How far should I walk my dog?
November 5, 2009 1:09 PM   Subscribe

How far should I walk my dog?

He is a hound mix, 1-year-old, essentially full-grown at about 50 pounds.
posted by mola to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, if you ascribe to Cesar Milan's theory (who is BIG on walking your dog every day), the walk should be at least 45 minutes, IIRC. I would tend to agree with this. He's still pretty young, and he needs at least that long of a walk to burn off his energy. I don't know how far that equates in distance, though. Good luck!
posted by PrettyGeekAtx at 1:12 PM on November 5, 2009

I've found with my terriers, and hounds that I previously owned, it will be pretty obvious when they are tired. Up to that point, as long as they're having fun and willing to keep going, keep walking. Obviously if that start bleeding from their paws or something, you've gone too far.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:22 PM on November 5, 2009

My shepherd-mix is about a year old, 36 pounds and would happily run 3-4 miles a day, if we ran that often. Just keep an eye on him and stop if he's tired, but a couple of 30 minute walks a day is a nice minimum. It won't be enough to wear him out though... we import other dogs to help with that...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 1:27 PM on November 5, 2009

I don't think that you're supposed to walk for longer than an hour before they turn one (what with bones and joints still developing etc), but now that he's passed the one year mark (as has my Lab recently) you can keep going Energizer bunny style.

Your dog is probably wondering the same thing about you...
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 1:32 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Walk him until he's tired out, then call someone to pick you up and drive you home. From that day forward, walk him half that distance, then turn around and go home.
posted by dersins at 1:42 PM on November 5, 2009 [10 favorites]

Dersins answer is what I came in to type, so I put a star next to it. Of course, I probably would have added more smartassery. It's a weakness.
posted by rokusan at 1:50 PM on November 5, 2009

I'm not sure if this applies...

I had a basenji mix who LOVED to run in circles at the local field.

I walked dog to the field (open area) and let dog GO. I've been to large dog walks in other areas that mimic this dynamic. The area is large enough for the animal to run back and forth, thus supplementing a "human directed walk" which probably doesn't supply enough exercise for the average young dog, anyway.

Does your dog fetch? Can you teach him? BINGO.

Short neighborhood walks supplemented by once or twice weekly dog fetch play = canine exercise gold!

In short, it isn't about the walks, its about the quality exercise time.

posted by jbenben at 1:58 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

My dogs in theory get 2 run-or-walk-until tired sessions a day, but they are still pretty happy if they only get one. 2-yr old retriever types. We run on trails for up to 5 miles, but "running" with them means a kind of canine fartlek or inter-species interval training--we run fast until there's a good smell and then we stop and roll in it. They weigh about what yours does and always seem like they can go further.

Because so much of the experience of walking for them is about stopping and smelling, or greeting other dogs, time is a more reliable guide than distance, and a walk shorter than 30 minutes leaves them still antsy. But maybe your dog is more focused!

If you're walking on asphalt or another rough surface, be sure to increase gradually, so your dog's foot pads have time to get tougher!
posted by Mngo at 2:29 PM on November 5, 2009

Speaking of walking on asphalt, cement, etc. -- in the summer, be sure to test the temperature with YOUR bare feet and see if YOU'D like to walk on it. So often we see people torturing their poor dogs by taking them for walks on pavement that must be literally burning the paws...
posted by Jacqueline at 3:23 PM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've got an energetic little Australian Shepherd, and 3-4 miles works great for him. That's an hour if you keep up a brisk pace (pee and sniff breaks don't take that long.)
posted by bearwife at 4:19 PM on November 5, 2009

I don't know the answer to this... two 30 minute walks are sufficient for us, though our dog can put up with short walks (15-20 minutes), as long as it doesn't go on too long (too many consecutive days) - and we've never found her limit for long walks (medium sized mixed breed, around 30 lbs); she can go forever, it seems like.

I do make sure to carry water and a plastic bowl with me whenever we go for a longish trek, and we do stop for breaks.

The way it typically works for us is that she comes with me/us for walking errands (that's most of them), plus comes with us for most outings (outdoor cafes, visiting a friend) so she gets walks that are integrated with what we are doing. Some days that might be two or three 10 or 15 minute walks, some days it's miles and miles and hours and hours, and some days we take walks just for her (park areas), that might be an hour or two hours.

We also got a locking collar leash, so that we can take her along to places where we can't keep an eye on her so that we don't need to worry that someone will walk off with her - but we limit the time she's tied up alone to no more than 10 or 15 minutes. This is the leash we got, though I'm not specifically endorsing this product: it happens to be what we found when searching for this sort of thing, that seemed best to us. In our immediate neighborhood, all the shop owners (and people generally) know our dog, and she either comes inside with us, or is leashed (normally) outside, and it's safe. But if I have to go to the post office, for example, I take her with me, and lock-leash her outside, so it's helpful for integrating things you do anyway, and giving the dog more walk-time.
posted by taz at 11:58 PM on November 5, 2009

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