Overwalking your dog can be a common problem that just goes unnoticed and yet is something to be aware of. You wouldn’t think this is something to really consider and yet it can be a common reason for problems with some dogs. Owners may love a long walk, keeps them fit, fills their time and they believe it is great for their dog too, but you can overdo it!
There is also the situation of dogs being off lead where they are playing, running and having individual bursts of energy. Most dogs with a Yellow Dog charity collar or lead would be kept on lead whilst out walking so it is easier to monitor your dog’s fitness and exercise levels. This is obviously more difficult when dogs are off lead, running and basically doing their own thing! After lockdown and the rise in dog owners as well as the increase in time people had to walk their dogs perhaps some dogs got used to this attention themselves and once a dog has a habit it can be hard to break. Some dog experts recommend dog training is more useful sometimes rather than a walk. At dog charities like Yellow Dog they are always keen to recommend regular training of your dog, for recall and obedience, so useful when you are approaching another dog or sense a problem that you have trained your dog to focus on you and not the problem. Dog trainers like Niki French have very firm views on this having a dog is about having fun and enjoying them and not being tied to what others do.
Many vets advise that the dogs do have rest free days with no planned activities and obviously all these decisions vary according to the age and condition of the dog. It is obvious that hunting and working dogs can sustain a much higher level of fitness and exercise that say a small lap dog or city dog. Inconsistent exercise can also lead to problems. Most dogs may have varied days of stimulation with their walks but if you suddenly make the decision to take your dog on a 10 mile walk or 5 mile run this would not be a good idea and could lead to joint injury. For an older dog little and often is naturally the best plan.
Overall it is pretty obvious to see when your dog is tired, panting a lot, tired and slow, naturally as with ourselves, this is time to stop. Asking vets their advice when having your dog’s regular check up is always the best way to decide on what exercise is best for your dog.
Enjoy your time with your dog, whether that’s a walk, a play in the garden or training time. Everything in moderation and all should be great and you and your dog can have fun sensible exercise together.