Is your dog under-exercised?


I had a wisdom tooth removed last week so Mr. N didn’t get nearly as much physical or mental or social stimulation as he normally does. Mr. N was still walked every day for short intervals but that does almost nothing for him.

Mr. N says you better exercise him or else! 

The ASPCA states that under-exercised dogs can exhibit behaviors such as: 

  • Destructive chewing, digging or scratching
  • Investigative behaviors, like garbage raiding
  • Hyperactivity, excitability and night-time activity
  • Unruliness, knocking over furniture and jumping up on people
  • Excessive predatory and social play
  • Play biting and rough play
  • Attention-getting behaviors like barking and whining

I think under-exercised dogs amplify their problem behaviors. Mr. N has never been destructive at all and he has shown himself to have excellent bite inhibition so even when he was overflowing with energy, those behaviors didn’t manifest.

But he can be hyperactive, and over-excited and reactive and all of those traits showed up in full during his week of inactivity. He was hyper-alert and sprang up every time he thought I might be moving from a stationary position. He would run around with a toy in his mouth at midnight. And he was extra reactive, barking at everything and everyone.

We’re going for a long walk with Sage today and the dogs will have some off-leash time so I’m hoping he’ll burn off some of that energy. And next week, Mr. N will be starting his new job so that should provide mental fodder!

What is your dog like when under-exercised?




17 Responses

  1. Emma

    August 29, 2014 11:06 am

    We usually get get plenty of exercise, and often times a couple days of laziness is something we enjoy. Bailie who is only one tends to get real antsy and looks for trouble if she has more than a day or so off, but mental exercises can help with that.

  2. SlimDoggy

    August 29, 2014 12:26 pm

    Jack gets antsy – I can just tell when he needs a walk, he paces and paces and tries to burn it off himself. Good topic to cover on the Hop. Thanks.

  3. sagechronicles

    August 29, 2014 12:51 pm

    Sage got lots of mental stimulation earlier this week–trying to figure out where that little Popstar will be next. A 3-year old is good at keeping her alert and ready. But, Sage can't wait for our walk today! Physical exercise definitely keeps her from getting into mischief.

  4. To Dog With Love

    August 29, 2014 1:47 pm

    Rocco is just like Mr. N! I think he's a great dog because I started him off on the right paw from the moment he came home. Havanese, in general, need LOTS of stimulation, and this time I knew what to expect! Have a great weekend!

  5. Kaitlin Jenkins

    August 29, 2014 3:26 pm

    Bear doesn't ever seem to have an excess of energy anymore, because being an old man is hard work! But Scooter turns into a little show off- he'll get the zoomies, race up and down the hall, or prance around growling with a toy trying to get someone to play fetch- dogs are so funny!

    Woofs & Wags- Bear & Scooter of SheSpeaksBark

  6. Beth

    August 30, 2014 2:30 am

    Oh I feel your pain! Barley is usually ok with a day off every now and then (especially if I get a book or papers to grade and snuggle up in bed with her–she's naughtier when she's not snuggled up with me!), but over the winter I was not sure we would both survive! Like Mr. N, she was up every time I even shifted positions a tiny bit and she was into everything–the cat food, my school stuff, shopping bags, and her toys were always all over the place! It was exhausting. Glad that you are able to go adventuring with Sage again! Hope Mr. N has settled down!

  7. Janet Keefe

    August 30, 2014 12:16 pm

    There are times I don't think Luke could ever get enough exercise! But at 10 months old it's not surprising. he is very fidgety and goes from one thing to the next, won't lie still just like you said with Mr. N. I bet you all enjoyed getting back out there with Sage!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  8. Rochelle

    January 27, 2017 8:11 pm

    Henry tends to be a napper, so the main way he shows that he might be under exercised is his reactivity. We used to go on daily runs, and it didn't help much. Can't wait until we move somewhere more peaceful for his sake 😉

  9. M Dawson

    January 29, 2017 7:10 pm

    I know Mr N is a lively dog, I can't imagine NOT taking a 'busy' and active dog for walks and keeping them occupied – you are storing up a heap of trouble!!

    I hope Mr N enjoyed his long walk and got worn out 😉

  10. Beth Patterson

    January 30, 2017 1:45 am

    I think our dogs bark more when they are under exercised. Although last weekend my sons took Theo on a really long walk, he came home and was more mischievious than usual.

  11. FidoseofReality

    January 30, 2017 2:07 am

    We are very diligent about exercising our dog mentally and physically. I take breaks, we do different games, go to the park, and even board games and hide and seek. Such an important topic and I am glad you blogged it!

  12. Robin Mudge

    January 30, 2017 2:10 am

    I'm sure that Mr. N was concerned about you too. It has to be stressful when the human you have your strongest bond with is not behaving in their usual manner. I hope that you are feeling better this week and that he gets all of the attention and exercise he needs. Luckily, my kitties are good at entertaining themselves when I'm out of sorts. Then again, cats sleep an average of 12-15 hours a day, so staying busy isn't as tough for them. LOL
    -Purrs from your friends at


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