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How much exercise is enough?

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by Spoovy, Mar 28, 2021.

  1. Spoovy

    Spoovy New Member Registered

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    I'm in the process of researching what breed of dog to get. My wife and I have never owned a dog before so it's all new to us.
    One thing I often read is that a certain breed (generally the breeds I'm most interested in) will require a lot of exercise, but I'm never sure exactly what this means. We would certainly be taking the dog out for a walk twice a day, for 30 minutes or so each time, but other than that we would probably be limited to one longer walk a week (2-3 hours ish). I'd be happy to throw a ball around a bit during the walks too (I'd stop off at a park), and I'm happy to do some basic training, but I don't know how much else. I doubt I'd be up for the full-on obedience training / dog-assault-course stuff.
    So would this be considered enough exercise for a breed such as a German or Australian shepherd?
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Probably bordering on not enough. My 8 kilo terrier cross gets twice that and he is almost 11 years old now.

    Also, both of these are intelligent breeds so although you don't want to get much into training, if you don't stimulate their brains they will get bored and possibly find ways you don't like of relieving that boredom (such as remodelling the shape of your furniture).
     
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  3. Hemlock

    Hemlock Well-Known Member Registered

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    Also, ball-throwing isn't great exercise in that it causes twisting and leaping in the dog, which can damage its body especially while it is growing. Modern German Shepherds are very unsound to begin with, so steady exercise is better.
    Another snag from throwing balls is that other dogs may charge up and try to take the ball. However this ends, it isn't pretty.

    Please don't think I'm trying to rain on your parade! There will be lots of good things you can do with your dog, but if you've never seen a park full of untrained dogs interacting, I'd strongly recommend you do before you get your own dog. It's quite a study. I'd honestly never exercise a dog in the park.
     
  4. Spoovy

    Spoovy New Member Registered

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    Thanks for the replies. Point taken re ball throwing -- I'll look at better options.

    Would 2 x 1 hour daily walks (+ additional at the weekends) be enough then do you think? We both like walking so if we committed to it we would stick that I'm sure.
    Training I've never done though, so I don't know if I'll enjoy it, that's why I'm more reluctant to commit to it.
     
  5. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    May I chip in...
    If you pick 'working' dog type...no manner of straight forward physical exercise will full fill their requirements to be a satisfied dog (unless they are dogs that are used for such type of 'work'). As mentioned the 'mental stimulation'...it means that working dogs of each type have brains hard wired for certain way that they are able to perform those tasks....so plain walks/runs will not full fill all the brain's needs..such a dogs will always feel left 'short' if they don't have adequate job to do or activities that challenge/entertain them enough in a right way.
    Research the breeds you are interested, find what they were originally bred for and how they might be used in modern settings. It will give you better idea if you can give such a dog meaningful way living with you so that everybody are happy.
    As for Shepherds....they don't always have to be to be security/guarding dogs in a professional way. Friend of our used to keep German Shepherds and their 'job' was accompany him where ever he did go. Everyday he would walk his dog around our allotment site (that's after its normal daily walk)...just walking around meeting and greeting people on the site, but that was the dog's 'job'. Dogs were on a look out anything and everything each day that didn't belong onto the site. Even as his home garden wasn't large for a such big dogs to patrol....keeping the dogs on his side and going around places did provide the right balance between their body and brain....those dogs didn't need huge amount strenuous activity...just wondering about best part of the day was satisfying and enough. So there is a way to work around working dogs needs but you will need to understand at first what makes those breeds 'tick'. It would be hugely helpful to talk with many owners of such a dogs to see how their dogs are 'entertained' and kept to see if your life will be right kind of set up.
     
  6. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Also consider aspects such as whether your neighbours have dogs, how often you have people coming to the house, and so on. Some protective breeds aren't so happy with all and sundry coming in the house, next door's children peering over the fence, and so on. (I've seen people say they want a dog that will protect them in their home and also if they encounter dodgy people on walks, but who is also a friendly social butterfly...)
     
  7. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    I suggest this to a lot of people in your situation.

    For the next month, act like you have an adult dog. Get up an hour earlier than normal, take an hour long walk. Do the same in the evening after work - and come straight home from work; no shopping, gym, socialising (which should be easier than normal right now, but be aware this will be the new normal). Do this every day, without fail, regardless of the weather.

    Be aware that it is Spring, with longer light and warmer temperatures, and remind yourself every morning that for several months of the year you will be doing it in the cold and dark.

