We defined large dogs as being over 40lbs, so let’s define our small group as dogs weighing under 20 lbs. Exercise for your little Chihuahua or Pug should be quite different than for a big Labrador or German Shepherd. Smaller, companion dogs don’t make good long distance running partners, nor are they usually well suited for herding, dock diving or other sports the bigger dogs excel at.
But these little lap warmers aren’t necessarily powder puffs and can be tough as nails. They may prefer being pampered, but they still need both physical and mental exercise. The amount and intensity of the exercise can be shorter and more relaxed, but you still want it to be fun and interesting for your pet.
A few ideas of exercises for your small dog:
A good measure of whether your dog is getting enough exercise is their demeanor and behavior. If a dog becomes destructive, tearing up the house or their toys or barking uncontrollably that might be an indication they are bored and need to get out and expend some energy. Likewise, if they are restless and constantly demanding attention, it may be a sign they need a mental challenge.
You also need to be aware of smaller dog’s physical limitations. Be cautious in the heat or if your dog is a brachycephalic breed (Pug), breathing may be harder for them, so shorter exercise jaunts are necessary. Some smaller dogs have shorter legs like the Dachshund or Corgi and may need a slower pace.
It’s also important to always check in with your vet when you start a new exercise routine with your pet. It’s important that they weigh in on any physical limitations they may have in order to keep your little guy safe.