Exercise Vs. Exercise

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by ARK, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. ARK Well-Known Member

    Being relatively new to dog ownership, I've often wondered if I'm giving my dog enough physical exercise. I am trying to get my dog anywhere from 1 - 3 hours of exercise a day (depending on my commitments) and I'm wondering if any exercise at all is good, or maybe is one type of exercise (e.g.: high intesity) better than another. I'm sure it varies breed to breed. I have a ~45lbs female standard poodle who - if given the opportunity - would play fetch till she passed out.
    I work a 9 to 5 and now and then mornings or lunches are cramped for time, so I find myself in the back yard playing 15-20 minutes of fetch rather than the long walk I'd like to do. However, after a short bout of fetch she is panting and working hard whereas after a walk doesn't seem fazed at all and looks like she's ready for a good bout of fetch!

    ...in the end I want to do what's best for my dog.


  2. sara Moderator

    I LOVE poodles!!!

    I think you're just right! 15-20 minutes 2x per day of fetch then a walk or off leash run in the evening sounds like a very well rounded day! Poodles are very high energy, and athletic and often need more exercise than the average dog. I used to take my roommate's poodle for a 1-2 hour off leash run every day, plus playing fetch in the yard several different times (my roommate felt that since she lived on an acreage, that she didn't need any other exercise... so I took it upon myself to help her avoid boredom)
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    I love poodles too, so so smart!!
    i think it also matters how old your dog is, as well, i hear puppies should not be doing a lot of high jumping til age 2 years old to protect their hips.

    I think, dogs also adjust to whatever amts of excercise they get, so dogs who get little exercise do become couch potatoes
    and dogs who get tons of exercise do become lively dogs.
    My dad's dog are couch potatoes now, and now, all they CAN do, is lay around. They get 2 walks a day, at a slow speed, and not very far.
    Those dogs are now so unfit, if they ever were to be taken on a run,
    they'd need to get in shape just to be able to run without pulling a muscle.

    Sedentary dogs do need to slowly get into shape to do any sudden, lengthy amounts of very vigorous exercise, if they haven't had any in a long time.

    In the summer weather, Buddy gets tons of excercise, (lengthy off leash jaunts and runs, daily, several long long long walks, swimming, tons of outdoor playtime, daily)
    and he then NEEDS that amt of exercise, and more food per day, as well.

    In the winter weather, he gets 2 or 3 walks a day, but they are shorter and a lil slower walks, and increased playtimes, and increased mental workouts. He gets a run only a few times a week if we have severe weather, and sometimes, none at all.
    If the weather improves, we take him out to the woods, or empty fenced in school yards or ancient cemetaries to run around as often as we can,
    and less food per day, as well.

    Once we get ice-crusted snow in February,
    (when snow begins to melt, then RE-FREEZES so it is ice on top of snow)
    then i no longer allow Buddy to run in the ice-topped snow,:(
    as it yanks on his limbs.

    PLAIN snow is fine, though, he loves it.

    I think a walk is not that exhausting for most dogs, but if i walk my dog long enough, way long enough, he does begin to tire out...

    but, walking does help a dog stay in shape, good for his body
    and i think there is another benefit to it,
    besides physical, to the dog, i think checking out the neighborhood also helps reduce dog's #1 complaint---BOREDOM.

    Maybe on walks, the dogs so enjoy reading their "pee-mails"
    posting "replies"
    and exploring around,
    that to the dog, maybe it feels like exploring their territory, in general to the dog. Dogs were made to move forward.
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    But Ark, i think it's so commendable you are committed to helping your dog stay active and fit and get plenty of exercise!!!!!!! YAY!!

    and obviously, on a lunch hour with limited time, a play session is just as good as a walk, so that is so great your dog gets playtime at noon
    but i think dogs still need daily walkS.

    Also, dogs do better getting their bladders more completely empty on walks,
    than they will in their own yard.

