As with humans, the amount of exercise a dog needs depends on several factors, including age, personality, physical ability, build, and energy level.
- For some dogs, a brisk, 20 or 30-minute walk once or twice a day may be enough. An adolescent sporting dog may require more exercise. A senior dog may need less.
- Monitor your dog's behavior. If your dog is showing signs of pent-up energy, it's likely he or she is not getting adequate aerobic exercise.
- Before a high-energy run or a game of fetch, warm your dog up with some light tricks to help prevent pulled or strained muscles. One good exercise is "doggie sit-ups." Ask your dog to sit and then lie down a few times in succession. Not only does this ready your dog for his workout, but it also reinforces basic obedience.
- Avoid overexertion. If your dog tries to stop, or shows signs of slowing down, let him.
- Be sure your dog is well hydrated, but don't let him drink lots of water right after a long stretch of high-energy exercises. Wait at least 20 minutes before feeding your dog a meal.
- On rainy days, offer your dog mental stimulation to use up some of the energy he would normally spend outdoors. Play hide and seek in the house, practice some obedience training indoors, or invest in an interactive toy that encourages him to think for his treats.