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Is my dog getting enough exercise?

Jessicadelage
May 6th, 2011, 12:12 PM
I have a 5 year old (6 in August) female dog.
She is German Shepherd/Sheltie/Husky mix.
She is healthy, up to date with her shots and fixed.

She has fears (vehicles going by, people walking around, noises, rain, etc) that get us both stressed out when she goes for walks so I only take her out occasionally when I am going to the pet store, or when she needs to go to the vet/groomers, etc.
Most days she goes out in the backyard whenever she wants and I play with her in the house when she wants as long as she wants to continue.

When she wants to go outside she will jump up on the back door, when she wants to play she will bring a toy to me.
In the backyard she will run around and play on her own, sometimes with a toy/sometimes just running, then she jumps up when she wants to come back in and she will either come to be pet or lie down.
In the house she will bring her rope for tug-o-war and pull for a while (win a couple times/lose a couple times) then she will just stop pulling or drop the rope and go lie down when she has had enough.
If she wants to play fetch she will bring one of her stuffed animals or balls and put it at my feet or on my lap, I will throw it a couple of times until she stops bringing it back and she will either leave it where it landed or take it and chew it while lying down.

The rest of the day she is just lying/sleeping in one of her favorite spots.
She is not overweight or underweight, she is very friendly and pretty obedient.
She doesn't destroy anything or get into things she's not suppose to and she is totally housebroken (no accidents in years).
She does get really excited sometimes like when someone she doesn't see often comes over or another dog is around but after saying hello to the person/getting pet or playing with the dog for a while she calms down and goes back to her resting.

Why I am wondering what other people think is because I have had other people tell me that my dog is not getting enough exercise or can't possibly be a happy dog because dogs need to get regular walks and she doesn't.

You can see pictures of her on my facebook page: <edited out personal email>

hedgiemama
May 6th, 2011, 12:41 PM
I feel that dogs need to get out for a walk everyday. It allows them to smell new smells, see new sights and hear new things. Now I know you mention she has fears, you could try seeing a behaviorist to work through these problems. Dogs are meant to move around and travel ( walk ) everyday. Walks not only provide physical exercise, which is very important in keeping a dog healthy, but it provides mental stimulation which is also very important. Dog you have any dog parks near by? maybe she would be okay running around with other dogs? Or have a friend and their dog come over to get your girl some more exercise. Your dog is made up of high energy breeds so exercise is quite important. :)

Jessicadelage
May 6th, 2011, 03:06 PM
I have taken her to dog parks but she just stays near where the people are and wants to be pet.
She sometimes explores for a few minutes when we first arrive but then she will sit near us, she doesn't seem to like being around big groups of dogs.

I do pet-sitting so she does meet a lot of other dogs (one on one) and even some other type of animals but she doesn't play with them much.
She will play for a while with a new dog and then she just wants to be left alone to relax or chew her toys.

Mirela
May 6th, 2011, 03:11 PM
I absolutely agree that your dog will benefit greatly from being taken for walks.

The only thing I would suggest differently than what hedgiemama wrote is to not start by taking him to a dog park. Those places have their pros and cons and i would definitely not take a nervous dog there.

To get him used to the outside world you could start by simply sitting with him outside your house/ front lawn/ driveway... then pick a quiet time to take him around the block. If possible - really early morning or late at night there should be less people and cars to startle him.
If you live in a busy place - take him by car to a quiet place such as a conservation area or trail - to give him a chance to get accustomed to being in an open space.

Build from there - it's worth it!

From your second post - it looks like your dog got used to his routine and is content to live a "quiet" life - nothing wrong with that, but walks would be nice for both of you. ;)

hazelrunpack
May 6th, 2011, 03:20 PM
Just to muddy the waters a bit :o, it's not unheard of to have a dog that is a home-body. We have one that hates being outside the yard. If Ridge gets out of the fence, she'll bark eagerly at the gate to get back inside. If we take her to the woods, even if we bring one of the others that really enjoys running, Ridge will still high-tail it back to wait anxiously at the truck. She looks and acts very unhappy if she's outside of her yard or if she gets a ride and we expect her to actually get out of the vehicle. ("You want me to do WHAT?!?!! No way, no how, Mom!")

But she's in great shape because she plays sufficiently in the yard to stay that way. And she evidently doesn't crave different scenery. (She's admittedly an odd duck, though :D)

That being said, I would still recommend working to desensitize your dog to the things she's afraid of, just to avoid worse behavioral problems down the line.

But as far as the exercise issue goes, if she's got good muscle mass and is maintaining a healthy weight, she may just be one of those 'home-bodies' that doesn't need to get out much...

Jessicadelage
May 6th, 2011, 03:25 PM
She does like the outdoors, it's not the outside itself that scares her.
Sometimes when I'm waiting for someone or watching my little brother outside I will take her just in front of the house she is fine.

Where I used to live there was a huge grassy area that almost never had people and wasn't near a street that she liked to go to as long as no one else was there but she never really wants to run or play unless it's snowing.

