The amount of exercise required by the dog depends directly upon his size and temperament and indirectly on the amount and character of the food which he consumes.
Since the amount of exercise which can be given to the animal is determined by existing conditions, the dog should be selected whose exercise needs will conform to these conditions and his food should be regulated accordingly.
Small dogs, such as the Pekingese and Pomeranian, need but little out-of-door exercise, a walk of five blocks once or twice daily being sufficient. The small terriers of the type of the Boston will require from twenty to forty blocks daily.
The Airedale, Collie, and St. Bernard are so large and active that their freedom should not be cubed by their owner. The English Bull, while a large animal, is of such build that he needs to be restricted in movement. If he is to attempt a long hard run he would soon find himself short of wind and exhausted.
However, no set of rules can be laid down for exercising any dog or breed of dogs. It must be remembered that few house dogs receive enough exercise and every owner should aim to get his dog out at every possible opportunity. The opinion of the owner as to the amount of exercise his dog receives varies according to his own desire to walk.
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Some people think that a five block walk is a great deal, while others feel that twenty or thirty blocks is very little. Occasionally a person would go to the park and sit on a bench with the dog on his lap and afterward he´d tell of the wonderful exercise the dog receives.
The dog that gets enough exercise and not too much to eat will retain his activity and graceful lines even to old age, while the under exercised and overfed dog grows fat and lazy. Therefore, the best guide is the condition of the dog. Should he begin to take on flesh, cut down his food and get him out more, stimulate a desire to play and keep him at it till he tires?
A rubber ball, a stick, or a strap will help to amuse him and make him take the much-needed exercise. In selecting a ball for this purpose, make sure that it is of sufficient size to prevent the dog’s swallowing it in his excitement.
Regular exercise is just as important as the amount. A five-mile walk once a week is not as beneficial as five blocks a day. Occasional long walks instead of invigorating the animal exhaust him and it is several days before he overcomes the effects. A regular daily walk will tend to keep him in uniform condition. When used to this regular exercise he can easily take the longer jaunt without bad results.
The frequency with which it is necessary to take the dog out during the day will depend on whether he uses a pan or paper in the house for cleaning himself. In case he does, he need be taken out only at the will of his owner, providing he gets sufficient exercise in one trip.
The dog that goes into the street to attend to himself must be given frequent chances to do so. Failure in this will result either in an unclean dog or an unhealthy one. Retention of the urine tends to cause a paralytic condition of the bladder which will show signs of dribbling of the urine or involuntary passages. The dog should be accustomed to a routine which should not be varied from day to day by any great space of time.
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He should be taken out the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night in order to shorten the night interval as much as possible. Besides this he ought to have at least two more chances to go out. The morning trip should come before breakfast, as soon as possible after he starts moving about, for that will induce the desire to urinate after his night’s sleep.
His exercise periods are best given a considerable time after he has eaten in order that digestion may be partially, if not entirely, completed. There should be no reason for the well dog to be unclean with four chances to care for himself in twenty-four hours.
What about you? How often do you take your dog for exercise?