatoes! Their level of activity is great for us – it’s nice to do computer work and have a warm, furry, drooling pair of slippers!

  2. Elizabeth Deitz 20. May, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    Velcro couch-potatoes…I like the image! What do you do about the inevitable hair woven into the couch? I usually use large sheets of contact paper pressed to the fabric, or a slightly dampened rubber glove which I rub over the furniture in one direction which gathers all the hair up pretty well. And of course I am slowly switching to an all-leather look. What we do for all dogs! What is your technique?

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