She would walk into the area, smell around and then come sit or lie next to me.
If I try running to get her to run with me she will run in front of me then stop and when I stop so I don't step on her or I trip over her she will sit to be pet.
The only time she is active outdoors is when it's snowing, in the backyard or when she is having a fit (but that's a different type of active).

BenMax
May 6th, 2011, 05:41 PM
Walks are one of the most important things for a well balanced dog. Being introduced to new surroundings is crutial for the well being mentally for your companion.
Most dogs that show fear or have issues usually stems from not having their daily walks.
You would be amazed what 2 walks a day will do for your pup.
I am living proof of that with my pack of 5 all of which had issues.

reanne
May 7th, 2011, 12:01 AM
I agree that some dogs are homebodies, and also that some dogs don't need a lot of exercise to stay healthy and happy.

However, since your dog is nervous of things I think that is something you should work on-she would benefit a lot from it, plus on the chance that if something were to happen to you, you would not be leaving a dog with issues that someone couldn't walk.

When I first adopted Whistler he was terrified of EVERYTHING. He was very strong and very nervous, and walking was hard and heartbreaking (it was so sad to see him so scared of things). But we stuck with it. Some days we only went one block. I carried lots of treats and gave him treats and lots of pets for overcoming fears-but never gave treats or pets when he was nervous, even to comfort him as that was rewarding the nervous behaviour. You have to stay calm and confident. Use a Gentle Leader or a Sporn halter and practice having a loose lead because the taut lead just builds that anxiety.

It may take some time, but it will be worth it in the end. Now I have a dog that is phased by NOTHING. An explosion could probably happen right next to him and he would glance at it with a bored look haha. Now I'm doing it again with my new rescue dog. The first time a bike or skateboarder goes by you and she doesn't even care will be amazing-trust me! :D

peeboysowner
May 16th, 2011, 03:41 PM
I don't know if it's feasible but maybe try taking her out when there's very few people/cars outdoors (early at 5-6 am perhaps) to get her used to the environment first without having to deal with other stressors. When I first got my dog, he barked at people and cars like crazy. So I started with short, fun walks with lots of treats super early in the morning ,everyday down the same path until he got used to it. Since it was 4:30 am when I took him out, we never encountered people or cars (even the birds were still sleeping). Once he got used to that, I started going a little later, at around 6 and this time we'd see maybe 1 or 2 people the entire walk and gradually increased it from there. I agree that daily walks are important. Perhaps they don't need to be long walks, but just a chance to see a different scenery once in a while.

Stinkycat
May 16th, 2011, 03:58 PM
You have a smart, high energy dog so you have to think about the needs rather then just exercise.

Husky - Need to RUN, RUN, RUN to feel at ease
German Shepherd - Smart dogs, they need to be mentally stimulated.

So you should be providing a bit of both every day. I can actually guarantee that the dogs fears are being created from a under stimulated dog. A tired dog is a good dog.

And I'm not saying you're a bad owner, not at all, I can relate because my border collie gets spooked by some strange people in weird outfits. If she hasn't had any "work" that day she'll bark, if I've worked her (frisbee, tricks and a good run) she'll look at them and look away cause she's too tired to care.

I think 2 short walks per day and 1 hour of interaction mentally stimulating games should do it.
Games: Hide and seek, nose work, obedience, tricks. Just search on youtube.:D

Chaser
May 16th, 2011, 07:38 PM
Walks are one of the most important things for a well balanced dog. Being introduced to new surroundings is crutial for the well being mentally for your companion.
Most dogs that show fear or have issues usually stems from not having their daily walks.
You would be amazed what 2 walks a day will do for your pup.
I am living proof of that with my pack of 5 all of which had issues.

I second BenMax. Said it perfectly.

H.P.
May 26th, 2011, 01:25 PM
My Allie is pretty much the same way, but to help her be more confident, we go out at least a couple of times a week. She HATES the dog park, tried it not long ago, it was not a pretty sight, she is not ready for that yet. But she likes to go walking on trails where she gets to say hi to other leashed dogs and sometimes she will greet people now, too. We also go to the pet store, she used to be very frightened there, but I just kept a firm positive attitude, and walked like I could take on the world, and she followed along. Now, she is still a little scared when we first go in, but calms down quickly, and even wags some. She gets to face her fears, and it strengthens the bond between us as she learns that I am not going to take her places that she will get hurt. Just a side note, a saying I heard once, don't remember where it came from "If you are overweight, your dog is not getting enough exercise"

Elaina Walker
June 4th, 2011, 12:49 AM
I have a 5 year old (6 in August) female dog.
She is German Shepherd/Sheltie/Husky mix.
She is healthy, up to date with her shots and fixed.

She has fears (vehicles going by, people walking around, noises, rain, etc) that get us both stressed out when she goes for walks so I only take her out occasionally when I am going to the pet store, or when she needs to go to the vet/groomers, etc.
Most days she goes out in the backyard whenever she wants and I play with her in the house when she wants as long as she wants to continue.

