When thinking about puppy exercise, we often think the more, the better, but that is not the case. Puppies are not miniature dogs. We must consider the development of our puppies. The most important are growth plates, which, in short, are areas of cartilage at the end of the bones in puppies. The growth plates allow bones the become longer until the end of puberty. Until the growth plates clos, there is a chance for injury. Once your puppy reaches sexual maturity, these growth plates become stable. If you have an adult dog, check out our blog on exercise for dogs here.
With that being said, avoid the temptation to overprotect your puppy and not let them express their puppiness. Here are some ideas for safe puppy exercise.
Short Walks in the Backyard
These should not be structured walks, but more relaxed strolls. Your puppy should be allowed to sniff and explore. You can practice your training cues, but for the most part this walk is at your puppy’s pace.
A stroller is a great investment of you want to get your puppy out into the world. A puppy stroller allows for safe socialization. While your puppy is not getting a lot of physical exercise, they are getting a lot of mental stimulation and socialization when you take them out in a stroller. If your dream is to take your puppy everywhere, this is a great place to start.
Puppy Play Dates
Look for other puppies looking to play. No all puppies are good play date matches. Consider the size of your puppy and play style. If you have a Chihuahua, you don’t want to match them with a Great Dane. Conversely, if you have a mellow Maltese, you don’t want to match them with a high energy Jack Russell Terrier. Be sure to interrupt the play if it gets too physical.
Playing find it with your puppy is a great way to exercise their body and brain. You can start by playing in one room of your home. A room with some furniture is always a good choice. Start by placing a few small pieces of yummy treats around the room. Let your puppy watch you place the treats. Then, walk with your puppy, helping them find the “hidden” treasure, saying the cue “find it” every time they come across another piece of treat. Gradually build up the difficulty, by putting the treats behind table legs or chairs. You can also put your puppy in another room while you hide the treats.
Train Their Brain
A great way to tire out your puppy in to do some training. Keep your sessions short, not more than 10-15 minutes. While you don’t want to work on a formal heel for 15 minutes, you can work on nose targets, paw, sit, down, etc. In other words, low impact behaviors.
If you need help with your puppy training, call us at 786-299-1552. One of our trainers will be happy to help you start your puppy off on the right paw.