    Dogs have to pee many many times to empty their bladders. If anyone reading along, has a dog who is home alone a lot and still peeing in the house, for you guys, walking the dog on your lunch hours would be better option than playtime. (among other things to work on house training).
  5. ARK Well-Known Member

    Thanks sara and tl
    I also just learned that and hour of tug-o-war gets Zou pretty pooped (she's sprawled out in front of me right now)
    She just recently turned one so is still very much a high-energy pup. We've been out in the woods tearing around and chasing other dogs for 2 hours and she still looks at me like: well, let's go!

    I'm of the mindset that in one sense dogs are like humans: physical activity that brings about heavy breathing/sweating is good for you.

    I know that both physical and mental stimulation are important to a breed like a poodle so I want to make sure I at least satisfy one of those!
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  6. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    I used to work with a Lab that could play with other dogs for hours and never get tired! I started teaching her to catch a frisbee and discovered that with 15-20 minutes twice a day of running to catch the frisbee would leave her exhausted. The best exercise to leave a dog tired involves both physical and mental exercise at the same time.
  7. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    :)I have a reactive dog, who because of her reactivity can't go to off leash areas and can only go for on leash walks. I work part time and try my best to exercise her enough by walking 1 to 2 hours a day. I also do nosework with her daily, play ball with her and tug, and teach her tricks.

    I disagree with the person that wrote dogs become couch potatoes because they have not much exercise. I feel that I exercise my dog as much as she wants and she still likes lying around.
    I think some dogs are just low energy types, sort of like some people. If I didn't take my girl
    for a walk or two daily I don't think she would care. A lot of the time when I take the leash out
    she turns the other way.
    She also does Treibball and enjoys that. I think that she enjoys the
    tricks, nosework and learning Treibball as much as walks and she still likes lying on the couch.
  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Tugid, i agree, there are indeed, low energy dogs. I so agree.

    But like humans, the more excercise you get, the more you need, the more you crave.

    The less excercise we get, the less we can tolerate it easily, the more easily we are sated with sedentary lives...OVER TIME, we often surrender to blahs...eventually...

    Excercise is something we develop tolerances and actual needs for, and both dogs and humans, can and do adjust to some extent to the amounts of excercise we get. Hard to explain, but, i've noticed this both in my own self, and in my dog.
    My dog is a lively dog,
    if unfortunate circumstances occur, and he gets less excercise (winters are hard here) he can and does become a less lively dog, he "adjusts" (eventually).

    btw, i also have a reactive dog, and we look for fenced in empty parks, fenced in empty school yards, and fenced in empty cemetaries or fields, to find him areas to run free off leash, it's such a joy.
    On days he gets his full speed runs, doncha know, the next day, at that exact hour, he will pester us, "ARe we going on a run? Are we going on a run? huh? huh? are we going on a run??"
    if he doesn't get daily runs, he begins to give up on the idea, becomes more listless, bored, lifeless....less energetic. Maybe even depressed. Just blah, as he 'adjusts' or surrenders to a less active lifestyle or less active level of activity.
    (mind you, this is NOT something we want, but occasionally, he does not get his full speed runs in, especially in the winter time.)

    i guess it's hard to explain, but, if you saw it, maybe you'd know what i mean, about dogs adjusting to the amt of daily excercise that they get. Maybe i am not able to convey in words, what i see happening to some dogs.

    And there is a difference, between a dog lying about,
    and how lively the dog is when awake. Most dogs will eventually lie about, sooner or later, if nothing is going on. Doesn't really mean they are not lively dogs.
  9. tugidq64 Experienced Member

    ;)Thank you for your reply. I wish I could give my reactive dog more exercise.
    I also take her out in our enclosed yard and play ball with her. I have tried empty tennis courts
    but a dog usually walks by and she goes ballistic. After hunting season there is a dike
    we go to and she can run off lead. She has done this for five years. Last season more people and dogs use it so she has had to be kept on a long leash.

    You sound like a great dog owner and kudos to you for giving your dog so much exercise.
    We have rescued a border collie/terrier from an very neglectful situation but don't know if we are going to be able to keep her. It depends on if our reactive dog accepts her. We have been taking them for walks together every day. I am sure the terrier needs more exercise than I have time to give. I try to take her for about three walks a day. I am also going to try some day care
    for her and I take her to the dog park some. (though the dog park has some not so nice dogs)

    If people don't want to spend the time to exercise there dogs they should get cats, they need a lot less exercise!

