How do you call when the dog has ran enough/ done enough exercise?
My girl was just out for a great run and then some kids came along playing and she was running a race after the ball for a long time with them.
She takes a rest when she needs to (crazy working line 1.5 yr old) and then go's again....
Is it good enough to let her decide when "she has used up her energy"; or does she know how to keep herself balanced for general health when exercising?
I usually have a pretty set routine. GSD's can pretty much go forever if they want, so it's hard to wait for a point where they decide they are tired. Plus, purely physical exercise will not be enough by itself to tire your dog out in a balanced manner, it needs to be interspersed with training.
For example, my dog normally has a one mile walk in the morning and a two mile walk in the evening. Each walk is followed by a training session, and at least a couple times throughout the day we play fetch or tug with training mixed in. On days when I'm free, we'll do a lot more because I have time - usually an 8-10 mile hike. But we still use that time to practice trail manners, obedience, and recall.
More energetic dogs may need a bit more, but it's a myth that you have to walk a GSD 20 miles a day to keep them exercised. In fact, if that is the only stimulation they are getting it could even be frustrating because they are getting a lopsided workout. Again, you need to work the body and brain to get a truly tired GSD. Plus, you don't want to have her constantly dictating how much is enough time walking or playing with you. As long as you are providing adequate time for exercise and training, your dog needs to learn to be able to settle between opportunities for physical and mental stimulation. Oftentimes, mine will get a walk then a training session, then a food toy like a Kong to help get him into the routine of physical then mental exercise (or both in the case of tug or fetch!) followed by settling in the house.
Personally I would base that off what she is accustomed to getting and tailor it off that.. until you are positive she's learned to control herself, or when you can tell when she has had enough. I just want to share this story, not to scare you, but just to make you aware of what not gaging or knowing the limits can do....
L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Duck and Potato Treat Roll - Natural Balance Pet Foods&
This was when I really really started to gage his play and exercise. Now.. Titan tells me when enough is enough. He will continue to go go go, he's a WL also, so it's in him to never quit if I ask him to keep going, BUT it's up to me to recognize that. When he starts to not drop his ball, or lays down with it, or doesn't bound right back when he gets it... it's that time to say "let's go inside" Most of the time, if I'm off with my reading, he will look at me like "are you nuts? I was jsut catchign my breath!" but I'm usually dead on and he will bolt into the house and lay down to drink water.
Just learn to read your dog. You know when enough is enough.. you may have to MAKE breaks for her.. especially if she is a go go go type dog.
I base it on recovery time. Some dogs don't know when to quit. Here in the south heat stroke is a serious concern.
No idea why that Natural balance link posted.. lol sorry.. here's the story..
Tongue, Frothing, Lassitude, Panting, Taking Breaks
In Texas we really have to be careful because six months of the year it's deadly hot here for black and tans like my Zeus.
It's easy to tell when he's getting too hot on a walk (the sun makes his back almost too hot to touch). He becomes lethargic, seems distracted, has his head down and ears back and almost needs to be dragged along with the leash. It's this change in his attitude on the walk that keys me to give him a break.
I always carry water for him. But I'm careful to not let him drink too much during each break.
When playing fetch it's tongue and the frothing at the mount that I watch for. When he's played out his tongue will hang almost to his knees and there will be pronounced frothing at the corners of his mouth.
I'm lucky, in that during play he'll sense he's had enough and take a break in the shade to recover his breath. If he's no where near water he doesn't recover enough to play but for a few more minutes before it's clear that we need to call it a day.
But if he has access to puddles or ponds or streams he'll dive right in and wet his feet, legs and belly too. If he has access to one of these
Rubbermaid 4243 50 U.S. gallon Capacity Stock Watering Tank @ Rubbermaid For Less
He rapidly recovers and can play much longer. But I still limit his play to what's reasonable.
BTW, I bought one of the stock tanks in the link above on Sunday to replace our series of plastic pools that Zeus plays with for a week and then chews up. No way he's gonna chew that one up.
And, it's small enough and sturdy enough that I can just tip it over with two hands to drain it when it gets dirty. I used to have to bail the plastic pools out until there was just a little water in them and then tip them, or, they'd bend and split due to the pressure.
I can't recommend them enough.
BTW, I paid only $59 for mine at Tractor Supply here in Texas. I'm sure most retailers of farm and ranch equipment offer them for the less than the rubbermaid add cites above ($129).
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