Tuesday, September 2, 2014

City Dog: How Much Exercise Do Your Dogs Get?

As City Dog owners, the one thing that always comes up in conversation (usually by non-dog owners) is that dogs can't be happy living in the city.
Sure, it's usually a conversation with that one drunken guy, stumbling over, trying to explain to you that your dog isn't happy and needs to run free.
In a field.
With flowers.
It seems our pups prefer laying in the field. Without flowers.

While we just did our own little backyard vs. walking experiment, I was just thinking about how much exercise most dogs do get.
And whether anyone is really frolicking though these infinite fields on a daily basis.
Mr. B chooses levitation over frolicking.

Sure our pups aren't romping around, but we are going on daily walks a couple of times a day.
Some of our Family Walks can be as long as 5 miles.
I really think it's this low-impact, consistent exercise that has kept our pups healthy as they age, and many people can't believe our pups are really 10 and 11 years old.

We know all dogs and situations are different, but we're curious about how much exercise dogs are really getting.
How much exercise is your pup getting each day? And as long as it's exercise, does it matter if it's really a field romp or a long walk?

Because the city is our Obstacle Course
How we exercise indoors when we can't go outdoors
Making the most of our walks.
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Keri said...

We had a similar experience to yours - moved to a house with a huge fenced in yard. Both dogs will do a lap of the property, but they'd rather eat grass than play in the backyard. They get most of their exercise via our daily walks. Morning walks are only about 25 minutes, but in the evenings we do our 1 hour family walks. It keeps them at a healthy weight, and I think it does the same for us ;)!

Newsboy said...

I don't think dogs will really do all that much in a yard unless you are out there playing with them - at least that's what happened after we fenced our yard. Summer will go out there and lie down, or sniff. If one of us comes out, then the fun starts. I work from home so she gets about 4 walks a day of varying lengths. The AM walk can last 30-45 minutes, the rest are around the park or block.

Anonymous said...

Rufus and I usually cover about 5-7 miles on average. We love walking and hiking and it usually helps me unwind after a long day - definitely my meditation of choice. :)

Heatherkay said...

I started using an app (Walk for a Dog) that tracks how many miles we do, just as a reality check. Sometimes a walk with Nimbus feels like we went a long way, but in reality there was a LOT of stopping and sniffing. Bonus is that it's also a fundraiser for your local animal shelter, for the price of looking at a few ads.

HannahG said...

Hey! I usually read your blog via Feedly, but this is something I feel passionately about that I got on my laptop to visit your site and comment.

I think SO many behavior issues are really exercise issues, and many people don't realize how little mental stimulation a yard provides. My baseline recommendation to adopters of my foster dogs is 30 minutes twice a day at a minimum, with one "adventure walk" a week.

An "Adventure walk" is a term I made up to describe taking a longer trip to somewhere new, whether it is practicing sit & down in home depot, going to the beach, or even a longer walk to a downtown summer festival.

So glad you two are out there evangelizing the importance of actually walking your dogs!

Heatherkay said...

As someone who doesn't have a fenced yard, I wouldn't even be eligible for a lot of rescues. But my dog gets two real walks daily, and a couple more mini relief walks. He does like to lay around in the grass when we go to the park, and he would probably like to have a yard, but we certainly haven't needed it.

Unknown said...

I had to fence my yard as a requirement to rescue Vegas, but I prefer to walk with him so I never used it. Became a moot point once I moved to Chicago. We cover 5-8 miles a day, depending on weather. I have a few different places/routes- all have several "safe havens" (dog-friendly places) where I can stop for a break from the heat or cold depending on the weather.

diane said...

I waited years to adopt a dog until I had a house with a yard. Then when I moved into my house and adopted my first dog, she had no interest in the yard - even for doing her business - so we started walking. My second dog isn't so picky, but I've maintained our walking routine even after my first dog passed. The walks provide so many benefits for both of us :) We walk three times a day, averaging about an hour total, with bigger walks/hikes on the weekends.

Kelly_g said...

Having a yard for the dogs to run and play in is great, if they actually use it. My 2 dogs do play in the yard together a little bit each day but it is nowhere near enough exercise for them to keep them well-behaved. They need mental stimulation too (sniffing, etc.) so our daily walks are very important to us. We usually walk for about an hour, longer on the weekends for a daily average of about 2 miles. It's not a long distance but it keeps us all sane! We also use the "Walk for a Dog" app that someone mentioned above to track our walks and to raise money for our local shelter so that keeps us motivated:-). I always tell people who want a dog that a good dog is a tired dog and a dog will no get tired unless you provide more exercise than letting it roll in the yard.

Anonymous said...

We went from a house with a huge yard to a house with a small yard but Boomer and Dottie don't mind, they still go out and sniff around. Being seniors they don't play that much in the yard though. They rely more on daily walks and play time in the house.

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

Good question! I definitely think you guys do city dog livin' the right way. I do think Kaya would lose her shit if she could not run several days a week. She's a high energy dog and we go on an off leash hike, beach or park outing for about 90 min every day.

When we brought Norman to LA he was on the leash for several days in a row and he was very mellow while walking, hanging at the hotel or where ever. Then I found a nearly empty dog park and let him loose. He sprinted around like a maniac for an hour. He was hiding that extra energy very well! Just when I was thinking he would make the perfect city dog, I realized he enjoyed his freedom too.

Jacquelin Cangro said...

I often get this question from relatives who live in the suburbs, but I suspect that my dog gets more exercise than their dogs get. Since I don't have a yard, I can't simply let my dog into the backyard. Like many people have commented, most dogs just like to hang out in the yard. They're not getting exercise unless we are actively engaged with them. Most city dogs I know around here get a good amount of walking every day.

P H O T O G R A P H Y by Wendy Martin said...

We have a huge yard and we love to play ball and do some spurts of sprinting but by no means is it consistent exercise. It's a good middle of the day stimulant. We do a long walk in the morning and a shorter one in the afternoon as it gets extremely hot. I can certainly tell the difference in their behavior when we have all day thunderstorms and haven't been out.

Rebelwerewolf said...

We live out in the 'burbs, but we live in an apartment and have no yard, so Badger and Mushroom get their exercise exclusively from leash walks. Most days we take them out several times for 15-20 minutes each, but most of that time is spent sniffing as opposed to truly walking. We also occasionally go for longer walks on the nearby rail trail that are around 3 miles. I think it would be good for them to get a little more exercise, so maybe I'll check out the app that was mentioned earlier in the comments.

Willis said...

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