How much exercise does a labrador need?
Labrador is one of the most popular family dogs. However, before you get a Labrador into your house, you should read up on the breed and know how much exercise a Labrador needs.
The Labrador is a hunting dog whose task was to bring the hunted prey to the hunter. Therefore, it is actually called Labrador Retriever. The fact that the Labrador spent the whole day with the hunter outside in nature and “worked” together with him already indicates that he needs much more exercise than the average. A Labrador needs at least 2 hours of exercise a day – in any weather.
This is how much exercise a Labrador needs
The Labrador is a hunting dog. However, he did not actively hunt himself, but retrieved the shot birds to the hunter in the wet marshy moorlands of England.
This is also the reason why a Labrador wants to jump into any mud hole and go out in any weather. This has been his job for years. A Labrador can swim even in winter.
Due to the fact that the Labrador has been working outside in nature with his owner for hours every day, he needs more exercise than the average.
At least 2 hours of exercise every day should be provided to your Labrador. Otherwise, you will not be meeting the natural needs of this great breed.
It is important to understand that a dog does not go for a walk. It’s not about walking your dog on a leash for 2 or more hours. It’s about exercising your dog.
2 hours of quality walking is much better than 4 hours of boring walking on the sidewalk. It is enough to walk only 1 hour a day if you don’t have time. But try to make this hour interesting for your dog.
How often do I have to walk a Labrador?
As a rule of thumb, you can say that the Labrador needs 3 walks a day. If you start from the 2 hours, you could divide them to 30 minutes in the morning, 60 minutes at noon and 30 minutes in the evening.
Of course, this is not set in stone. If you notice your Labrador is balanced and happy with 2 x 1 hrs a day that is also perfect.
And if you are sick or have no time for other reasons, it can also be just a short walk.
It is important that you challenge your Labrador enough in the long run. If one or 2 days a month are a bit shorter, he will not tear your apartment apart.
Make your walk varied
When walking, it is not about going for a walk with the stopwatch so that your dog comes to his minutes or simply tear off 6 kilometers. He wants and needs to be challenged.
The Labrador was bred to work with the hunter. Keep him busy in a manner appropriate to his species. He was bred to retrieve. Incorporate this activity into your daily training and get for example a fetch dummy.
Fill it with treats and let your Labrador search for it and bring it back.
This is more stressful for him than running in one direction for 30 minutes, turning around and going back.
If you have a forest nearby, go cross-country sometimes. Find paths where your dog has to make an effort, for example, because he has to cross a tree trunk.
You can use this for training at the same time. Let him sit on the trunk, balance over it, etc… There are no limits to your creativity how you can keep your dog busy.
Even if you like to walk and relax, enjoy the fresh air and it is fulfilling for you. Dogs are like children. They have little desire for it. It’s too boring for them and doesn’t keep them busy in the long run.
Even our kids prefer to run through the woods off the trails and have to climb over logs or up mountains. That’s exactly what you should offer a dog. Of course, it doesn’t have to be every day, but on weekends, for example, when you have more time, go somewhere and have fun in nature.
On the classic walk to make pee, you can also just throw a handful of treats in the leaves or on the meadow. Then let your Labrador sniff them.
It’s that easy to make a walk more interesting. Just don’t overdo the treats or calculate them into your Labrador’s daily needs. Because Labradors eat a lot or would eat anything they get. So you should know how much a Labrador eats and subtract the treats from your daily schedule.
Can you run with a Labrador
Besides going for a walk, you can also go running with your Labrador. This is, of course, a greater workout from a purely physical point of view than regular walking.
The advantage of running with your Labrador is that on the one hand you exercise your dog, on the other hand you do sports and stay fit and healthy and you keep your Labrador slim.
If you don’t like running, you can also let him run alongside your bike.
However, you have to remember that a dog needs to be challenged not only physically, but also mentally. So jogging and cycling alone are not enough.
How much exercise does a Labrador puppy need?
First of all, I must mention that besides daily activity in the form of walks and head work, rest is just as important a point.
You have to teach your puppy from the beginning that he also has to lie quietly on his blanket or in his dog bed without anything happening.
Many puppies are raised to be work animals from the beginning. In the beginning, this may still be cute and okay. But at the latest, when your dog is 1 year old and he is used to work, the shot can backfire. So don’t overload from the beginning.
As a rule of thumb, a Labrador puppy needs, or rather can handle, 5 minutes of walking or exercise in general per month of life. This means that you can walk or exercise your 3-month-old puppy for about 15 minutes at a time.
This rule of thumb applies to all breeds, of course.
It’s not that your Labrador puppy can only walk for 5 minutes a month at a time. It’s more about the impressions and the length of time he can be focused.
You are, after all, starting him on training like leash walking or teaching him other things from the beginning.
After a certain time, you will notice that your puppy can no longer concentrate and is overwhelmed. But this can be the case with one after 3 minutes and with the other after 10.
I remember the first time we trained leash walking with our Broholmer with our dog trainer.
She must have been about 6 or 7 months old at that time. It was enough that our trainer ran with her 4-6 times up and down the street (about 100 meters) and corrected her accordingly.
After that, she was completely exhausted.
We did not know what to do and how to do it until that time. The training of e.g. leash leadership or also the training of basic commands stresses dogs immensely from the head.
Conclusion: How much exercise does a Labrador need?
A Labrador needs 2 hours of activity in the form of physical and mental exercise as a basic requirement. With this you have a good starting position and will notice if your Labrador needs more activity or if he is satisfied.
Most dogs become behaviorally challenged when they do not have enough activity over a long period of time.
If you are not sure that you can offer this time, in all weather conditions, you should not get a Labrador.
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