Exercise is the key to good behavior and successful training of your dog. It has often amazed me both professionally and personally what a difference adaquate exercise makes with problem behaviors a dog may display. Common complaints from dog owners (including me) are chewing, barking, pacing, whining and general restlessness. A lot of people ask me how much exercise a dog needs on a daily basis and I have a difficult time quantifying that. Every breed may have specific needs, such as JRT’s traditionally need levels of exercise that many people find difficult to provide and often young dogs and puppies need more activity than do older dogs.

After making the decision to try to add more exercise to your dog’s routine, give it about a week and then start to look for changes in your dog’s behavior. If no change is occuring, increase the exercise for another week and watch for a change. For example: Janko tends to bark when he is not getting enough exercise. Exercise for Janko really needs to be walking or jogging…running around in the backyard is just not enough. We started walking him about a mile to a mile and a half every night and began to notice a subtle difference in his behavior. But it wasn’t until we began to walk him 2 or more miles a night that I think there was a significant change. If we had the time and energy, I have no idea how many miles he could walk every day, but Teresa, his breeder, has informed us that in peak condition, GSD’s could RUN 40 MILES PER DAY!

I, like everyone else I meet, find it to be a great challenge to get all the dogs exercised properly every day. There are days that I fail and days I do a great job. I just keep trying! It is true though that sometimes I wouldn’t get the exercise I need if I didn’t have to exercise my dogs. It would be easier just to watch TV or read a book or work. I thank the dogs for motivating me to stay active!