Just like in humans, exercise for a puppy helps to build both the physical body and the mind.
Although it has an important effect on brain growth and improves learning, memory, and emotional response, exercise is not the key to solving all behavior problems. Like baby humans, an appropriate amount of exercise for puppies of different ages is essential.
Pushing a puppy too hard can cause significant and irreversible damage. Young dogs have soft areas at the ends of their long bones called growth plates. As puberty occurs, the growth plate gradually thins and calcifies until it becomes a stable epiphyseal line normally completed around 18 months old. Until then, the plates are soft and vulnerable to injury which can result in a deformed or shortened limb making the puppy prone to future injuries. That is why it is important to be educated on appropriate exercise for your puppy.
At Syrah Goldens, we have associate our learning with the guidelines from Puppy Culture. Walking is a simple exercise, but knowing the distance to walk is what is key. Puppies between the age of 8-12 weeks should only walk 50-200 feet at a time and formal leash walking training should be limited to 2 minutes. As the puppy grows older, the distance should gradually increase. Normally, the length shouldn’t be more than 400 feet until the puppy is over 6 months old.
Exploring the yard is also a fun exercise.
It’s as stimulating to a puppy as 5 Gum is for humans! This amount of stimulation will absolutely wear your puppy out, so an ideal time limit for a “sniff n’ stroll” is 10-15 minutes a session and can increase to 20 minutes as he reaches 16 weeks of age. Formal running should not be a specific exercise practiced until the puppy reaches around 18 months to 2 years.
Now, if your puppy wants to chase after a cricket jumping in the yard or sporadically run a couple of energized laps around the living room, that is perfectly fine if it is in short spurts. A 3-mile jog in the park would be too much pressure on most adults let alone your 4-month old puppy! Time lengths and distances are essential for a suitable puppy exercise. Always start with small and increase the sessions as your puppy grows! For further readings, please visit www.puppyculture.com.