How long of a walk does a dog need? How many times a week do dogs need to be walked? How often should I walk my dog? Do small dogs need walks? How often do Huskies need to be walked? How long should a dog walk be? What happens if dogs are not walked enough? Why has my dog become destructive and is digging in my yard?
Perhaps you own a dog, or are considering getting a dog, and wondering how much time you need to set aside for walking the dog. It would be great if there was one set answer, but there isn't. A lot of it depends on the particular dog, the dog's age, the dog's breed, and the health of the dog. If you do not yet own a dog, this information may be helpful to making the right breed choice as related to your energy level and time. Please note that some dogs will fall under more than one “type”.
You should know that simply being put in the back yard to play is not enough exercise for most dogs (and no mental stimulation) as well keeping dogs on chains in the yard can be cruel and create behavior problems. Dogs need walks! Dogs who are not walked enough get bored and are prone to health problems such as obesity which can lead to diabetes.
When a dog is a puppy it should not be walked at all until it is fully vaccinated, which happens around 12 weeks of age. Until then it will need at least 4-8 bathroom trips outside per day, but only in your back yard.
Although it may seem that all small dogs do not require many walks, this is not always true. Small dogs that were bred to be pets, such as the Shih Tzu, and Pug, do quite well with a walk every second day, as long they have other time outside. A 20 minute walk every second day is plenty for most small dogs, but those that were bred for hunting (dachshunds and beagles) may need more, and may even need two 20 minute walks per day.
Terriers and Hunting Dogs
Terriers are active dogs, bred to hunt, they need exercise or are prone to becoming bored and destructive. All terriers should get either one good hour long walk per day, or two shorter 30 minute walks per day. The more the better! Their walks should involve some play time. These dogs will also benefit from day long hikes when possible.
The herding dogs, such a the Border Collie, need not only a good walk every day, but some mental stimulation too. Without the mental stimulation these dogs easily become bored and destructive. Many people find taking these dogs to agility classes is good mental stimulation, but at the very least an owner should plan on spending time training the dog for some skill such as catching balls or Frisbees.
Huskies and Similar Working Dogs
Husky dogs and dogs such as the Dalmatian, were bred to be active, to pull sleds for miles, they do not just need a 60 minute walk, they need a run. Huskies are noted for jumping fences and going for mile long runs when they are bored. Many owners take their dogs on hour long runs, noting that the dogs prefer the cooler hours of the day.
Most Other Dogs
Most dogs need at least a 30 minute walk every day and some additional mental stimulation, or socialization, as can be covered by taking the dog to a dog park once or twice a week.
Dogs with Short Noses
There are some dogs, the Boxer, Pekingese, and so forth, that were bred to have short noses, these dogs should have walks that are limited for those in their group, especially on hot days and cold days, as their short noses make walking more stressful.
If you cannot walk your dog every day, and it is showing signs of boredom, such as digging in the yard, barking, or other destructive behavior, you may want to consider taking it to a doggy day care or hiring a professional dog walker to take it out more often.