    Also put away what you think a dog will cost for food, insurance, vet bill excesses, toys etc, then add 10% because we always underestimate these things.

    That will give you a good insight into some of the commitment you will need to make.
     
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  8. Tinytom

    Tinytom Well-Known Member Registered

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    Have you thought of a retired greyhound ...or even a pair ...alot of retired greyhounds are young ...they will enjoy 2X 30 min onlead walks and can go for longer walks when you want to ....
    If you did consider greyhounds go to a reputable rescue where they would match you with the perfect dog ....
     
  9. Spoovy

    Spoovy New Member Registered

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    Lots of replies, thanks!
    Seems like this has turned into a "what breed do you recommend" thread it seems. OK I can jump straight to that :).

    Greyhounds seem nice (Santa's little helper!) but we want a dog with guarding instinct, capable of protecting my missus to some extent when I'm not home, or when she's out on her own.
    We don't have people round much at all so I'm not after a softy type dog that allows strangers to stroke it straight away etc. But of course I don't want an overly aggressive animal either, and I wouldn't want one that's too large/powerful as it just doesn't seem necessary or sensible. An Australian cattle dog looked about right in terms of size.

    I'm aware that most of these guard dog type breeds ideally need an experienced owner, but we don't have experience so there's not much we can do about that. What I can do though is try to choose wisely in the first place, and learn what I need to do to keep it happy (and subordinate to me!).

    So that's it. I could commit to walking it properly without issue as I'm a big walker anyway and I don't have a problem committing to exercise. I think 1-2 hours every day should be no problem, but I do have a (WFH) desk job as does the wife so it's not going to be running around the fields all day.
    The training thing I'm still not so sure as I don't really know what that involves, I'll be doing more research on that.

    I appreciate all the advice btw, thanks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2021
  10. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    This carries a lot of risks.

    Some dogs, even the more bolshy ones, won't stop a determined intruder. There are videos all over youtube of 'hard' dogs letting intruders in and not doing a thing.

    Then, if something happened to your wife, a dog doesn't distinguish between emergency services and other intruders. Or, for that matter, a repair or delivery person.

    And, your dog doesn't need to even do anything to fall foul of the Dangerous Dogs Act. Just putting someone in fear is enough.

    So if that is one of your reasons for wanting a dog, you would be far better off with a good security system.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2021
  11. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I agree with JoanneF - there's no guarantees of getting a dog who knows the difference between 'scary threatening intruder' and 'scary meter reader'. And a dog that is capable of aggression can also redirect onto the owner. Apologies for giving more 'what breed' advice when it isn't what you asked for, but we wouldn't raise these points if we didn't have genuine concerns about what you're hoping for. I'm not saying that you shouldn't get a GSD - but I'd definitely be looking for one with a more easy-going nature and relying on its size and appearance to put off attackers, and to bear in mind the downsides of their personalities.

    I know you don't want an overly large powerful dog, but I wondered about a Rottweiler - they have something of a reputation, and are very likely to make an attacker think twice, but most of them seem to be absolute cuddle monsters and are more likely to slobber him to death. Staffies are smaller but have a similar reputation and personality. On the whole, GSDs tend to be sensitive as well as protective, which can make them less predictable than a naturally confident dog. Whatever you go for, research into and talking to breeders, rescues, etc. is vital, as you certainly wouldn't want a Rottie or Staffie with a dodgy personality either!

    As far as training/obedience goes, it doesn't have to be anything formal. You of course want to train the basics, recall probably being the most important. But then you can train things like 'Bring me my slippers', 'Close the fridge door for me', 'Tidy up your toys,' 'Speak'... ('Speak' could be useful if you want to deter someone). They're fun, you can pick and choose what works for you and your dog and work on them in advert breaks, while cooking, etc., they give the dog a job, and they can actually be useful. Well, sort of...
     
  12. Rinkydinkydo

    Rinkydinkydo Well-Known Member Registered

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    All I will say is.... be careful of what you wish for, you could end up with a ticking time bomb on your hands no matter what the size of dog.
     
