How Much Activity Does My Dog Need? How Much Space?

A Reader Asks…

I have a 6 month old boxer/mastiff mix who stays indoors with me most of the time right now. I walk him for 3 miles a day (usually one walk but sometimes two trips of 1.5 miles each), and at night he usually needs to go out and play for 20mins-1hour (we usually play fetch or a football type game).
How does he at this age and how much will he need as he grows? I bought an and am going to install it this weekend and work on training him to stay in the backyard…I'm unsure about how large of a space I want to give him (theres about a half acre of space available but I want him to have a portion of it to himself where he can run around and play in the grass without messing up the garden or anything). What is the smallest amount of space he would need? I'm just gonna let him out in the yard during the day so he doesn't get bored…his activity schedule probably won't change (playing/ daily) and he will be inside after dark.

(Scroll down to see responses)

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    • Tracey A
    • August 8, 2009

    Well.. .. I think my German Shepherd wants to come and live at your house!! (thank goodness he doesn’t read).
    Your driving yourself crazy for nothing. You sound like your doing everything great. The most important thing is the exercise…(a good dog, is a tired dog!).
    All you have to make certain that he is socialized with people and other dogs…
    You must be in shape!!

    • Apuri
    • August 8, 2009

    Sounds like you are doing good but you need a big backyard, like one or two lots-sized land…unless you have a small backyard for him to run and still be active but at the same time, even if you are training him to stay in the backyard, he will be bored all day if you’re gone and he may end up digging in the backyard so make sure to give him rubbery toys or toys that will not wear out because if there’s nobody for him to play with during the day, he’ll go nuts since he’s a boxer/mastiff mix, that kind of dog needs a big backyard and lots of activities to do. But when you come back, like from work or date, or whatever…make sure to play with him for at least 30 to 1 hour before you guys go to bed so that way he can be wore out and sleep well at nighttime. I know because I used to babysit a doberman…they’re huge! hahaha…but yeah..needs lots of activities and somebody to play with during the day so you could at least try to find someone to come over and check on your dog especially if it’s going to rain or snow..whatever and you have to end up having it indoor all could at least have somebody you trust coming over to check and play with the dog and take it out to do it business. Hope that helps!

    • dmsparta
    • August 8, 2009

    The two walks are about all he needs for right now. And, as long as you continue to walk him regularly – with maybe some longer walks on the weekends, he should be fine with being outside inside the invisible fencing.

    • Mahooli
    • August 8, 2009

    Sounds like exercise wise you’ve got it bang on right. With regards to a pen for him to have to himself then make it the largest you can without taking over too much of your garden, The minimum size would be twice his length wide and 3 times his length long, that is his length when fully grown.

    • Jello
    • August 8, 2009

    That sounds pretty good. Three miles should be fine as he grows up as well as the extra playing. Dogs aren’t all the same though so you’ll have to gauge it as he grows. Boxers and mastiffs aren’t particularly known for being hyper though so my guess is it’ll be fine.
    Give him as much space as you can in the back yard. My dog is perfectly fine in a third of an acre. Less than that is ok as well. You could probably get away with half an acre and he’d be able to have fun too.

    • Just Q
    • August 8, 2009

    Actually I have had dogs of varying sizes/breeds and I have had them in confined areas such as you have yours and I have had them in an area as large as the 1/2 acre that you mention and in all reality I find that my animals seem sooo much happier in the larger areas.
    I would probably give the dog no less than 1/2 of the area you mention that you have.
    To give the dog any less does not allow the running and jumping area they like for chasing balls as does my 43lb Shepherd mix and a Boxer/Mastiff dog is going to be a BIG dog when it reaches full size.
    The Boxer part of your dog is a very active dog and they are very playful dogs at any age.
    Alot of dogs are only given runs of an area of 10′ by 15′ and in my opinion this only hurts active dogs. I think you will end up with a dog who just paces the kennel.
    Just try to give the dog as much space as you can.
    I tend to spoil my dogs and I’m afraid I’d give them the whole space and just fence off those areas that I don’t want them in as I do with my flowerbeds.
    Just know that there will be alot of “PETA” type answers to this question and really and truly it would just be better to talk with your vet as to what kind of activity your dog needs.

    • Kid Velveteen
    • August 8, 2009

    I think it all depends on the dog. Some dogs just have that sort of personality where they are constantly on adrenaline, but I tend to notice as dogs get older they start to calm down.
    I found this nifty article on how to preven your dog from being bored:…

    • Eddie S
    • August 7, 2009

    Sounds to me like you’re doing an absolutely fantastic job right now with keeping your dog active! Congratulations! Especially as he’s growing and through his more youthful years, he’ll need a lot of exercise. What you’re doing now is perfectly fine. Most dogs I come across get much less exercise than yours does, and still do fine. Now I’m not saying you should exercise him LESS than you are now! Keep up your good work. As your dog gets older, the more exercise he gets, the better. Once he’s a “senior citizen”, he’ll probably want a bit less (or at least more “low-impact”) exercise. But usually, the more the better.
    Good luck!

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