The Canine Good Behaviour-Exercise Correlation

Brace yourself. I made you something, valued reader.

I think charts and graphs are a fun way to share information.  Perhaps I have too much time on my hands.  Perhaps I need a break from the xkcd.  Whatever the case, I made you one anyway.

The inspiration for the dazzling visualization below stems from a discussion in the comments of this post by fellow blogger, The Dog Park, of whom I am a fan.  Although, admittedly my glorious Paint creation comes nowhere near the beauty of some recent graphs and charts done by According to Gus.  But I’m okay with that.

The information is simple: based on personal experience and an abundance of anecdotal evidence from others, the graph illustrates how a properly exercised dog results in a well-behaved dog.  No exceptions.

A dog who is walked regularly is less likely to engage in destructive behaviours at home, and is more likely to pay attention to you while you work on training, whether it be obedience, agility or what have you. 

Though, do note the sharp drop-off at the end.  Yes, you can over-exercise your dog.  A dehydrated, exhausted dog is not going to be interesting in sitting or coming to you any more than a dog with a severe case of cabin fever.  After a long hike on a hot day, it’s not uncommon for Moses to lay down and do no more than raise a “make me” eyebrow to any requests made of him.

The moral of the story: Walk your dog.  It will be good for both of you.

You’re welcome.

About ThatJenK
Writing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 90% pictures of my dogs; 10% miscellaneous opinions nobody asked for.

16 Responses to The Canine Good Behaviour-Exercise Correlation

  1. LOL. I just got an email from WP saying I received a Pingback. You are so funny. Of course, I LOVE your graph.

    I couldn’t agree more with this post. We must have been on the same wave length today as I started writing a post very similar to this. In our house, a tired dog = a happy dog. Gus is walked at least 3 times per day and loves it. We receive compliments often on his behavior and we always credit his daily walks and the brain games we play with him.

    And you’re so right on the too-tired portion as well. If Gus hasn’t gotten the rest he needs in between time, he turns into Mr. Cranky Pants!

    Happy Friday!!

    • thatjenk says:

      Haha. I didn’t think I could proceed with a graph without a shout out to your much more good looking ones!

      Happy Friday! And Happy Long Weekend, if you get one!

  2. How can I disagree when you reference such stellar support documents?

    I’m going to walk Our Best Friend every day! Starting Sunday…. 😉

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  5. Rafael C. says:

    Excellent work!
    Count me in!
    We call it Excercise, but for the dog is something less mundane, is the time to explore, to follow, to bond.
    Independent of what you believe about the dogs, if they are pack animals or not, is what most dogs need to change many of the misbehaviours, and it is so many times neglected in dog training!

    Good reminder, Thank you!

  6. Kristine says:

    Love it! Now this is a chart that doesn’t fry my brain. If I didn’t walk my dog as much as I did, she wouldn’t be the awesome companion she is today. Walking and learning and growing all go hand in hand. Without it, I may have given up on her a long time ago. Perish the thought!

  7. Jodi Stone says:

    Do you have any thoughts on recalls. I have a wanderer and it irritates me to no end that she ignores me when I call her.

    • thatjenk says:

      Not to toot my own horn, but our strategy with Moses worked wonders, and I would confidently estimate his recall at 98% successful. But it takes a long time. Say… a 6 months to a year of slow build up. Though, that’s really a small fraction of time if your dog has an expected life span of 10+ years (10 is long for Newfs, but 15+ years is average for many breeds). And now we could call him to us in the middle of a dog park and he would come.

      To sum it up: small steps, lots of repetition, and lots of positive reinforcement.

      Start close in every environment imaginable, and once that is perfect, build up distance slowly. Long-lines can be helpful to bring the dog in if they are distracted – then always coming to you is reinforced (ensuring the repetition). And just make sure coming to you is always the best thing ever – praise, play, treats, whatever your currency of choice.

      And introducing games like Hide-and-Seek are a fun way to reinforce recall and keep it light.

      Of course, it’s always helpful to have a solid stay command, so you can build up distance as you practice recall.

      This random website Google turned up has some decent advice and basically reiterates what I said above. (read: No vouching for the website’s contents beyond this article.)

    • thatjenk says:

      Oh this website also has good tips:

      One thing I don’t think is emphasized enough in the advice, however, is PATIENCE and a very, very slow build up. I mean, recall should be 100% at 5 feet away before you can expect it to be perfect at 10, 50, or 100 feet. Same goes for level of distraction in the environment. Knowing your dog and their triggers is helpful (other dogs, food, people, squirrels, cars, skateboards, etc.).

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