Guide to Exercising a Dog

Exercise is one of the most important parts of your dog’s life to keep them healthy and happy (physically, mentally and emotionally). Knowing the diverse ways to help your furry friend get their exercise is part of being a responsible pet owner. Just like with humans, there are factors to consider in a dog workout, such as health and age, but there are a few guidelines that you can follow. In this article, we explore some dog exercise ideas.

Types of Dog Exercise

There are a variety of different ways that your dog can engage in exercise to keep them healthy. With classics like a dog walk, run, or even swimming, there are also other forms of dog exercise incorporating exercise equipment and toys to help your dog experience a more varied exercise regimen. When exercising a dog, it is important to match appropriate types of exercise with the individual and the unique needs they may have, both physically and behaviourally.

How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?

When it comes to dog exercise, it can be difficult to know how much dog walking to do. Each dog is different and it depends on their age, developmental stage and underlying health. For example, puppies tend to have more energy than older dogs, often coming in short bursts throughout the day. Incorporating several shorter walks into your daily routine can help your pup manage their energy levels, rather than one long walk that an adult dog might prefer. For higher-energy dogs, you will need to provide more regular access to high-intensity exercise or longer durations of stimulation, whereas low-energy dogs will be more content with less and may be happy for a casual walk that focuses more on sniffing and exploring.

Dog Walk

One of the classic forms of dog exercise is a walk. Regularly walking with your dog will help them improve their cardiovascular fitness and will provide sensory enrichment. Be sure to practice “dog-directed” walks – this means going at the dog’s pace and making the walk all about them, letting them stop and sniff and take in all the information around them. Do not drag or force your dog to keep moving.

Games for Dogs

To bring a bit of variety to your dog’s exercise routine, you can introduce a series of games for dogs. Games like fetch and using toys like dog frisbees and or a hide and seek dog toy can help add another dimension to your dog’s exercise sessions. You can even try a variety of dog sports like agility, flyball and dock diving to keep things interesting when exercising your dog.

Dog Swimming

Swimming and dog water exercise is a great option for some dogs that feel safe and confident in the water. It is a useful low-impact exercise that can benefit dogs with a variety of needs, such as energetic dogs looking to burn off some energy or dogs with joint problems in need of some exercise. Exercising a dog in the water introduces your pet to a different environment and provides the option of regular activity for animals dealing with health problems or challenges that make it hard for them to exercise on hard surfaces.

Dog Exercise Equipment

Having a selection of dog exercise equipment can lend some versatility and variety to your exercise routine. Some of the common pieces of equipment utilised by dog owners includes jumps, weave courses and tunnels to allow your pet to practice a range of skills. It is worth investing in equipment that is lightweight and portable, so that you can make the most of your dog’s exercise routine in a variety of locations, whether you are inside or outside. Exercising a dog with these diverse types of equipment will help to provide opportunities for your pet to grow and develop in a range of areas, all while enjoying the exercise experiences.

Puppy Exercise

When it comes to dog exercise practices, knowing how to exercise a puppy, and how much exercise for a puppy is appropriate, is crucial for maintaining their health and social development. As they will not be used to an exercise routine, it is important to start slowly and build up as your puppy progresses. Start with your puppy walking on a leash, beginning with them close by your side before they learn the skills necessary to explore their environments. For these exercises, maintaining a gentle steady walking pace is important so that your puppy does not over-exert themselves. When you are in a safe, enclosed area, giving your puppy the opportunity to experience exercise off the leash is also beneficial as they will learn how to regulate their own pace and begin to recognise when they get tired and need a rest.


  • What are the dogs that do not need much exercise?

    When exercising a dog, there are several dog breeds that generally only require low-impact exercises, such as English Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and other smaller dogs.

  • How to best practice dog walking after desexing?

    It is best to let your dog rest for approximately 10 to 14 days after a desexing procedure before returning to a full, normal walking routine. Please speak to your vet if you have any questions about post-operative care for your dog.

  • Do you feed a dog before or after walking?

    It is advisable to feed your dog after a walk, but not straight away. Try leaving around 45 minutes before you feed them to help their digestive systems settle after the walk.

  • How are you supposed to exercise a dog when it is raining?

    There are a number of ways of exercising a dog while it is raining, including agility training, fetch or soccer with toys and using parts of your home like the staircase to encourage movement.

  • How are you supposed to exercise your dog indoors?

    If you have stairs you can use these as a replacement for your dog exercise walking route, with careful observation to make sure your dog exercises safely. Fun games like tug can also be used to exercise your dog and build muscle. Throw in some fun, colourful toys and your dog will have a great indoor exercise session. Enrichment like chewing and creative feeding or training games are another great option.

  • How are you supposed to exercise a puppy indoors?

    When exercising a dog or puppy indoors, make the most of your toys by playing games like hide and seek, fetch or creating your own obstacle course. Puppies may love chasing bubbles and tracking objects, so why not play chase with these to make things more interesting?

  • How are you supposed to exercise a dog in an apartment?

    When in an apartment, you can enrich dog exercise with games like hide and seek, indoor fetch and tug of war. Also, why not make use of your fitness equipment and let your dog have some time on the treadmill to get their steps in if they feel safe and confident doing so.

  • How are you supposed to exercise your dog without walking?

    When you are looking for different ways to get your dog exercising, try playing fun games and creating puzzles and challenges using toys and equipment to get them moving. Try the classics like fetch, tug of war and food hunts to get started.

  • What are good exercises for dogs with arthritis?

    Swimming and water exercises are a great low-impact dog exercise option for dogs with arthritis. Avoiding high-impact activities like running and jumping is important, trading this for slower, therapy-based exercises.



Related Articles

View More

Copyright and Trademark Notice

NEXGARD SPECTRA®, NEXGARD®, HEARTGARD30® and PARAGARD® are registered trademarks of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group.

©2021-2022 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health Australia Pty. Ltd. All rights reserved. PET-0228-2022