Having a new pup means lots of long walks and opportunities to get active with your new friend, right? Carrol Baker finds out how much exercise your new furry friend should really be getting.
If you have a new puppy, you’re probably looking forward to lots of walks and even a bit of active playtime. But when it comes to exercise, too much of a good thing too soon can do more harm than good. There’s no doubt that giving your playful puppy plenty of opportunity to exercise is key to its emotional and physical wellbeing. Being able to romp and run, to search out and sniff new things, and to mix with other dogs will make for a healthy, happy and well-adjusted dog as your pup grows and matures into adulthood.
Exercise benefits a puppy in several ways — it allows him or her to burn off that often boundless puppy energy and it is a great way to develop socialisation skills. In fact, according to Dr Sam Snelling, a specialist small-animal surgeon, socialisation is the main reason to exercise your puppy. “Once the vaccination period is over, they’re able to get out and about in public spaces without risk. I encourage owners to exercise their dog with the focus on getting to know their surroundings and being exposed to new things,” he says.
“Taking your dog for walks and letting them play in off -leash dog parks with other dogs of the same size and with breeds that have a similar athletic ability are two ideal forms of exercise.”
Fun puppy games to play
- Gentle ball games (that don’t involve a ball thrower or tennis racquet)
- Basic agility exercises
- Teaching basic tracking skills
- Off-leash dog park runs
Games to avoid
- Rough tug of war
- Jumping from great heights
- Games that involve vigorous turning
- Running at unrestricted speeds
Tip: If you have a large, deep-chested dog, such as a Great Dane, exercise should be avoided for two hours after a big meal due to the risk of gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV,in which the stomach twists