How much exercise should a dog get?

In my daily dog training life I am constantly asked a simple question: How much exercise does my dog need? The answer depends on your dog. When my Collie, Ranger was a puppy, he needed three hours of exercise per day. How did I know he needed that much? When I did not provide him that much he was agitated, barked in the crate, was destructive and was just not as enjoyable to be around.

I probably could have gotten away with less, but what I did was what I recommend for all of my clients: train and exercise at the same time. A walk wasn’t just for exercise, but I worked on training, I chased him (one of his favorite activities) only after he came when I called him.

I taught him all kind of silly but mind-exercising activities and tricks including “coffee table” – run around the coffee table, “hand-off” – take whatever object is in my hand as you run by, “nose down” – put your nose down between your paws, etc.

As with most dogs, as he got older his requirements lessened a bit, but he still is very high energy and LOVES training. My other two dogs love it as well. My Sheltie is high-energy as well, and my other Collie, Trooper is much lower energy but loves training.

I always recommend a MINIMUM of an hour of heavy-duty exercise including brisk walks, games of fetch, tug, or running at the dog park in addition to a MINIMUM of 15 minutes of training per day. Start there and adjust it as necessary.

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