When she wants to go outside she will jump up on the back door, when she wants to play she will bring a toy to me.
In the backyard she will run around and play on her own, sometimes with a toy/sometimes just running, then she jumps up when she wants to come back in and she will either come to be pet or lie down.
In the house she will bring her rope for tug-o-war and pull for a while (win a couple times/lose a couple times) then she will just stop pulling or drop the rope and go lie down when she has had enough.
If she wants to play fetch she will bring one of her stuffed animals or balls and put it at my feet or on my lap, I will throw it a couple of times until she stops bringing it back and she will either leave it where it landed or take it and chew it while lying down.

The rest of the day she is just lying/sleeping in one of her favorite spots.
She is not overweight or underweight, she is very friendly and pretty obedient.
She doesn't destroy anything or get into things she's not suppose to and she is totally housebroken (no accidents in years).
She does get really excited sometimes like when someone she doesn't see often comes over or another dog is around but after saying hello to the person/getting pet or playing with the dog for a while she calms down and goes back to her resting.

Why I am wondering what other people think is because I have had other people tell me that my dog is not getting enough exercise or can't possibly be a happy dog because dogs need to get regular walks and she doesn't.

You can see pictures of her on my facebook page: <edited out personal email>



Is your pet active during morning and evening times? Generally during the afternoon time the dogs become lethargic. But by evening they again become active. Since she reacts to strangers, it shows that she's active. But make sure to take her out ones in morning and ones in evening. You should always interact and play with your pet. This will keep their energy level high and make them happy.

ownedbycats
June 4th, 2011, 01:12 PM
You mentioned that she will run and play when there is snow, but the rest of the time she has lower energy. I haven't seen a picture of her, but maybe part of her lowere energy is because of a thick coat? Our last dog was a collie, husky, shepherd cross and his coat was very thick. He was much less energetic during the summer because he was just so hot and couldn't cool off easily. You might try taking her on walks really early in the morning when it has cooled down and see if that makes a difference.

2Greatbulldogs
June 13th, 2011, 03:56 PM
There are some big issues here… not just your dogs exercise issue. Firstly, please don’t be offended by my comments, I am a big dog lover and want them and you to be happy (so they don’t end up in a shelter like millions of dogs each year). Dogs are the most misunderstood animal on the planet; due to how we have tried to humanize them. From your posting, it sounds like you have a naturally submissive dog who wants to be a follower, but due to lack of human leadership has been forced into be the leader position. She “has fears (vehicles, people, dogs, noises)” because she has no way to control those things, and knows you don’t either, as she is the leader of your pack, she MUST attempt to control them. You getting stressed on the walk, reinforces that you are a weak energy intensifying her anxiety. How do I know she is the alpha ? “when she wants to go outside, she will jump on the back door”, “when she wants to play she brings me a toy”, “when she wants to come in she jumps up”, “ she will come to be pet”, “ she will bring her rope for a tug-of- war” (note; it’s a bad idea to play tug a war with your dog), “when she has had enough she goes to lie down”, “if she wants to play fetch she brings the stuffed animal”, “she gets really excited sometimes when someone comes over or another dog is around” (in other words She is the leader and MUST greet the guest/stranger/dogs). Your dog is controlling your behavior, starting and stopping activities, making the decisions ! In the dog world, ONLY THE LEADER MAKES DECISIONS, in her world she makes all the decisions, so has to worry about everything, which may work for you in your home environment. But a dog is infinately more balanced and happy to be a trusting follower to a confident, calm and assertive leader; this is true happiness for a dog. All dogs have an instinctual need to walk; the most important part of you establishing your leadership will be to master the walk; (with her BEHIND you never in front), this will also contribute to meeting her high exercise requirements (lets face it; Huskies are transportation) and mental excersise (the working part of her) . There are some really great resources out there for dog behavior; this one is great http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/linksbehavior.htm

Jumajum
June 16th, 2011, 05:01 PM
Firstly, don't let other people tell you if your dog is happy or not. Some dogs just aren't into being 'super waggy tail -make friends with every stranger' sort of dog.

Secondly, do you want to have walks with her whenever YOU want. Do you want to be able to take her around town for errands, go on trips, just hang out at the park and have BOTH of you enjoy it. If so, then you're going to have to start working on counter-conditioning her to not be so anxious around moving people and cars etc.

As others have suggested, start off with walks when there are less people and then work your way towards busier times. Link being around people, cars with something she likes, a food reward or a couple of seconds of tug. Or just hang out on a park bench and as people walk past, reward her for chilling out. Don't console her if she starts whining or getting anxious. Ignore it and make sure they you remain cool and chipper.

I've a neighbour with a similar problem and I went out for a walk with her and her dog. Whenever a stranger approached, my friend would tense up and brace herself for the shoulder breaking lunge that her dog would take to get away from the approaching stranger. I noticed that the approaching person would also tense up, the face would reflect concern or anxiety. Sometimes the dog would lunge, sometimes the dog would whine and sometimes the dog would jump about anxiously. Part of the stress the dog was feeling was simply from reading the stress of her owner and the stranger who was probably also reflecting the owner's stress. Be mindful of your own stress. Stay calm and cool and chipper, even if you're nervous. Fake it until you make it.