One of the biggest commitments of dog parenting is making sure your pooch gets enough exercise. Exercise needs differ from dog to dog—while some do fine with a couple of short walks every day, others need a lot more than this.
The Weimaraner, for example, is an exuberant and highly energetic dog that typically needs a minimum of 2 hours of exercise per day, and you can provide this in various ways. Read on to find out more.
The Weimaraner’s Exercise Needs Explained
To better understand the Weimaraner’s high exercise requirements, we need to dive a little bit into the breed’s history. In the early 19th century, the Weimaraner was first bred and developed as a hunting dog. They were originally used by aristocrats and noblemen to hunt animals like bears, deer, boars, and even mountain lions.
As you can imagine, only a fearless and tireless canine would be up to this kind of challenge, so the Weimaraner was specifically developed to have these traits in order to be an effective hunter. Today’s Weimaraner is often a much-loved, affectionate, and people-oriented family dog, but these dogs have also inherited the high energy levels and sharp minds of their ancestors.
For this reason, Weimaraners need, according to PDSA guidelines, about 2 hours of physical exercise per day at a minimum, but mental stimulation is just as important for these buoyant and clever dogs.
How Can I Exercise My Weimaraner?
In general, healthy adult Weimaraners will appreciate at least two long walks every day, perhaps one in the morning and one in the evening, and, ideally, in a location where they will be able to safely and freely run, roam, and explore, like a dog park.
In addition to long daily walks, you can use your Weimaraner’s high mental stimulation needs as inspiration for coming up with varied physical activities they can enjoy. You can play with them with a variety of toys, including tug-of-war toys and balls they can chase and fetch.
Weimaraners often love to swim and play with water, though not always. If your Weimaraner does like the water, be sure to kit them out with a canine lifejacket to keep them safe, even if they’re a strong swimmer. Another idea is to make your Weimaraner your jogging, skating, cycling, or hiking buddy.
Another great way to exercise your Weimaraner is to blend daily training sessions with exercise time. For example, you could do some basic obedience exercises like getting your Weimaraner to fetch something or practicing recall, or take things a step further and do some agility work or scent work. Scent work basically involves getting your dog to use their sense of smell (their most powerful sense) to locate something.
A word of caution when it comes to exercise—be careful not to overexercise Weimaraner puppies, as this might injure their growing joints and bones. Likewise, if your Weimaraner has a medical condition or is a senior, their exercise needs might be lower than that of a healthy adult.
Even if your Weimaraner is healthy and active, pay attention to their body language and how quickly they tire out. By doing this, you’ll know when your Weimaraner has had enough and is ready to head home for a nap.
What Happens if a Weimaraner Isn’t Exercised Enough?
It’s crucial to make sure your Weimaraner gets enough exercise because the consequences can be pretty unpleasant (to say the least) if you don’t. Dogs that aren’t mentally or physically exercised enough are more likely to become stressed and destructive.
Destructive behaviors include chewing furniture or objects around your home, general hyperactivity in a “bouncing off the walls” sense, pacing, excessive vocalizing or attention-seeking, and going to the bathroom in the house instead of outside.
Failing to adequately exercise a dog can lead to serious health consequences. Obesity, which is caused by various factors including a lack of exercise, puts dogs at risk of a shorter life span and conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Is a Weimaraner Right for Me?
Weimaraners are truly lovely dogs and, when properly socialized, make wonderful companions for everyone in the family, whatever their age. However, high-energy dogs aren’t for everybody. If you’re someone who prefers life in the slow lane, a Weimaraner isn’t likely to be a good fit for you, and you might be better off with a dog with less intense exercise needs.
People who love spending time outdoors and engaging in a variety of physical pursuits are much more likely to get along well with a Weimaraner. Loving the outdoors isn’t a cast-iron requirement, though. If you can set aside your dislike of long, muddy forest walks for the sake of your Weimaraner, there’s no reason you wouldn’t make a great Weimaraner parent!
In addition, you’ll also need to be very dedicated to training and socializing the Weimaraner from an early age. While it’s great that Weimaraners are so intelligent, this can be a recipe for disaster if they’re paired with someone who has a lax approach to training and that doesn’t teach good canine manners, especially given the size of these dogs. If you’re a loving but firm and consistent dog owner, however, this could be a match made in heaven.
To recap, the short answer to the question of how much exercise a Weimaraner needs is—a lot. However, this refers largely to healthy adult Weimaraners. Like any dog, the Weimaraner’s exercise needs can vary depending on their health status and age. Moreover, some dogs are just a bit more laid-back than others, so personality is another factor to consider.
Pay special attention to puppies, seniors, and dogs with medical conditions, as these factors affect how much exercise is appropriate. If you’re not sure how much exercise would be the right amount for your Weimaraner, please speak to your vet for advice.
Featured Image Credit: Dr. Georg Wietschorke, Pixabay