Adding a puppy to your household is an exciting stage for most families. They're cute, furry balls of energy that constantly seem to be on the move. With energy at high levels, exercising large-breed puppies is no exception.

While it's no exception that all puppies can act mischievously, proper levels of exercise and activity can keep the damage minimal.

There's a right and wrong way to ensure your pup receives the proper exercise, especially when you've got a large-breed dog.

Many dog owners believe the more exercise puppies receive, the better they'll be. But there's a fine line between distracting dogs from disruptive habits and overworking your puppy.

Many puppies are prone to specific health problems exacerbated by over-exercise.

exercise large breed puppy

Exercising Large Breed Puppies, How Much Is Too Much

All large breed dogs are prone to joint problems, with purebred dogs at slightly higher risk.

Although many people believe that mixed-breed dogs are less likely to have health issues, the chance of developing health issues like hip dysplasia and other medical problems is the same as their purebred counterparts.

Understanding Large Breed Dog Growth Development to Exercise Them Smartly

Despite having a shorter lifespan than smaller breeds, large and giant dog breeds take a long time to develop. The younger a pup is, the faster the exercise times should be overall.

Don't use the pup's eagerness to gauge exercise, as large breed dogs don't fully develop until they're fully grown (approximately 15 months old).

Refrain from high-impact activities like long hikes or agility training until the joints fully develop.

Always allow your puppy to nap whenever they want to sleep. A shorter bout of exercise will enable a body to tire, giving plenty of opportunities to rest.

Likewise, supporting growing bones and joints is essential for all large breed dogs. A high-quality joint supplement can encourage proper and healthy joint development, especially during the initial growth.

While supplements encourage healthy growth, pet owners will still have to remain mindful of joints during exercise.

Don't Believe the Rumors When It Comes to Large Breed Dogs

Everyone has an opinion on what's best for a large breed dog, including health and exercise. If you've ever tried to follow preventative measures on the internet, your head might spin with varying information.

Many online rumors or advice are beyond specific health advice, stemming into conspiracies. Outdated tips include preventing puppies from jumping or twisting and limiting a dog's interaction with smooth surfaces (like hardwood floors).

Although we'd all like to keep our animals safe, many of these behaviors naturally occur, making the behaviors unpreventable.

Tips for Encouraging Safe and Healthy Exercise for Large Breed Dogs

Exercise isn't exclusive to play; it can consist of training or mental stimulation. While exercise is always a good idea, you should bear a few things in mind as you develop an exercise routine.

This caution includes an exercise frequency and routine and learning the proper intensity of all exercises.

One of the first activities to teach your puppy is how to walk nicely on a leash. In the beginning, most puppies will see a leash as a toy.

Many puppies can't navigate more than a few steps without jumping at the leash, wiggling around on the ground, or trying to play a quick game of tug.

To help them acclimate to the leash, keep their attention away from it. Always carry treats with you and work on basic training skills while walking through the neighborhood.

Skills might include the commands to sit and lay down. Over time, the dogs will become desensitized to the leash, making it easier to navigate when you're out in public.

Having your dog correctly tethered to you at all times is the safest option for exercise, especially when your dog's recall isn't reliable.

Walk Duration for Puppies

The timing and distance connected with a walk is also an important consideration when walking your puppy.

Always start with short and slow-paced walks, working up to longer distances. Remember that your pup is still learning how to interact with the leash; being on the leash for too long may frustrate your dog, as it restricts their movement.

Keep your puppy to walking speeds until six months old, when you can encourage jogging short distances. Jogs should be kept short until they're at least 15 months old.

Avoiding Extreme Weather

When the weather slides into really hot or freezing days, keep your pup to minimal outside activity.

The pads of your dog's feet are susceptible to injury from the elements, making pavement, concrete, and sidewalk temperature influential to their comfort.

Walking on material that is too hot can cause blisters and cracking on the pads of their feet, making them painful and sore.

If the weather feels uncomfortable for you to be outside, keep the activity to short relief walks instead of play sessions.

exercise large breed puppy

Different Types of Exercise for Large Breed Puppies

While walking and running are beneficial to puppies, there are plenty of other forms of exercise to keep your dog moving.

Always look for activities that help your pup engage and interact without causing stress or strain.

Playing with Toys

Virtually all puppies love to tug, tackle, and chew. Toys are an excellent stimulant for pups wanting to burn some energy while interacting.

It's also beneficial to show your dog a safe place to chew, perfect for those struggling with an oral fixation and painful gums from teething.

Puppies will have baby teeth that can be sharp but fragile. Most teeth will finish erupting and cutting through the gums by a month and a half of age, beginning to fall out by the time they're three months old.

Most puppies should have all their adult teeth at six months old but look for puppy-safe toys designed for teething until that time.

Fetch is an excellent game for dogs of all ages but pay attention to their interactions with the toy.

If you're throwing the item for them to retrieve and they'd rather lay down and chew on the object, the dog lets you know they might need a break.

