As a responsible owner of the dog, you are probably wondering when it should start with exercising? You have to keep your pet in good shape to stay healthy and vital for long time. It will gain great condition with everyday physical activity, but the “real” training should start when your pup’s growth is over.
While you should start with learning commands and obedience at the earliest age, it is best to wait for your pup to grow enough, to improve its physical fitness. Not all breeds have the same intelligence and learning abilities, so you’ll need a lot of patience until your dog acquires the proper habits.
Should Puppies Exercise?
Workout start depends on many factors. In most cases, dog owners start training too early. When your pup is only 2 to 5 months old, they’re not still ready for intense training(1). Their organism, until it has achieved a certain degree of physical development, is not able to handle too many physical efforts.
At this age, everything is a game to your dog, and you have to teach it that way. Your pup still develops its inherited senses and reflexes. Your pet still needs to learn some behavior patterns, and it won’t be easy to get used to new things.
Your dog enters puberty at around six months of age. As with humans, this is a period of numerous changes in appearance and behavior, and it is not advisable to start with training now. After the end of this period, in about the six months, your pet has gained sufficient physical and emotional maturity.
When your dog is a year old, it’s easier to control itself and concentrate on one activity. Until its first birthday, don’t forget to learn it basics instruction and commands, so that your good boy would be more obedient later. Well-trained dog is easier to socialize with other dogs and people.
“All Grown Up” Dog Is Ready for Basic Physical Training
We can start with regular physical training at the age of 9 to 12 months(2) when the dog has finished growing. Until this period, we assume you take your puppy for a walk and play with it in the backyard. Any forced training of a young organism can cause health disorders and block the proper growth in dogs.
After introducing training to a daily routine, you have to prepare your dog for physical effort in the form of a run. In the first training, the dog should overcome a mile or two, by your side or off-leash. If you prefer, go easy jogging or fast walking with your pup.
Every two weeks, increase the distance for another mile until your pup cross 5 miles with ease. It’s quite enough for a dog to be in excellent shape. You should schedule more demanding training every second day, to achieve an improvement in the muscle mass and condition of the dog.
On the “rest” days, go for a walk and play fetch or hiding games with it. During playing, especially if other dogs are involved, your dog runs enough so it won’t need additional training.
Swimming benefits the physical development and strengthening of your dog’s body. Unlike running, it’s desirable to start with swimming training as soon as possible. At the age of 6 months, you should learn your pup dog to overcome the fear of water.
Often baths will help in this because your dog gets used to the water. Many breeds even go to the water without fear. You actually don’t teach your dog to swim because it will inherently move its legs, stay on the surface and swim once it gets in the water.
When to Start More Intensive Training’s?
With more intense training sessions you should start when your dog at the age of 12-15 months. It depends mostly on the breed, since larger dogs later acquire physical maturity, but also from the health state of your pet. By regular visits to a vet, you’ll know whether your dog is capable to exercise or not.
Running next to a bike is one way to exercise your dog more actively. This activity requires excellent physical preparation. You should start with this training when your pup is a year or year and a half old, and after some period of basic conditional training.
If your dog has weight issues(3), running next to the bike is not suggested until you regulate it with “normal” training and changes in nutrition. If your dog is in great shape, take it two or three times a week to run it with a bike. Observe your dog while driving, make more breaks and always carry the water with you.
If you decide to bike along with your dog off-leash, watch this video:
The dog should not be exposed to too strict training regimen from an early age, as this often brings the adverse effect. The dog should first learn to behave, and then you can focus on its physical condition; not the opposite.
Also, pet owners can often train their pet in a wrong way. You don’t have experience in dog exercising? The professional trainers and vets can give you useful advice and recommendation when it’s best to start with full training and which exercises are suitable for your dog.