Exercises for Dogs: The Dos, Don’ts, Benefits, and Types

Dog Exercise - A comprehensive guide

“A tired dog is a happy dog.”

You must have heard this saying somewhere. And it is true as it is old.

Exercise is as vital to dogs as it is to humans, if not more. It helps them live a longer, more healthy (and fun) life.

Dogs are beings that are supposed to be active. And staying still for long periods causes them much more than just physical distress.

It is in both your and your dog’s best interest that you have some daily dog exercise time.

But how much exercise does your dog actually need?

Find this (and a few other questions) answered in our post below!

Table of Content:

Benefits of Exercises for Dogs
Exercise Requirements for Your Dog Breed
Types of Dog Exercises
Dog Exercise Ideas for Indoors and Outdoors

Benefits of Exercises for Dogs

Dog exercise has a lot of benefits. A few of them are:

Fitness and Agility

Regular exercise can keep your dog fit and agile. It can keep their bones, joints, and muscles healthy and their body flexible for longer.

A dog standing on its hind legs.

A dog standing on its hind legs.

Healthy Digestive System

Dogs that get regular exercise seem to have a healthier digestive system.

Exercising a dog usually includes getting them used to a bathroom routine and habit. This means they will relieve themselves outside the house when they feel like it.

This habit leads to lesser issues like constipation and bladder infections.

Other than this, moving around also might help with better food digestion.

Better Sleep Quality

Exercising your dogs helps them release excess energy. This, in turn, helps them sleep better.

Relatively intense exercise for a couple of hours before bedtime can be most beneficial in helping them get a good night’s sleep.

Better Mental Health

Dog exercise helps with not only dogs’ physical health but also their mental well-being.

Spending your dog’s energy leads them to be calmer and more content. It also helps with anxiety and behavioral issues like separation anxiety and destructive chewing.

Weight Control

Obesity is one of the major problems in dogs, and regular exercise can help keep fat buildup at bay.

You should control your dog’s weight because obesity also leads to other health issues like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory diseases, and liver problems. Further, overweight dogs also suffer from joint, ligament, and tendons-related problems.

Nutrition Control

It is difficult to resist a cute puppy face. Unfortunately, many dog parents unknowingly go overboard on their fur babies’ favorite treats because of this.

This can lead to increased calorie intake and offset their dietary recommendations.

Dog exercise is essential in this sense, too, as it helps burn those excess calories from your dog’s body.

Confidence Buildup

While exercising, going on walks, and running, your dog gets exposed to new surroundings and people. This helps build confidence in them to behave appropriately in new environments.

This exposure also might lead them to have less anxiety and behavioral issues in the long run.

Exercise Requirements for Your Dog Breed

Different breeds of dogs require different types of exercise. These requirements depend on what the dog was originally bred to do.

For example, hunting or working breeds of dogs require more frequent and exhaustive physical and mental activity than toy breeds. Exercise intensity and type also depend on their size.

Here are some breed-specific exercise recommendations:

Toy Breeds

Toy breeds are dogs that generally require the least amount of exercise. They are also easy to exercise — they do not need much space or effort to remain healthy.

Because they live primarily indoors and are often adopted for human companionship, their exercise requirements are frequently overlooked. Unfortunately, this can quickly lead to obesity.

Therefore, exercise is a must for toy breeds. Brief sessions of physical activity should be enough for these dogs.

Bulldogs and Pugs

These are dog breeds with short or flat noses. This trait can cause them breathing issues.

So, keeping their exercise light and the sessions short would be best. Also, do not exercise them outside when it’s hot or humid.


The terrier breed of dogs is famously eccentric. They have a lot of energy to burn — they were originally bred to hunt and chase out vermin and rodents from barns.

Terriers will do well with an hour of exercise daily.


Sighthounds were originally bred as hunting dogs — they were used to detect prey movements, chase, and capture them using their speed. Greyhounds, Afghan Hound, Podenco Canario, Rhodesian Ridgeback, etc., fall under this breed of dogs.

This means they require exercise in short, intense bursts. As a result, they might not benefit from longer activity sessions like jogging.

Herding or Working Dogs

These are the most physically capable breed of dogs. Humans originally bred them to help at farms — German Shepherds and Border Collies fall under this category.

Border Collie, a herding breed dog.

Border Collie, a herding breed dog.

Herding dogs are the most intelligent and get bored quickly. So, they have the highest exercise requirements.

You might be better off exercising this breed of dog twice a day. As they can go on for hours, a two-hour activity session would be good. They could be your perfect jogging buddies.

Types of Dog Exercises

Dog exercises can be of a few different types. While the broad categories are physical and mental exercise, we can divide physical activities into aerobic and anaerobic training.

Physical Exercises for Dogs

  • Aerobic training: Aerobic (meaning ‘with air’) exercises simply mean any physical activity that lasts longer than two minutes and requires your dog’s body to produce energy using oxygen. Continuous or steady-state workouts fall under this category — for e.g.: long-distance walks, runs, games of fetch, etc.
    This training is beneficial for building endurance and improving your dog’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
  • Anaerobic training: Anaerobic (meaning ‘without air’) exercises mean physical activities that occur in short bursts and ask your dog’s body to produce energy without using oxygen. They are performed at a higher intensity.
    Sprints, weight pull, jumps, or any other activity that lasts from 10 to 120 seconds fall under this category.
    This kind of exercise helps build lean muscle mass, burn fat, and increase strength in dogs.

Mental Exercises for Dogs

Food puzzles, edible chew toys, and treat hunts are great mental exercises for dogs. These can teach your dog obedience and habits or just make them smarter.

They also help keep them engaged while you’re away and curb issues like separation anxiety and destructive chewing.

Learn more: How Dog Chews Might Help with Dog Anxiety

Dog Exercise Ideas for Indoors and Outdoors

Outdoor Exercises for Dogs:

  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Fetch
  • Dog sports (frisbee, flirt pole, dog events like lure coursing, scent work, etc.)
  • Backyard obstacle courses

Indoor Exercises for Dogs:

  • Running up and down stairs
  • Indoor obstacle courses
  • Hide-and-seek
  • Treadmill
  • Games of tug
  • Agility training
  • Obedience training
  • Food and treats hunt
  • Doga (Dog Yoga)


Physical exercise is a must for any dog, regardless of its breed, age, or tendencies. They help dogs’ physical and mental wellness and strengthen bonds between dogs and their parents.

While engaging your dog in any exercise, ensure they are well motivated. You can use edible or non-edible dog chew toys (like our Tibetan Dog Chew) and treats (like our Tibetan Crunchy Cheese Puffs) to keep them going.

We hope you are now better informed about the basics of dog exercise.

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If you are an aspiring dog parent and looking to adopt your first pup, here’s a guide on how to choose the perfect dog breed for you and the essentials every dog parent should know.

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