Are 2 walks per day enough?

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Member Since
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 6:48am PST 
Hi everyone!
I'm a new, first time owner of a wonderful 7 month old belgian shepherd cross. I found out over time that I'm more of a 2 walks per day kind of owner. Don't get me wrong, I love walking with my girl, but I find that I prefer to have two long walks (1 in the morning, one end of afternoon/beginning of evening) than three shorter ones. Simply because it allows me to focus on my own work in between walks better.
I should add that I DON'T have a yard, nor a second dog!! Only an apartment of 130 square metres and I live in a big city with LOADS of other dogs. She does tend to get very tired after walks, because living here gives her so much input that she is more tired here than when I go visit my parents and walk in the woods for hours.

the way our day looks varies, but generally this is what it's like
8 AM get up, meal

8.30 AM go for walk. 1 hour at least (we generally walk somewhere/drive somewhere where she can run around freely and play with other dogs). During these walks we practice obedience: loose leash walking, leave it, etc. etc.

1 PM Meal

2 PM go outside to toilet + approx. 15 minute training session (generally leave it as she wants to eat everything that's edible off the ground).

5 PM walk, same type + duration as morning

Between 6 and 7 PM meal

10 PM she'll generally fall asleep at this time (she's not crated)

In between she is played with; every day looks different really, sometimes she has doggy play dates, we do obedience with a trainer 2 times per week, I try to bring her to new places as often as possible, she is alone very little because I work from home and I live in a house with three other girls.

Would you say this is enough exercise for her? I don't find her to be destructive/overly bouncy around the house. As she gets older and it gets warmer I want to add running, swimming, cycling, agility and herding to the program.

What do you think? How do you exercise your dog? And how can you tell whether your dog gets enough exercise? I want her to have a happy and fulfilled life, and I don't want her to be bored!

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 7:11am PST 
Walking is not the only exercise you can do with a dog. And Belgians can have a LOT of endurance. I would suggest finding LOTS of fun, creative ways to lower that energy level other than walks (ie interactive toys, scent/searching related games, trainibng etc).

Cave canis- vigilo omnis
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 8:13am PST 
Your dog will likely tell you if she needs more or less. And I do agree that training can help expend energy, but nothing will replace physical activity for burning energy and keeping them fit. I like to combine exercise and training with structured walks - we practice heel, sit, down, wait, etc. with breaks for doggie fun. Our walks are usually around our neighborhood now, but practicing these basics in various surroundings helps proof the behaviors.

I would be careful not to introduce high-impact activities until she's older, and while I think she sounds well exercised now, be prepared to up your game as she grows. way to go

Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 9:14am PST 
Excellent advice, Titus! applause By combining walks with obedience exercises, you ARE stimulating her mind, keeping her both physically and mentally tired. And there's nothing better than being able to run free sometime. Keep her in a lean, muscled condition. Sounds as if you are doing a good job, you may want to add in a few more, shorter training sessions.

As Titus said, keep the exercise at this level until she matures physically, at that point she may need more. Accompanying you on bike rides might be an option, or running with you, or longer walks. Walks are great, my dogs do 3 miles a day, plus park runs.

Member Since
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 9:24am PST 
so often i hear people trying to replace exercising with mental activity on this board. in general i think PEOPLE need the physical activity too - it's true you can probably entertain yourself reading or watching movies, just like you can entertain a dog training it in various things, but that doesn't replace the need for both people and dogs to exercise (more than most do, anyway).

walking, running, biking, hiking, these things build good physical health, strength, stamina, and endurance. i cannot stand out-of-shape, fat, dumpy dogs! sometimes the owners tell me it's because the dog is older, but that's a pretty poor excuse.

anyway, i think 2 long walks a day is fine at her age, especially if you find her manageable with that. each dog is different.

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 10:00am PST 
I think I get your point, guest...but training/mind work goes beyond "entertaining." I totally agree that it should not replace physical activity, but it is a great supplement. Like others, I incorporate obedience in walks. You can almost *see the dog thinking. But I also work on obedience & tricks when we're at home. That moment when your dog *gets it is unbelievable. Just like a long day at work can be taxing for people, mind work has the same effect on dogs. Just because you're doing it under the guise of fun does not make it any less work for the dog...and sometimes you laugh out loud
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 11:09am PST 
To Guest's comments I would like to add....

Walking is vital for continued socialization and mental stimulation. You ought be getting your dog out every single day on walks. I vehemently disagree with those who feel otherwise. Let me explore quickly, for a sec.

Firstly, dogs are alllll about smell, and the ability to experience different smells every day can be a quality of life issue, particularly for more working type breeds. That's one.

Two, it is ongoing socialization. Keeping your dog exposed to the sights, sounds, etc. of your community. It not only keeps them exposed, but is their daily checkin for the normal ranges of things, and helps keep them grounded and capable of good discretion.

Three, it opens up novel scenes, which is not only good for that socialization stuff, but also is a good gauge to where you are in your training, can be the first thing to clue you in that your dog (particularly when young) is entering a phase of some nature (easier to redirect those early than later) and also is premium not only for the dog to work on his focus, but for you to work on your own skill, assess your own self, and better communication with your dog. It's a LOT easier to think life is dandy in more controlled training scenes that you can predict. Ack....put yourself out in the real world every day, and that will tell you far more and help you muchly in dealing with situations as they come; having the honed ability to do that, for you both have that constantly exercised skill, communication, interplay.

In terms of how MUCH....quality over quantity! There are other ways to get the energy out in a "total load for the day" sense, so if it is just one or two a day but you are really investing yourself in that walk, that's a lot better than more where there is less of that. Walks should be journeys you and your dog look forward to and enjoy together. A one hour walk is one HECK of a lot better in many cases than two half hour walks which make you feel overburdened.

Which is your conclusion any way way to go SMART COOKIE!
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 8:24pm PST 
As she is falling asleep at 10pm, I think you are doing just fine. You could also take her somewhere nice on the weekend sometimes and let her have a good run or even a swim, depending if you can find somwhere. Walks are good, but running free is king if you can manage it! (At least I think so big grin )

Member Since
Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 12:53am PST 
You can actually do a lot more forms of exercise in a day provided that your dog can take it. Always make sure that you do know how to spot the signs of exhaustion in your dog.