Week 3 - Exercise

Welcome to week 3 of the Bark Better, Live Better Challenge!

As we continue our journey to improve the lives of our furry friends, we're focusing on a crucial aspect of their well-being: exercise.

You've probably heard the saying, "A tired dog is a happy dog." But what does that really mean?

In this blog post, we'll delve deeper into the importance of exercise for dogs, how different factors influence their exercise needs, and provide handy guidelines for exercising dogs of all ages.

The Importance of Exercise

Exercise isn't just about letting out steam; it's vital for your dog's well-being and joy.

Regular activity helps them stay at a healthy weight, keeps their muscles and joints strong, and boosts their heart health.

Plus, it wards off problems like anxiety and boredom by giving them something to do.

And it's not just their bodies that benefit—exercise also keeps their brains sharp and stops them from getting into mischief like chewing or digging.

Happi Doggi Bark Better Live Better Exercise Schedule



It’s Good For You Too!

When it comes to keeping your pup healthy and happy, getting them moving is key. Not only does regular exercise add more years to their life, but it's good for you too!

After a long day at work, it can be very tempting to just crash on the couch, but having your furry friend by your side changes the game.

They may not be your gym buddy, but they are always up for a walk around the block. And walking has loads of advantages for humans too!

It can improve your heart health, boost your mood, reduce stress, and even sharpen your thinking. Plus, soaking up some sunshine after a day cooped up indoors can really lift your spirits.

So, by taking your dog for a walk, you're not just doing them a solid but also reaping the rewards yourself.

Besides all the health stuff, those walks or play sessions are fantastic bonding opportunities. You and your furry friend can enjoy some quality time together, goofing around and getting to know each other better. It's a win-win situation!

Running DogAmerican Staffordshire Terrier Running & Playing

Different Dogs, Different Needs

Knowing what your dog needs to stay healthy and happy is key.

Different factors such as breed, age, size, and personality all play a part in how much exercise your furry friend requires.

High-energy breeds like Border Collies and Huskies need more activity and mental stimulation compared to laid-back breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs.

And remember, puppies and seniors have different needs too. Plus, each pup has their own unique personality, which also affects how much exercise they need.

Exercise Basics

When it comes to planning your dog's exercise routine, it's important to set clear goals that match both your pup's needs and your lifestyle.

Take a moment to think about what you want to achieve through regular physical activity and how it can benefit your furry friend's overall well-being.

Here are a few common goals to consider:

  1. Managing Weight: If your dog needs to shed some extra pounds or maintain a healthy weight, focus on activities that promote calorie burning and muscle toning. Think brisk walks, jogging, or agility training, adjusting the intensity based on your dog's fitness level.

  2. Releasing Energy: For those high-energy pups, the goal is to provide outlets for all that pent-up energy and ward off boredom-related behaviors. Get them involved in stimulating activities like fetch, agility courses, or interactive games to keep them engaged and entertained.

  3. Mental Stimulation: Dogs love a good mental challenge just as much as physical activity. Keep their brains sharp with obedience classes, nose work training, or puzzle-solving games that encourage problem-solving and critical thinking.

  4. Socialisation: Socialisation is key for dogs of all ages to learn proper behaviour around others. Arrange playdates with friendly dogs or join group training classes to help your pup build confidence and positive social skills. (Check out our Week One for more info on Socialisation)

  5. Bonding: Exercise time is also bonding time! Choose activities that you both enjoy, whether it's leisurely walks, exploring nature trails, or playing in the backyard. Focus on building trust, communication, and shared experiences.

By setting clear goals and tailoring activities to your dog's needs, you can create an exercise routine that not only keeps them healthy and happy but also strengthens your bond along the way.

And to make things even easier, we've whipped up a handy Exercise Routine template to help you stay on track. Its yours to download for free.

Exercise Guidelines For Puppies

During those early puppy days, it's all about setting the stage for good habits and showing your pup the ropes of the big wide world. Think of it as their introduction to life outside the comfort of home – learning to walk on a leash, taking in new sights and smells, and just soaking up the fresh air.

