Do I have to keep my dog busy eight hours a day?

Especially for new dog owners, sometimes also for "old hands", the question arises: Do I actually have to "entertain" my dog the whole day or do I rather stress him? What is appropriate, what is too much or too little?

Two hours of activity per day is usually enough. One hour in the morning and one hour in the evening - and your dog is satisfied and balanced.

Is it that simple? Yes! And no. Not every dog and not every situation is the same. I'll give you more information on that in this article. But if you follow the golden rule, you're already pretty much right.

Australian kelpie

The Golden Rule: Two hours of employment per day is enough

Every dog is different. Depending on age and breed, each dog has different employment needs. As a rule of thumb, it can be said that dogs need on average about two hours of activity per day.
These two hours include everything that Variety into everyday life:

  • Walk
  • explore other environments
  • Games
  • Training sessions

Deviations from the Golden Rule

But wait a minute. Every dog is unique. And every situation. What exactly leads to the fact that sometimes two hours are enough, but sometimes not?

The individuality of your dog

Just like us humans, dogs have their own personality. Every dog has its own character, likes and dislikes. Some dogs are naturally very active and need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to be happy and balanced. Other dogs, on the other hand, tend to be quiet, laid-back types who prefer to lie comfortably on the sofa and be petted. So if your dog is a bundle of energy, he may need more than two hours of activity per day. On the other hand, if your dog is more calm and quiet, he might be happy with less than two hours of activity per day.

The age of your dog

Your dog's age has a big impact on how much exercise he needs. Puppies and young dogs are usually very active and need a lot of time to play and learn. They have a natural urge to discover and explore their world. Older dogs, on the other hand, are often less active and prefer quieter activities. They still need activity and stimulation, but not as intense. A puppy or young dog may therefore need more than two hours of activity per day, while an older dog can probably get by with less.

The breed of your dog

Your dog's breed can also have a big impact on how much exercise he needs. Some breeds, like the Border Collie or Australian Shepherd, are known for being very active and full of energy. They were originally bred for tasks that require a lot of energy and stamina, and often maintain that energy level in the home environment. Other breeds, such as the Basset Hound or Bulldog, tend to be less active. It is important to learn about the specific needs and characteristics of your dog's breed to understand how much activity he actually needs.

If you are looking for a rather calm and easy to care for dog, then visit our article about dog breeds for seniorsOpens in a new tab.. There you will find pictures and information about 35 dog breeds that might be a good fit for you.

The health of your dog

Finally, your dog's health status plays an important role in determining his exercise needs. A dog with health problems such as joint pain or heart problems may need less exercise. In such cases, mental stimulation, such as puzzles or tricks, can be a good way to keep your dog busy without putting a strain on his body. On the other hand, a healthy dog with lots of energy and stamina may need more than two hours of physical activity per day. It is always important to consider your dog's health condition.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Why do dogs sleep more than humans?

Sleep is not only important for us humans. Our four-legged friends also need sleep to stay healthy and fit. But dogs sleep very differently than we do. While we humans usually sleep once a day for several hours, dogs spread their sleep over the whole day. A nap here, a nap there - that's a dog's normal sleep pattern.

Why dogs need up to 18 hours of sleep

Now you are probably wondering why dogs need so much sleep. The answer is simple: dogs are not humans. They have different needs and different physical requirements. In fact, a dog can sleep 15, 16 or even 18 hours a day. Several factors come into play, such as the dog's age, breed and health status. Puppies and older dogs tend to sleep more, while adult dogs often need less sleep.

The benefits of adequate sleep for your dog

Getting enough sleep has many benefits for your dog. It helps boost the immune system, supports growth and healing, and can even help improve your dog's behavior. A well-rested dog is a happy dog! When your dog gets enough sleep, he's more active and alert during the day and better able to focus on training.

Comparison of the sleep requirements of humans and dogs

Dogs need significantly more sleep than humans. While we humans usually get by on seven to nine hours of sleep a night, dogs often need double that or more. On the one hand, this is because dogs distribute their sleep in shorter phases throughout the day. For another, dogs often sleep less deeply than humans. Therefore, they need more sleep phases to recover sufficiently.

Quality instead of quantity

Why the quality of employment is more important than the quantity

Not only is the amount of time you spend with your dog important, but also the quality of that time. Quality means that you and your dog are doing something together that you both enjoy and that challenges your dog mentally and physically. It's not about keeping your dog busy for hours on end, it's about using that time wisely.

Different types of employment and their advantages

There are many different types of activities you can do with your dog. Walks are a great way to get your dog exercise and fresh air. Exercise sessions can help your dog learn new skills and keep his brain busy. Playtime is important for bonding and can help your dog act out his natural instincts in a positive way. Each of these activities has its own benefits and helps meet your dog's needs.

Adaptation of activities to the individual needs of your dog

Matching activities to your dog's individual needs and preferences is essential to a successful and happy relationship between you and your dog. Remember that not all dogs like the same activities and that dogs, just like people, have different personalities and preferences. While some dogs have an almost inexhaustible energy and like to chase balls or go for long walks, other dogs prefer more quiet activities. They may like sniffing games or quiet time with chew toys.

Whatever activities you choose, the important thing is that they are fun for your dog and meet his natural instincts and needs. Pay attention to how your dog responds to the different activities and adjust your choices accordingly. Ultimately, keeping your dog busy is about promoting his well-being and strengthening your bond with him.

Where can you tell if your dog has enough activity and rest

How can you tell if your dog is getting enough activity and rest? There are some signs you can look out for. A well-adjusted dog is usually calm and content when he is at home. He doesn't exhibit destructive behavior and doesn't seem overly nervous or restless. On the other hand, a dog that is constantly barking, destroying things, or exhibiting other behavioral problems probably needs more activity. And don't forget to make sure there is adequate rest time.

A tired dog is a happy dog!

Common mistakes and misunderstandings

The misunderstanding 'more is better

It is a common misconception that "more is better" when it comes to keeping a dog busy. Many dog owners believe that they need to keep their dog constantly busy to keep him happy and healthy. The truth is, however, that quality is more important than quantity. Constant occupation is not necessary (and often even harmful). What your dog really needs are meaningful, stimulating activities and sufficient rest periods.

Too little rest for dogs

Over-occupation can be just as problematic for dogs as under-occupation. Dogs that are constantly busy and lack adequate rest can become stressed and overtired. This can lead to health problems, behavioral problems, and an overall decline in well-being. So make sure your dog gets enough rest and sleep - he needs it!

How to avoid it?

To avoid these mistakes and improve your dog's quality of life, there are some simple strategies you can use.

  • First, you should pay attention to your dog's signals. If he looks tired or withdraws, he probably needs a break.
  • Second, provide a variety of activities that stimulate both your dog's body and mind.
  • And third, don't forget the importance of quality time and bonding. Spend time with your dog that you both enjoy - whether it's playing, training, or just cuddling on the couch.

Your dog will thank you!

FUN FACT: Dogs have about 300 million olfactory cells. We humans have only about 5 to 6 million.
No wonder dogs can perceive smells so much more intensively than we can.


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