56% of dogs in the US are overweight or obese.
I hope that statistic knocked you back in your seat, just like it did for me. That means there are roughly 45 million dogs in America that are overweight.
Collectively, we need to do better for our dogs. It’s important to remember that excess fat isn’t just a physical burden on your dog, it also affects their kidney health, life expectancy, respiratory function, and mobility. Moreover, extra weight has been directly linked to arthritis, hypertension, and even certain cancers.
Unfortunately, due to their small bodies and large appetites, corgis are known for overeating and becoming overweight. Since corgis are a long-backed dwarf breed, their conformation makes them highly prone to back, hip, and joint problems, and being overweight only exacerbates those underlying problems in the corgi breed.
The good news is that by keeping your corgi at a healthy weight and their muscles strong, you will proactively be preventing injury for your dog.
Daily exercise is extremely important when it comes to weight management. Frequent exercise helps your dog fight weight gain and also provides the mental and physical stimulation necessary to ensure that they live happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives.
You can read more about corgi weight here
How Much Daily Exercise Does A Corgi Puppy Need?
The daily exercise needs of a puppy are quite different than an adult dog. When it comes to puppies it’s important to remember that their bones, muscles, and joints are still growing and developing.
Overly strenuous activities are not necessary and in some cases, they could even harm the development of your puppy. Therefore, any activity that is high impact should be avoided until their growth plates close around 1 year of age (high impact activities include agility obstacles or frisbee)
The quantity of physical exercise that a puppy requires depends primarily upon their age. A very young puppy will not have the endurance for many exercises. However, as they get older, you can slowly increase the amount of physical activity and exercise little by little.
A good rule of thumb for walking a puppy is roughly 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15-20 minutes is a safe amount of time. Always be sure to monitor your puppy on walks for signs such as lagging behind, lying down, or panting. End the walk and pick them up if they seem too tired.
You should only walk your puppy after their final round of vaccaintions at 16 weeks.
For owners with young puppies at home, I always stress the importance of mental exercise first. Mental stimulation can tire a puppy just as much as physical exercise can.
You should teach your puppy to sit, down, stay, and drop it as early as you can. You should also focus on social acclimation by teaching your puppy to relax and focus on you when they are around new sights, sounds, smells, places, people, and even animals. Not only will you build a stronger relationship, but these foundational skills will make your life much easier in the long run.
Don’t worry about physical exercise for your puppy too much right now, there will be plenty of time to exercise them when they are older. 🙂
How Much Daily Exercise Does an Adult Corgi Need?
A full-grown Pembroke Welsh Corgi should be getting at least 1 hour of physical exercise each day.
You may feel like that is a lot of exercises, but it’s important to remember that corgis are a herding breed — they are energetic, smart, and have a ton of stamina.
I often hear corgi owners say, “I walk my corgi over a mile, twice a day, and they still aren’t tired.”
Keep in mind that these dogs were bred to work fields all day long. Walking for them is second nature. Therefore, taking your corgi for a walk around the block is a great start, but it likely won’t be enough to tire them out.
Instead, you should find activities that will burn a lot of energy in a short period of time that both you and your dog enjoy. These activities can vary from high-intensity games to strength training exercises that keep their bodies and muscles in peak condition.
A well-rounded workout routine, with a variety of exercises, will ensure that your corgi is strengthening all of the major muscle groups in their body. Plus, providing your dog with a well-rounded exercise routine will keep you engaged as an owner and keep them happy and healthy for many years to come.
These are 10 activities that I recommend to corgi owners:
10 Ways to Exercise Your Corgi
Although walks won’t tire out your corgi, that doesn’t mean you should stop going on walks. Walking your dog has many benefits.
Walking engages your corgi both physically and mentally. Seeing squirrels, exploring new smells, seeing other people with their pets, etc., are great sources of mental stimulation for your corgi. Just be sure to change up the route occasionally to keep the sights and smells new and exciting for your pup.
One of the main reasons why I love walking so much is because it is a great way to “warm-up” your dog before they engage in a more vigorous exercise like swimming. “Warming up” your dog increases blood flow to muscles, improves flexibility, and slowly increases their heart rate— all of which drastically decreases the risk of injury.
So definitely don’t stop walking your corgi!
Swimming is one of the most complete forms of exercise for your dog. It’s especially good for corgis because it is “joint-friendly”. Swimming is low-impact, non-concussive, and non-weight bearing. This means that your dog can enjoy all the benefits of swimming without putting any additional stress on their joints.
Plus, moving their limbs against the resistance of the water works every major muscle group— improving strength and overall muscle tone. Stronger, toned muscles help to protect dogs against injuries sustained during normal exercises, such as running or fetch, or during more demanding exercises such as agility.
Matter of fact, hydrotherapy is implemented in many orthopedic specialties to help dogs alleviate chronic conditions such as hip or elbow dysplasia. Hydrotherapy is also regularly used to help rehabilitate dogs after an injury or surgery.
Fetch is one of those easy-to-do activities you can do from the comfort of your own backyard anytime you want. It’s especially nice if you aren’t in the mood to exercise yourself (since your dog does all of the work for you).
Fetch is absolutely considered a high-intensity game. All of the running back and forth burns a lot of energy in a relatively short period of time. We play fetch with our dogs every evening, and it’s the perfect activity to tire out our pups before we wind down for the night.
