Too much exercise?

Too much exercise?  Is there such a thing?  Humans can do too much as can our dogs.  I work out, I work out a lot but I am not a gym rat; although there are many people at my gym who seem to always be there no matter what time I am there.  I am in and out, 30-40 min. and I'm done.  Yesterday we were at the park and there were quite a few dogs there.  I do not let Elsa off leash unless I am sure that she will not bother anyone so she wasn't off as much as she usually is.  After a short rip and tear in the field with her chuck it I hooked her up thinking it was enough for the day.  Just like humans, dogs can get so much exercise on a regular basis that they need more and more to satisfy that desire.

I have been at the dog park and met many people who are there every single day for hours and hours.  They do nothing different and have admitted that they started out with a much shorter time at the park.  But their dog now seems to need more and more to relax at home.  Can they really become use to a certain amount of exercise and need more?  Yes.  Folks who have a high energy dog and are looking for a way to rid them of a bit, often end up at the dog park.  It becomes a crutch so to speak and depending on the dog, can demand more and more time.

Running can become addictive; just talk to a true runner.  Those who run upwards of 20 miles a day; everyday and it must be everyday.  They have a hard time not running.  It becomes a way of life.  Just think about your high energy dog who is satiated by being at the dog park for two hours a day.  They are so use to this amount of energy release that anything else will not suffice.  If they are not given this release; behavior issues can arise. At home they may pace or destroy things.  The longer this goes on the more they need in terms of energy release.  Makes sense right?

But dogs do need exercise, some more than others.  Many dogs are happy as a clam going for a slow stroll around the block.  After all, sniffing is way up there in importance with exercise.  Elsa is a very high energy girl (not hyper, there is a huge difference) as was Luke when he was young.  I like to give them a fill of running; running is so important to many dogs.  Running just for the sake of running; but I am also very careful to do offer other things as well.  Sometimes a walk at a very busy park can wear a dog out simply by social interactions.  Walking at different parks, places or areas is so very important.  I get bored with the same place very easily; like us dogs need a change of scenery.

Change it up.  I'm not saying to not exercise; I'm saying switch it up.  Dogs need to be able to relax without spending 2 hours at the dog park.  Needing that sort of release will really handicap a dog.  When you do exercise, use moderation.  Lots of running, yes but not a crazy amount and not at the same place every single day.  Offer your dog variety.  If your dog loves to run then run them; but don't over run them.  Don't over stimulate them by spending hours at a dog park.  Get in, get your fill and get out.

Having a dog that can relax and be relaxed at home is pure joy.  Getting them out on a daily basis is important.  Life gets pretty darned boring behind the same four walls day in and day out if you don't take them out into the world.  But switch it up; give them what they need but don't create issues by overdoing.


  1. Getting a dog to relax at home can be achieved, regardless of activity level, through meditation, and expecting your dog to do it with you. Most dogs take very naturally to this - ever sat on the floor, say to stretch out for some reason, and had your dog, out of curiosity, join you? That's what you want to tap in to. Works incredibly well, and, having had coursing hounds who can very much succumb to the addiction of running, this technique ended that, and it's how I've taught hundreds of people to teach their dogs to chill when inside their home...and out. All you are after is a calm demeanor. I use the command "chill", and it works beautifully. I tell mine, "Ma's gotta go chill", and they hit the chill position before I do, and one in particular, gets agitated when I don't get to "chill" in a timely manner, LOL.

  2. What a great article, thank you. It makes so much sense! My first spoo is almost one year old. He gets about 30 mins in the morning off lead, free to run ( which he does) then about 40mins in the afternoon, usually on a flexi lead ( there are loads of sheep where I walk him). That seems to keep him nice and settled. I am being very careful with him too to not overtax his joints at a young age.I enjoy walking, but wouldn't like to get caught in the trap of continually having to extend his walks to satisfy him.

  3. Learning to chill is essential to a happy home with a dog in it. Yes dogs can learn to chill without running but that must be addressed. A dog must run.


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