Now, when it comes to walks, you've got to pace it right. For young pups, keep it short and sweet, like around 5 minutes for every month of their age, twice a day. So, if you've got a six-month-old furball, two 30-minute strolls should do the trick. But remember, if you've got a bigger breed, ease up a bit to protect those growing joints.

Puppies tire out fast, both physically and mentally, on walks. It's not just about exercise; it's about letting them sniff around and take it all in. Keep things chill and let them explore at their own pace.

Playtime at home or in a secure area is just as important. Break out their favourite toys or let them romp around in a safe space. And don't worry if they crash out for a nap – that's just their way of recharging.

Sure, we all dream of those epic hikes with our furry pals, but let's not rush it. Puppies are still growing, and too much activity can do more harm than good. Take it slow, enjoy those leisurely walks and playdates, and give your pup the time they need to grow up strong and healthy.

Exercise Guidelines for Adult Dogs

Getting your dog moving and happy hinges on their breed, personality, and energy levels. There's no one-size-fits-all rule for exercising adult dogs. Generally, a healthy pup will enjoy two 20-30 minute walks daily, totalling about an hour of activity and mental stimulation.

For smaller breeds like Chihuahuas or Pomeranians, two 15-minute walks could do the trick. But for high-energy working breeds, you might be looking at a hefty 2-hour daily commitment.

But remember, walks aren't the only game in town! Playtime is key for mature dogs too. Whether it's a game of tug-of-war or a good old-fashioned round of fetch, play keeps them moving. Even just letting them roam in the yard counts. And don't forget the plethora of activities beyond walks and play - think agility, scenting games, swimming, running, hiking, and more. If you're an outdoor buff, why not bring your furry friend along for some nature therapy?

Exercise Guidelines for Senior Dogs

Senior dogs still benefit from gentle exercise to maintain mobility and mental sharpness, despite potentially suffering from arthritis or other age-related conditions. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day which can be split into two shorter 15-minute sessions.

Short, leisurely walks, swimming, and gentle stretching exercises can help keep them active and comfortable, but avoid activities that strain the joints, such as jumping and rough play.

If you used to run or hike with your dog, consider switching to leisurely walks. Keep an eye out for signs of fatigue or discomfort, and adjust exercise intensity and duration accordingly.

To help aging joints, you can try giving them supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, which can reduce inflammation and improve mobility and make sure to provide soft bedding for them to rest on.

dog agility
Dog Agility

Joint Care, Jumping & Exercise

Jumping may seem like harmless fun for our canine companions, but it can have serious consequences for their joint health in the long run. Just like us, dogs' joints wear down over time, and repeated jumping can accelerate this process, leading to pain, injury, and even early arthritis.

Large breeds are especially at risk because their joints take longer to fully develop. Even small hops, like jumping off the sofa, can strain their joints. And it's not just the big pups—tiny breeds can also run into joint issues from too much leaping around.

It's smart to discourage jumping, especially for young puppies and older dogs who are more prone to joint problems. This also means playing games such as Fetch on soft grass only and never on a hard surface or indoors.

Additionally, activities like agility classes, which involve high-impact movements like jumping and running, should be left to dogs in excellent physical condition.

Sadly, preventative joint care is often overlooked until a problem arises. But taking steps like limiting jumping, giving them joint-friendly exercise, and maybe adding glucosamine and chondroitin to their diet can help keep their joints in good shape for the long haul. By being proactive about joint care, you can help your furry friend stay happy, healthy, and active for years to come.


Exercise is a vital aspect of your dog's overall health and well-being, providing physical, mental, and emotional benefits.

By understanding your dog's individual exercise needs and providing regular, varied physical activity, you can help them live a happier, healthier life.

Remember to tailor your dog's exercise routine to their age, breed, and physical condition, and always prioritise safety and enjoyment in every activity you do together.

With the right balance of exercise, mental stimulation, and love, you and your dog can enjoy many happy and active years together.

We’d love to see some photos of your dog enjoying some outdoor exercise and playtime. Where are your favourite walking spots? And what are your favourite games to play? Make sure you share with us on social media!

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