The Top 4 Signs Your Dog Needs More Exercise
Dogs need exercise.
And, let me tell you, that a short stroll around the block to pick up the mail is not exercise.
A 3-mile stroll around the park is also not really “exercise” for your dog.
Your dog is an athlete.
As an athlete, exercise means something different to your dog than it does to you.
3 miles seems like a little bit of exercise to me, but it is tolerable.
A three-mile run would be more strenuous.
A 3-mile stroll for a 600-pound person or an older person would be serious and strenuous exercise.
A 3-mile run for a marathon runner would be nothing.
People are wildly different when it comes to exercise levels and endurance, although I would certainly agree that genetics play a major role.
Even when I don’t actively work out, I am extremely strong.
And, whereas this is also true for some dogs (when they are overweight), they are still hardcore athletes at their very core.
Fast twitch muscle fibers (which fatigue quickly, but help with quick bursts of energy) convert easily to the better slow twitch muscle fibers that enable endurance exercises.
I guarantee if you take an overweight dog and an overweight person and have them begin the same exercise regimen, the dog will excel faster…much, much faster.
So, first let us understand that as an athlete, your dog probably needs more exercise than you are offering.
He also needs mental stimulation, as this is crucial to his general physical health as well.
Now Let’s Get to Those Signs Your Dog Needs More Exercise:
Jumping is a way that dogs engage and try to play with other dogs.
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen one dog come running at, pummel, and then run away from a dog he/she wants to play with at the time.
Occasionally, a dog will veer off without the jumping, but essentially, this is a way to get another animal to engage in exercise and much needed play.
So if your puppy or dog is bouncing off of the walls, counters, furniture, and YOU, he is probably trying to tell you that he needs more exercise and stimulation!
Here is the first phase of a fun game that we created, called “The Step Away Game”, to help control your dog’s impulses to jump:
To get the rest of the game (for FREE) sent to you via email, please click HERE.
Dogs chew for a number of reasons.
When teething, puppies learn that chewing helps alleviate the pain.
This can also create some conditioning that chewing feels good.
Just like some children are more orally fixated, so can dogs learn to be fixated on chewing.
Heck, my 5-year-old Malinois still chews XL Elk antlers about every month or so! When he is stressed or frustrated, he chews.
And, I have no issue with that, as long as what he is chewing is appropriate for him to chew.
Shredding something is fun!
Have you ever just sat and watched a dog shred an item?
I mean, I suppose we have all seen videos of dogs shredding things.
I personally don’t want to see my things get shredded. I don’t want my dog potentially swallowing dangerous items. And, I don’t want them to get into the habit of destruction.
But, I can recognize the joy on the faces of the dog as it sees the item explode in fluff and then they shake fluff everywhere.
I have seen the memes where the joke is that the sofa exploded around the dog.
The average person sees a naughty dog.
Or worse, people diagnose the dog with “separation anxiety”, because in our society today, we need a condition we can treat.
I see a dog that had a BLAST!
Exhausted dogs don’t have time for shredding items.
Even when my boy starts to get a little antsy, I hook him up to my recumbent trike and we hit the streets.
When his body is tired and his mind is tired, I have a dog that is sleeping and not one that is contemplating scratching up and shredding my carpet, or eating my drywall!
Exercise can be a magic cure for compulsive chewing.
And, I might add, that crate training is a MUST.
Don’t allow your dog to shred your sofa; even though you think it won’t, it will affect your relationship and how you feel about your dog.
Crates also save lives!
Bowel obstructions kill dogs.
Stealing is also a sign that your dog lacks stimulation, probably mentally and physically.
“Stealing” is looking for trouble.
I have often seen dogs “slink” off to another room because they know the “socks, food, stuffed animals” live in there and they are on a commando mission hoping not to be discovered.
Ironically, I have seen dogs in plain view steal items, get their owner’s attention, and then dart off so that the owner will chase them.
Chasing your dog is one of THE MOST FUN things he thinks that you can do; even if you are yelling at him.
That is why I refuse to chase a dog.
Again, this is a fairly simple fix; provide your dog with exercise and make sure you keep an eye on him.
My dogs are not allowed access to the house if they are going to thieve things.
I keep my dogs on a leash with me to ensure they don’t pick up bad behaviors.
The number one sign I see from dogs that need more exercise transforms and shows in the behavior of biting.
Overexcitement causes biting.
And, what causes overexcitement?
Lack of serious exercise and mental stimulation.
It all really goes hand in hand.
I teach puppy classes, currently, on Thursdays and I am always very adamant that if my clients are seeing ANY kind of bad behavior, I want them to honestly ask themselves if they have provided their dogs/puppies with enough mental and physical stimulation that day.
How often do we fall short?
I absolutely do NOT want them to reward their dog’s naughty behavior, but I do need them to ask themselves that question, honestly.
And, if the answer is NO, I want them to ask the dog to do something (to change his mindset), and then take the dog out for the stimulation he requires.
I had a client not long ago that was adamant that her retriever was getting enough exercise. She was almost livid when I suggested that she double it for a week.
However, when she upped his exercise, he stopped biting her and the kids.
Interestingly to note that she was also playing rough with him on the floor at night.
How can your dog understand that it is okay to bite you one minute and not another?
Require your dog to always show you respect and provide him with the exercise and mental stimulation he needs and you will see his behavior problems completely dissipate!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.