For all puppies under six months old, games of fetch should last no longer than ten minutes at a time, with a maximum of twice a day.

Tug-of-war is another popular game for dog owners, a great physical outlet for those with extra energy.

Rather than pulling excessively on the toy, keep it held firmly in place and allow the pup to do the pulling. Be mindful of fragile puppy teeth, especially if they're becoming loose.

Obedience Training

Learning how to perform basic commands isn't considered a high-impact exercise, but it is a beautiful form of mental stimulation that dogs crave.

It also involves a bonding experience and activity to keep your dog engaged. Work on basic commands for ten minutes at a time, keeping the experience positive and engaging. Limit sessions to once or twice a day in different environments.

When first starting, keep the external environment low stress with minimal distractions. Eventually, build up the distraction within the environment to include parks, busy streets, and other pups.

Mixing low-impact activities in your dog's daily routine can increase their active time without crossing into a dog becoming overstimulated.

Exercise Combined with Mental Stimulation

Walking, playing fetch, and obedience training are all stimulating to the senses, but finding a combination of mental stimulation with physical outlets can engage your puppy differently.

Just as a toddler becomes overstimulated when exerting too much physical energy, puppies can act out when they become overtired. Unfortunately, many puppies will often act out when they're bored too.

Scent games are a fabulous way to get a dog moving while keeping them mentally focused. Use treats and toys that the pup loves and hide them around the house or backyard.

Let the puppy sniff out the location, giving them the option of roaming the area to discover their prize. Repeat the game a few times or throughout the day to keep their interest and wear them out simultaneously.

Plenty of toys are available to stimulate your puppy mentally. Often, these toys are made of hard rubber, with one or several holes you can fit treats into.

Give the toy to your dog and watch them solve the puzzle to retrieve the reward.

Exercise for Large Breed Puppies: How Much and How Often?

Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to this question. Different breeds will require different levels of exercise, even when looking at the large or giant breed categories.

Although most people believe that more activity is better, it is possible to overwork a puppy.

Consider how much your dog needs to sleep if you're trying to gauge activity levels. On average, puppies will sleep anywhere from 18 to 20 hours a day.

A giant breed will sleep more frequently than smaller breeds, so don't be alarmed if a mastiff is only up four to six hours a day.

A puppy should spend a small portion on exercise during those waking hours. For example, two walks of ten minutes and a game of fetch may keep a dog content.

Under six months of age, Puppies should have two or three high-impact sessions lasting approximately ten minutes each.

Always work in one or two bouts of mental stimulation during the day. These sessions should last ten to fifteen minutes, although a dog still actively using the toy with treats inside can happily continue beyond that time.

Remember that hiding your dog's favorite toys or bones can frustrate a puppy, so make sure they have time to retrieve the item and enjoy it.

As Your Large Breed Puppy Becomes Older

Extending playtime beyond the ten-minute interval for puppies older than six months is encouraged.

Many older puppies thrive with playtimes of thirty to forty-five minutes, especially as they turn a year old.

Learn to read your dog as a good indicator of play session lengths. If your dog is ready to sleep or lay down, let them have a pause before continuing your game.

Large Breed Puppies Zoomies Don't Always Mean Play

If it's time for bed and your puppy suddenly seems to be running through the house like a hurricane, it may seem like they want to play and engage.

Just like toddlers can become overwhelmed and throw temper tantrums, puppies interact the same way. There's a good chance that the hyperactivity is a sign of a pup needing their bed and long sleep.

Try getting your puppy calmed down and into bed; there's a good chance your dog will settle into their space and fall asleep immediately.

Activities to Avoid With Growing Puppies

While all dogs will need activity and exercise, growing large breed dogs are more susceptible to injury and health problems.

Try to avoid strenuous activities that put pressure or strain on the joints. While every dog is different, keeping these tips in mind can help keep your pup safe.

Running on Hard Surfaces

Repetitive impact on hard surfaces can jam a puppy's long bones, preventing proper joint development. Puppies often enjoy wrestling and zooming about, especially with other dogs.

Keep all play activities on softer surfaces like grass or carpet. Likewise, encourage natural movement, proper socialization, and interactive play instead of forcing a pup to run or walk long distances.


Avoid full-on disc play until the growth plates are confirmed. Frisbee involves lots of leaping, twisting, hard landings, and jumping.

These actions naturally occur in the wild but aren't commonly repetitive. If you'd like to introduce your puppy to frisbee, roll the disc along the grass for your puppy to chase.

Avoid the Treadmill

The treadmill defines repetitive activities, forcing a dog into a fixed gait or movements. Any forced exercise can strain growing joints or bones, offering nothing beneficial for growth and joint health.

A puppy should avoid the treadmill outside of gentle introduction to moving surfaces. If you're looking for suitable physical activity for your puppy, always opt for something natural instead of repetitive and mundane.

Ideal conditions include soft earth, grass, or other natural surfaces.

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