How Often Do You Walk Your Dog? 5 Factors to Consider

Published April 19, 2021
Dog walker in the park

Dogs require regular, daily exercise, and how often you walk your best friend changes throughout his life. Two walks a day prevents him from boredom and destructive behavior. Daily walks apply to every dog breed, but some are more active than others and may need longer walks or even a hike. For example, dogs bred for hunting need longer walks than a Yorkshire terrier.

How Often Do You Walk Your Dog?

The general rule of thumb is two walks a day. One walk in the morning and the other in the late afternoon or evening after meals is the best time to walk your dog. A third, short walk around lunchtime allows your dog to stretch his legs if you can fit it in. If your schedule is too busy in the afternoon, it may make sense to hire a dog walker or ask a neighbor to make sure your best friend can relieve himself and enjoy some new smells. Every breed and dogs of all sizes need regular daily walks.

How Often Do You Walk Your Dog? Infographic


Dogs bred for working and hunting may need more exercise than some dogs in the terrier group. Pet owners that live with companion dogs like the dalmatian need to walk this breed for one hour each day as this is an active breed known as a "fire-house dog" in the early 19th century. Each breed category includes a diverse group of dogs, but they share similar characteristics.

Working Dogs

These dogs have jobs! Working dogs guard livestock or assist in police work. These breeds need an hour or more of daily exercise combined with an additional dog sport activity like herding or agility.

Sight Hounds

Sight hounds follow their prey with keen eyesight. With that in mind, these hounds must be on a leash and need a minimum of two regular walks a day.

Scent Hounds

These hounds hunt in packs and pick up a trail, even if it is days old. An hour of exercise is appropriate and needs to include a sniff walk.


Terriers are independent and always ready to stand their ground. Whether your terrier breed is a hunter or watchdog, pet parents need to walk him twice a day. This dog may dig if left alone in the yard, so a sandbox is a great outlet.


These breeds are classified by the pointers and setters, the spaniels, and the retrievers. They carry out specific tasks. For example, the pointer helps a hunter chase game birds. These dogs are active and need at least two walks a day combined with a dog sport based on the type of work they were bred to perform.

Companion Dogs

This group of breeds provides companionship, and most are small dogs. Your family pet is content sitting with you on the couch, but two regular walks with a family member are likely the highlight of his day.

Young woman walking her pet shih tzu dog in a park


Young puppies need short walks after they complete all their vaccinations around 16 weeks of age. Older dogs may only need a short walk once a day, but always walk your senior as they appreciate the outside smells just as much as a puppy.


There is no better socialization exercise than a walk in the neighborhood. Pet parents can socialize and house train at the same time while their puppy is on a leash! Puppies are sponges, which is the time to introduce them to the world outside their home.


Every old dog enjoys a gentle, slow walk. Never assume just because your dog is a senior, he no longer needs daily walks. Don't change the frequency of walks. Walk as long as he wants as regular exercise keeps his mind sharp.

Health Issues

Many health problems dictate how often pet lovers need to walk their dogs. If your dog is recovering from orthopedic surgery, your treatment plan outlines explicitly how often he needs exercise and when to increase activity gradually. Another medical condition that restricts daily walks is heart disease. A vet or oncologist works with pet parents, so it is clear when a dog with congestive heart failure is ready for a short daily walk.

Weight Management

If your adult dog weighs a few extra pounds or is obese, pet parents need to plan a longer walk or perhaps a third walk. The length of the walk may vary by breed, but the treatment plan looks the same! Add a short third walk at some point in the morning or afternoon. Additional exercise does make a difference.


Raising a dog to be people-friendly is one of the most important goals in the pet-dog relationship. A daily walk where your dog can meet appropriate adults and children is just as important as burning energy.

Six dogs in a dog park

A Tired Dog Is a Good Dog

Sometimes life gets in the way, and pet parents struggle to find time for daily walks. Pet lovers should not feel guilty about needing help. A dog walker is there to make sure those two daily walks happen. There are many benefits to even a short walk in the middle of the day.

  • Dogs need to sniff, see, and experience new smells. A dog walker can take your best friend to a local park.
  • Breeds that are active need to burn excess energy, and the best way is a walk or run outside. Some dog walkers provide hikes as a service.
  • Pet obesity is a health problem many owners struggle with, and busy schedules make it challenging to help dogs lose weight.

All Dogs Need Regular Exercise

All dogs need two walks a day. Some breeds need longer walks and an additional dog sport activity. For example, scent hounds may enjoy canine nosework. Daily walks keep seniors sharp and healthy. An older dog's walk may be shorter, but it is still just as important as walking your puppy. If your schedule is busy one week, hire a dog walker to help keep your buddy from getting into trouble. There is nothing more important than daily exercise.

How Often Do You Walk Your Dog? 5 Factors to Consider