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How Much Exercise do Australian Cattle Dogs Need?

After adopting two Australian cattle dogs, I wanted to make sure that I would be able to care for them properly. I was especially concerned about the amount of exercise that Cattle Dogs would require.

Australian Cattle Dogs were bred to be very active and often require at least two hours of exercise each day. Daily exercise not only ensures that they stay healthy but creates a productive way to release excess energy.  

Frisbee catch is my male ACD’s, Banjo, favorite activity

If you’re planning on adopting an Australian Cattle Dog, also known as Heelers, you’ll need to make sure that they get plenty of physical stimulation. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re using the right exercise techniques. Let’s take a closer look at Cattle Dog’s exercise needs.

How Much Exercise is Right for Cattle Dogs?

The level of exercise required will depend on what stage of their life the Cattle Dog is in. Puppies will need around 10-30 minutes, depending on how old they are. Adults will need between one to two hours each day. Senior dogs will require just enough exercise to keep them fit and healthy. 

Australian Cattle Dogs tend to have one of the highest energy levels of all dog breeds. However, when asking how much exercise Cattle Dogs need, it’s important to start with the dog’s age. Throughout their lives, Cattle Dogs will need different types of activities Puppies for example will need short periods of exercise several times daily with frequent rests. Young adult Cattle Dogs will need longer and more challenging exercise sessions.

How Much Exercise do Cattle Dog Puppies Need?

Cattle dog puppy exercise is critical for physical and mental development. It ensures that the Cattle Dog will grow up to be strong and healthy. The amount of exercise required will depend on how old they are. At each month of age, you’ll need to add about five minutes of activity. 

Cattle Dog puppies require less exercise. Their bones are still developing. Because of this, you don’t want to exercise them too much. If you do, you risk affecting their development. If you want to take them for a walk, it’s best to keep it brief. It often won’t take long for them to get tired. Because of this, you’ll often just need a five-minute walk, twice a day. 

As they grow older, you’ll be able to increase the amount of exercise they receive. It’s recommended that each month you add an extra five minutes of walk time. For example, a two-month-old pup would need to get ten minutes, a three-month-old would need 15 minutes. It’s also important to take note of the way the dog is walking. If they are lagging or panting, it might be a sign that the walk is too long. 

How Much Exercise Does an Adult Cattle Dog Need?

When they are fully grown adult cattle dogs will have a lot of energy. Because of this, they’ll often need one to two hours of exercise each day. 

In adulthood, the Australian cattle dog activity level is impressive. It can seem like they have boundless energy. To keep them mentally and physically healthy, you’ll need to take them for long walks. It’s often recommended that you deliver between one to two hours of walking or hiking each day. ACDs love of hiking is detailed in a recent post on how Australian Cattle Dogs Like to Hike.

Again, the exercise requirements should be tailored to suit your dog. For example, if they are out of shape, you might need to build up to a longer walk. By the end of the walk, they should be tired out. The individual dog’s breed history can also change the amount of exercise needed. For example, a blue heeler energy level and a red heeler energy level might be different.

How Much Exercise Does an Older Cattle Dog Need?

As dogs start to get older, they no longer need a rigorous exercise routine. Often, you’ll be able to cut walk time back to an hour or 30 minutes. You’ll need to provide enough exercise to keep their muscles strong and prevent them from becoming overweight. 

Senior Cattle Dogs no longer need to go on strenuous walks each day. You’ll want to reduce the amount of exercise based on the dog. Often, 30 minutes to an hour of daily activity will be enough exercise to tire out your Cattle Dog and keep them healthy.  

Also, when you are exercising an older dog, you want to look for signs of potential health problems. For example, they might experience some discomfort or pain towards the end of the session. This may indicate that they have arthritis or possible injury.

What is the Best Exercise for a Cattle Dog?

There are a few ways to meet Cattle Dog’s exercise needs. First, you can take them for long walks. Other ways to incorporate exercise can be with vigorous play or structured training. They love games like fetch and frisbee catch. You can also build physical strength by playing an indoor friendly tug-a-war. 

To meet cattle dog exercise requirements can often take a lot of effort from owners. Because of this, these dogs will be best with people who have a healthy lifestyle. The best way to burn off a Heeler’s high energy is by going on a long walk. Instead of one long walk, you can try two 45-minute daily walks.

There is a range of other Australian Cattle Dog exercise techniques you can try. For example, you might want to try playing Frisbee catch or use a Chuckit ball launcher for a good long-distance challenge. You might also want to play games that engage the Cattle Dog’s herding instinct, like Jolly ball or treibball. These are perfect games for a big backyard.

No yard? No worries. Indoor games like tug-a-war, treat toys, brain puzzles, or hide and seek are some great options. There are more examples of exercises in my post, How to Keep an Australian Cattle Dog Busy.

What is the Best Cattle Dog Puppy Exercise?

Australian Cattle Dog puppy exercise primarily consists of playing with toys. This is less intensive than going for a walk. It can also be a good idea to socialize them with other dogs, to help them burn of some their energy. 

Though Cattle Dog puppies might have a lot of energy, you don’t want to give them too much exercise. Over-exerting a puppy can risk damaging their bones, impacting their growth. Instead, you should focus on play with toys like brain puzzles or chew bones. This will ensure that they get plenty of mental stimulation and some rest between more strenuous activities.

Another good Heeler puppy exercise tip is to get them used to socializing with other dogs. This will burn a lot of energy. It will also ensure that you don’t have any aggression issues as they grow up.

What are the Best Exercises for Apartment Dwelling Cattle Dogs?

If staying in a small, confined space like an apartment, a Cattle Dog will need a lot of physical and mental stimulation. It’s best to take them to the dog park regularly. As mentioned above, you’ll also want to take them on frequent walks. 

A Heeler’s seemingly limitless energy can be challenging for apartment living. Often, they will do best when they have a big backyard that they can run around in. If you want to keep them in an apartment, there are a few things that you’ll need to do.

First, you’ll need to take them on long walks. This will burn off energy. Try to vary the route, this will ensure that they will be getting mental stimulation. It’s also a good idea to take them to the dog park several times a week. This will give them plenty of space to run around and much-needed socialization skills.

Can I Exercise a Cattle Dog Indoors?

There are a few ways to exercise a Cattle Dog indoors. First, you might want to try tug-a-war. This will build strength. You can also try making your dog jump to retrieve a bone. Another great technique is to have them run up and down the stairs. There are some Heelers trained to walk on treadmills, at a very slow and safe speed of course.

If you’re living in an apartment, you’ll need to find techniques to burn off some Heeler energy. This will ensure that they don’t get disruptive and start to chew your furniture. Any of the indoor games mentioned above will help to keep your Cattle Dog physically strong and will help you grow your bond. 

It’s also a good idea to train your adult dog to jump and catch a toy. It’s best to wait until the dog is at least a year old before you do this. If you have a staircase in the building, you can play fetch up and down the stairs. These exercises tend to tire them out very quickly. 

Final Thoughts

So, do Australian Cattle Dogs need a lot of exercise? Yes, when they are adults they need around two hours of activity a day. They’ll also want to play with their toys, try out mental puzzles, and run around in the dog park or backyard. Because of a Heeler’s high energy, it can be a lot of effort to keep them fit and mentally healthy. But, if you do this, the Cattle Dog will prove to be a healthy, happy, and loyal friend.

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