Despite the fact that pup spend long periods of time deeply asleep, few animals are as boisterous and lively when they are actually awake than puppies, which tend to be very active and want to get involved in everything around them with great enthusiasm in between bouts of heavy napping!
However, you cannot take a puppy outside into the wider world for walks until they have received both phases of their initial two-stage vaccinations and waited for the requisite amount of time to allow them to take effect, because of the significant risk of them picking up a potentially fatal infection or disease from another dog, or from the environment itself.
Depending on how old your pup is when you get them and when they have their vaccinations, this will mean that they are likely to be at least twelve weeks old and maybe several weeks more before you can begin to walk them outside and introduce them to other dogs. This of course means that said pup will need to remain indoors during this time-but they still need to take part in exercise and physical activity.
Knowing how to provide the appropriate amount of exercise for a young puppy that cannot go outside can be a challenge, particularly if the pup is from one of the breeds that are well known to be extremely lively, like the Border collie. However, with a little ingenuity and know-how, it is entirely possible to provide enough exercise for younger dogs within the home itself for a couple of weeks until the pup is ready to go outside.
In this article, we will share some tips and advice on how to exercise a puppy within the home before they are old enough to go out.
As mentioned above, taking a puppy outside before they have been vaccinated and developed the full benefit of the vaccinations places them at risk of a wide range of very dangerous diseases. Even healthy adult dogs can carry viruses and bacteria that to them are harmless (due to their own fully developed immune systems and/or vaccinations) but that can make a pup with an immature immune system very ill, and even prove fatal.
It is not just direct contact with other dogs that is the problem either-a great many very nasty canine diseases including parvovirus, which is usually fatal in puppies, can remain viable in the environment and the earth for up to a year or even more. This means that simply walking around outside can lead to the development of a serious illness that will greatly compromise your pups heath, and even potentially lead to a painful death.
Puppies do tend to be lively and active, but they also tire out quickly and need a lot of sleep! A puppy’s energy is expended not only on their day to day lives, but also on growing and development, and so you should take your cues from your pup’s activity levels and desire to be active, and never push them to continue when they are flagging or getting tired.
Additionally, you must take care with the type of exercise, and how much of it, your pup gets while they are young, because their bones and joints are still developing. Too much exercise or the wrong types of exercise can directly affect your pup’s healthy bone and joint development, leading to potentially serious problems further down the line as well as of course the risk of strains and injuries in the present.
Taking your pup out into the garden may seem like a good compromise when your pup is not yet able to go out into public spaces, but this is not necessarily safe. As mentioned, the earth and ground itself can potentially harbour all manner of viable viruses and bacteria, often for months or years after it first infects the ground.
Unless you have lived in your home for many years and know that no other unvaccinated dog nor one that as ill has ever been in your garden, it may still pose a risk. Additionally, if your garden is flanked by other homes that own or have owned dogs, this may still not be safe, because infections do not respect property boundaries!
It is a great idea to spend time before your pup can go outside getting them used to wearing and walking on the lead, because this will begin to get your pup into the right frame of mind for training and help you to get the silly stage out of the way before you first take them outside and need to rely on the lead for control!
Check out this article on how to get your pup used to the lead and walking while on the lead to give you a head start before they first go outside, and to provide a method for giving your pup structured exercise within the home.
Climbing stairs is a great form of cardiovascular exercise for mammals of all types, but it is also a high impact exercise and so one that should be used with care for puppies.
Once your pup is old and big enough to manage the stairs comfortably, encouraging them to go up and down the stairs a couple of times can help to get them moving and burning off some of that excess energy.
However, take great care about the level of impact this causes to your pup’s joints and bones, and make sure to keep stair sessions very short. If you own a larger breed of dog that is known to be prone to problems like hip dysplasia, or any other breed of dog that has an elevated chance of suffering from bone and joint development issues, avoid exercise using the stairs entirely.
Getting your dog involved in some interactive games with you in an open area-such as your lounge or another room without a lot of furniture in the middle of it-will serve several purposes. First of all it will provide a great bonding experience for you and your pup, as well as giving them direction and training on the etiquette of play, such as not getting too carried away, surrendering a toy when asked to, and what is and is not allowed.
It does of course also provide appropriate and interesting exercise sessions for your pup, which can be performed twice or three times a day in short bouts. This can help your pup to work off their excess energy and begin to get used to a pattern of fitness and exercise, without pushing them too far because they can go for a nap afterwards!