How much exercise is to much exercise

by Nov 23, 2020Blog

Don’t we all wish there was some magic formula that would allow us to see how much exercise our new puppy needs. 

German Shepherd Dogs are considered to be a large breed dog.  Puppies, especially large breed puppies, should not be exercised to much, as over exercising could cause joint and bone problems, arthritis. The general rule is that we should be exercising our puppies 5 minutes of exercise for every month of age, up to twice a day.  If your puppy is three months old you can exercise her for 15 minutes twice a day. Your puppies exercise needs will change as she grows.  When your puppy is very young, veterinarians recommend keeping exercise limited to short walks and multiple play sessions over the day, with lots of time for naps.  

Older puppies will require longer exercise sessions, a six month old might want to take a longer walk or even short run (jogs), again your vet is a great source of information and advice for this, but long hikes, runs over rough surfaces or strenuous agility classes could still be dangerous to your dogs joints. You should slowly build your puppy up to longer walks over time with plenty of breaks to keep her from tiring our or hurting herself.   

All breeds require mental stimulation, but working breeds, such as German Shepherds need more mental stimulation than other breeds.  Working training sessions into their exercise routine is just as important as exercise itself.  This will also help to tire her out.  As with us, all the advice and recommendations in the world really amount to the reality of: the amount of exercise your puppy needs depends on your puppy.  

One thing to remember with your dogs exercise is that she needs to explore new environments.  This is a big world and she is discovering all of this for the very first time.  Try taking her to a park to meet new friends, it’s a great way to teach them how to deal with new situations.  Your puppy will also love the new space and you will have fun watching her experience new things outdoors.  Socialization is vital to a well rounded, sound dog.  Meeting new friends at the park and different people will help with this.  The right amount of exercise will keep your puppy fit. You can exercise your puppy by taking it on walks, teaching it tricks, swimming, or playing fetch. It is also recommended that you take your puppy to obedience school.  This way not only will your puppy learn good behavior, but you will even understand how you can promote discipline with your pet. 

Destructive Behaviors

Who hasn’t heard horror stories of what can happen with a puppy with behavior issues???  Research has shown that active puppies don’t suffer from behavioral issues and they are better at coping with their owners absences.  When puppies are provided with an outlet for their energy it can help keep away bad habits like chewing, biting, knocking things over.  Exercise helps to reduce nervous energy and calm your puppy.  

Take your puppy to training classes

This is another excellent way to get your puppy exercise.  Not only will she learn discipline but she will also get to socialize with other people and dogs, with the added bonus of learning how to control your puppy.  

Teach your puppy tricks

Another way to exercise your puppy is to teach her tricks, German Shepherds love mental stimulation.  You can start with simple things like sit, shake a paw.  Slowly, as your puppy get the hang of things, you can move on to more challenging things like play dead or roll over.  It seems like an easy option, but it is an excellent way to expend your puppies energy and stimulate her thinking.  

Playing fetch 

Playing fetch is an excellent way to exercise your German Shepherd puppy.  It can help develop your puppies focus, stamina and endurance.  You can play fetch almost anywhere.  Just remember to go slowly, build up the amount of time your puppy is running.  

Restlessness and Hyperactivity are signs of inactivity 

Puppies get restless and hyperactive if they can’t get rid of their energy through exercise.  Make sure you give your puppy their daily doses of exercise and training.  

Lack of exercise can lead to unwanted behaviors

Some puppies will bark, others will run around causing destruction, others will chew and get into everything.  These unwanted behaviors are signs of a puppy not getting enough stimulation, exercise.  Take your puppy for a walk, teach it a trick, do some simple training.  Let her get rid of all that pent up energy.  A well exercised, simulated puppy is a happy puppy.   

Remember that while there are no “fixed rules” about what is too much exercise, not getting enough exercise over a lifetime is far more dangerous.  You can talk to your veterinarian, your breeder, or other breed enthusiast groups for advice, or other owners about their experience with puppies of a similar breed.  Most importantly, watch your puppy carefully for signs of excessive tiredness or lameness as these could be signs of over exercise.