Establishing a good exercise routine will be beneficial for your puppy now as well as when he gets older. Regular activity can substantially improve the quality of life for your dog, both physically and mentally. Sufficient exercise also helps decrease, or even eliminate, boredom behaviors like chewing, digging or endless barking.

Choose an activity that is safe and is the right level of intensity for your dog’s age. Keep in mind that your dog can’t tell you when he’s had too much fun. If you see heavy panting or an altered gait, it may be time to take a break.

Recommended puppy activities:

  • Walking. Dogs need to be walked daily, and a good walk together is a good way to bond and even socialize your puppy.
  • Fetch. Grab a soft ball or squeaky toy and enjoy a game of fetch. This is a great way to keep your dog alert and active.
  • Swimming. Does your puppy like water? Swimming is a great activity for your dog. Provide an exit ramp and supervise your puppy around open water such as a pool or spa. Play it extra safe with a life vest.
  • Visiting the dog park. If your puppy has had vaccinations and is over 16 weeks of age, a trip to the dog park is a great way to socialize with other dogs. Make sure to take it slow when introducing your puppy to new friends. Pay attention to body language and if you see any growling or showing of teeth, separate the dogs immediately.

Activities not recommended for puppies:

  • Jogging/running. Puppies simply don't have the stamina to keep up with you. At this age, bones and joints are not fully formed, so taking your puppy for a full-on run will have to wait until after one year of age.
  • Rollerblading/biking/skateboarding. These activities are dangerous for your puppy, or a dog of any age. Most dogs cannot keep up with this kind of activity and there is a strong likelihood for injury for your and your dog.

Recommended activities for your puppy by age:

  • 6 weeks to 4 months
    • Short walks on soft terrain
    • Playing with soft toys in a contained area, such as a fenced yard
    • Swimming in warmer water for short periods
  • 4 to 6 months
    • Longer walks on soft terrain
    • Playing with soft toys
    • Swimming and playing with toys in the water
  • 8 to 12 months
    • Faster and/or longer walks on soft terrain
    • Playing with soft toys
    • Swimming and playing with toys in the water for longer periods
  • 12 Months and Older
    • Walks on terrain that has been checked for hazards such as unseen glass, holes, ditches, wires, stakes and metal fragments
    • Jogging with you (begin with short distances on softer terrain until endurance is built up)
    • Playing with appropriate toys
    • Swimming and playing with toys in the water

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