    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  10. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Yes, Tugid, i think you are right, i think a lot of people don't realize, how much activity certain dogs(most dogs, actually) will need when they take home that adorable puppy! Those ppl who want a canine to watch tv with them,
    should consider all the marvelous dogs over 5 years old, and senior dogs in the dogs pounds, all being passed over. Many of those dogs would be THRILLED to sit beside someone watching tv.

    but, they all go for the puppies, and very young dogs.

    I so understand about dogs reacting, I've found school yards and cemeteries (the ancient ones, especially, no one ever ever visits those) great places for Buddy. Neither me nor my dog believe in ghosts, so it works out fine for us.:ROFLMAO:
    I've also found, Buddy is far far far more reactive,
    on a long, extenda leash,
    than he is on an ordinary 6 foot log cloth leash. WOW, what a difference. I'm not even kidding, i wish someone had told me this the first years, could have spared me a sore wrist or elbow now and then!!:ROFLMAO:

    So i keep both kinds in my car, a short one, and an extenda-leash.

    ~On the short leash, Buddy has figured out, he can't lunge, he is not in control, i am. He is going with me.
    ~ On an extenda leash, he knows darn good and well, if i don't get on top of his urge to react before he 'crosses over' into a full blown reaction,
    that he sure can get a good long run in and ends up with his famous, "Ey, you wanna piece of me!?" imitation of a whale breeching....:rolleyes:

    And it's wayyyyyyyyyyy easier to teach a dog (reactive, or not)
    to heel, or even just to walk in loose leash fashion beside you,
    with an ordinary 6 foot leash.

    I foolishly thought, if i lock his extenda leash at 3 feet long, Buddy will understand, "Oh, now i have to walk loose leash, right beside mom now..no more walking out front scouting for enemy dogs....now i'm on short leash...."
    but, at least for *my* dog, he seemed to find the sudden swap out in leash-length, hard to process. I was wrong, Buddy could not figure that out back then.

    NOW that he has walked only on 6 foot leashes, for a whole half year or so,
    now he is better at understanding "the extenda leash is now short", now he can understand it way better.

    but, maybe my dog is just weird that way.
  11. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    btw, your new rescue, is now living with you and your resident reactive dog? is that right?
    And they are okay together on walks, is that right?

    WOW, this is great!

    Even reactive dogs can have friends. Most reactive dogs get on fine with their own housemate dogs. Even my lil gangsta dog has made several canine pals that he adores.

    so there is hope.

    are you keeping them separated in the house, or how is that all coming along?
  12. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

  13. ARK Well-Known Member

    Where I currently live, City Council finally approved a fenced off-leash dog park, so that is pretty good news. I haven't been too concerned about letting Zou run around off-leash though, she (generally) listens, and I have been fortunate enough to find some big parks for her to run around in all over town. Now that winter is in full swing and my back yard has turned into a skating rink, I'm trying to find some more creative ways to get her some exercise. Selfish as it is, I really dislike walking her for an extended length of time when it's -15c. Can't WAIT till spring/summer.
    Twenty to thirty minute bouts of tug-of-war with some trick training thrown in for good measure seem to tire her out.
  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    so the two dogs are getting on well?

    yes, Ark, i soooooo hear you about the challenges of keeping dogs active in bitter weather.
    For me, it's not so much the temperatures than keep me and buddy from being outdoors, it's the ICE. I loathe ice.:cautious: A few good hard falls with a cracked bone, and another time, a good knot on my head and mild concussion, with my dog now loose and unattended in a street as i am on the ground, have made me afraid of ICE now. (luckily, my dog stayed beside and kept licking my face!)
    Still, we could have been run over, as cars can't stop on ice.

    Also, the snow gets crusted over with ice now and then, and Buddy can't or shouldn't run in it, as it scrapes up his legs, and also yanks on his legs as he punches in/out of the ice on top of the snow....poor bored collie...

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