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  13. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    Some dogs makes more noise than they really are a threat to anybody....but the noise they make can be a good deterrent for anybody thinking of making unwanted entry into somebody's property. And that fact on its own is quite reassuring when being in home alone. The size of the dog does not always mean they are not capable for a great things....just saying...and some more food for the thought... ;)
     
  14. paperweight

    paperweight New Member Registered

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    i took care of a dog who was one of those softies who loves people. she was a large yellow mutt and didn't resemble any stereotypically aggressive/intimidating breed. the strangers who harassed me when i was by myself left me alone when i had the dog with me.

    she also had a loud, deep bark, which was enough to scare the pants off a delivery driver.

    safety is a top priority for me too and this was a great balance. i felt safer when she was with me, but i also didn't need to be overly worried that she would hurt me or anybody else. i was certainly aware that any dog could hurt someone and did my best to manage the environment so she wouldn't feel the need to (i didn't allow young children to pet her, i never took anything away from her without "trading up," etc.). i don't want my dog to be a threat to my family's safety and i am not sure i have the skill and experience to keep that from happening if i start out with dog who has protective tendencies.

    re. training: does anyone here have any favorite resources to recommend? i know what helped me with the animals i watched, but what's good for someone bringing home a dog?
     
  15. Biker John

    Biker John Well-Known Member Registered

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    As for a dog acted as a deterrent, a friend of mine had a large dark colored GSD, it was a real softy but she competed in working trials. For this she had trained her dog to speak on command, one evening at dusk she was out, the dog off lead wandering around when she noticed a couple of young males apparently following her. She whistled her dog to her and told it to speak. It did, a deep loud barking, the fellas stopped and turned back. Now it is possible they wear totally innocent but the dog sure made her feel better.
     
  16. Ari_RR

    Ari_RR Well-Known Member Registered

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    My 2 cents - exercise as in “taking the dog out for walks” is probably one of the easiest parts. You get to turn off the worries of the world for an hour a couple of times a day, enjoy fresh air and a friend who loves you no matter what, get the blood flowing... what not to enjoy? Rain? Cold? Dark? None of this is a real problem, just a matter of having the right clothes and gear (headlight, for example, glowing collar or harness...)

    But there are 22 more hours in each day, when the pup still needs to be entertained, watched, interacted with, etc. Just constant taking out to pee and poop during house training feels like a full time job! It’s really a huge commitment of time, well beyond the walks.
    If you know in your heart that you can make this commitment (every day) - you will without a doubt find a way to give your pup enough physical exercise.
     
  17. Spoovy

    Spoovy New Member Registered

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    My current thinking is that -- as mentioned in several of your helpful posts -- the main issue with getting an intelligent, guard-dog type would be the mental stimulation. I don't like it but the fact is that me and the missus are both sat in front of computers for the majority of the day, 6 days a week, so I'm doubting we could provide enough games, training, bonding time.

    Maybe I should be doing as suggested and look for a bigger but less mentally demanding dog, that will be more a visual/audible deterrent than actual "biter". I'm stuggling with the terminology here -- can you tell?! :D

    Any breed suggestions?
     
  18. Tinytom

    Tinytom Well-Known Member Registered

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    Mastiff type dogs are lovely dogs .....
    Friends have french mastiffs and they are very easy going dogs who love being with their humans ...
     
  19. RGC

    RGC Active Member Registered

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    “....the main issue with getting an intelligent, guard-dog type would be the mental stimulation. I don't like it but the fact is that me and the missus are both sat in front of computers for the majority of the day, 6 days a week, so I'm doubting we could provide enough games, training, bonding time”.

    With due respect there could be concerns of being ready to take on the responsibility of another life. As you’ve already stated you and the missus are SEATED infront of computers for a lot of your waking hours to the detriment of providing the required care and stimulation for an adoptee. I and many others have taken on rescues from homes which have discovered that their dogs didn’t fit in with their way of life and had to put these poor mites up for adoption. I know this sounds harsh but I’m thinking of the dog. I do feel for you but think about it. You’re in a position to make a choice - the dog isn’t.
     
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  20. paperweight

    paperweight New Member Registered

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    i think spoovy was saying that they're not able to provide enough games, training, and bonding time for the breeds they were looking at before.

    i am wondering if there are different expectations about what training/mental stimulation entails. i know i used to think that dog training required one big chunk of time every day and that mental stimulation = agility classes. but something like a puzzle toy or a scent game doesn't take much time -- no more than walking to the park and throwing a ball, certainly.

    i'm definitely not trying to downplay how much work a dog is. at the same time, both spoovy and wife work from home and i think that arrangement might afford more opportunities to meet a dog's needs than it may seem. even a trip to the kitchen to make coffee could be a chance to interact.

    of course, spoovy, if you all are literally not leaving your crates, er, workstations, at all, for more than 12 hours per day, maybe look for an agility class ... for yourselves! after that much time in one spot, i'd be ready to crawl through a tunnel.
     
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