It’s important to remember that some dogs don’t have an “off switch” so they won’t tell you when they have had enough. If your dog begins to slow down, pant heavily, or limp you should stop playing and go inside.
Once you feel your dog has mastered fetch, you can combine it with exercises like swimming to get a more complete workout.
Hiking is a great alternative to your standard walk around the block. When you go hiking, your corgi will be exposed to an immense amount of new sights, smells, and sensations.
Small things that often go unnoticed by us humans are actually a big deal for dogs. For example, trying to navigate a pathway with uneven surfaces, loose rocks, and things like tree roots challenges your dog’s balance and provides a great opportunity for them to exercise their minds and bodies.
Inclines, declines, and stream crossings add an extra level of exercise if you can find them.
Along with being an excellent source of physical and mental stimulation, hiking is also a great way to bond with your pet. While on your hike, be sure to take some time to enjoy the great outdoors with your best friend.
Playing tug-of-war with your dog is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to burn off your corgi’s excess energy. In fact, minute for minute, a tug is one of the most intense forms of exercise your dog can do.
Tug is an extremely versatile activity. It requires very little free space and can be played indoors when the weather is less than ideal.
Not only is tug energy demanding, but it’s also a great game to play if you are trying to build strength in your corgi’s leg and back muscles. With that being said, It’s important to remember that all exercises have the potential to injure your dog, and tug is no exception.
To prevent injuring your corgi’s neck or back, you should only use soft/smooth motions. Never yank.
Trainer’s note: Be mindful that resource guarding (RG) is prevalent in the corgi breed. You can prevent RG from rearing it’s ugly head during tug-of-war by incorporating these simple techniques into play time—
1. Your dog should have a solid foundation of “drop it” and you should use it frequently when you are tugging with your dog.
2. Try switching up toys mid-play so your dog wants to play with you and doesn’t associate “tug” with a single toy.
Agility or Sporting Events
If you own a corgi, I would highly recommend that you look into some kind of sporting event. Corgis do very well in most sporting categories, but they thrive in agility, lure coursing, and of course, herding.
There are so many fun sporting events out there that you and your dog can participate in. Every event will have its own pros and cons so, I highly recommend you try out several different events and narrow it down to what suits your and your pup’s needs the best.
The unique thing about sporting events is that they allow you and your dog to work together as a team. This is extremely rewarding for your dog and also acts as a great bonding opportunity.
In general, sporting events are very physically demanding and do an excellent job tiring out your dog. As with any high-intensity exercise, you should always introduce it slowly and work your way up into more difficult and challenging events.
In most cities, you can find classes, clubs, or parks to get your pup started in a variety of sporting events. If you are unable to find anything that suits you in your area, you can always buy or make an assortment of agility equipment for you to train within your own backyard.
Jogging is a great way to exercise WITH your pet. Believe it or not, corgis make great running partners. Invest in a hands-free leash and running harness so you and your pup can get into shape together!
Runs are an awesome way to take something like a low-intensity walk and make it more exciting. As you and your pup build up some endurance, you can even start jogging along hiking trails.
Jogging is a high-impact activity that can be hard on your pup’s joints. If you are just getting into jogging for the first time, take it slow and easy. Start off with a walk and gradually add more and more jogging to your normal route. Once this becomes easy, you can start venturing out on longer and more challenging routes.
If you do not want to run with your dog or if it is just too hot or cold outside, a treadmill is a great alternative. Treadmills allow your pup to get in a high-intensity run all while staying in the comfort of your home. They even make treadmills specifically for dogs.
Soccerball or Herding Balls
It is always good to change things up a bit. If fetch in the backyard gets repetitive or boring, you can easily spice things up with a new toy.
Soccer balls come in all shapes and sizes and work great for backyard play. By dribbling and kicking the ball around, you are providing a new and different way for your dog to interact with you and the toy. Most corgis will herd the ball around the yard and tire themselves out thoroughly.
Soccer balls have a tendency to get torn up over time, which is why I often recommend “herding balls”. A herding ball is a ball that is too big, heavy, or difficult to be picked up and carried by your dog. They don’t bounce and can’t be kicked. The only way to play with a herding ball is to push and chase it. Like the name suggests, most herding breed dogs (i.e. corgis) LOVE them.
I saved the best, and my personal favorite, for last: Flirt Poles.
A flirt pole is basically a long stick or pole with a long rope (w/ a toy) attached at one end. You drag the toy on the ground in a circle while your dog chases and tugs at it
Think giant cat toy.
Flirt poles are one of the best and most versatile dog toys you can own. Not only is it an outstanding training tool— it is amazing for play and exercise.
Unlike a “regular” toy, A flirt pole combines the benefits of both a tug toy AND a fetch ball in one. It allows your dog to engage in a high-intensity game of chase, and experience the enjoyment of tug, all while you maintain control of the toy and the intensity of the play.
If used properly, flirt poles can teach your dog self-control, improve their targeting, and hone their striking skills— all while building muscle and draining their excess energy. If you don’t own one, I highly recommend trying one out.
A shocking amount of dogs in the United States are overweight, and the corgi breed is no exception. Overfeeding and a lack of exercise are the two primary factors leading to this problem. That is why daily exercise is so important for your dog.
Corgis are naturally very smart and energetic, requiring a significant amount of mental and physical exercise every day.
Depending on where you live, there are tons of options outside where you and your dog can have fun and rewarding exercise together. If the weather outside is less-than-deal, there are many other options for you and your pup to exercise indoors.
No matter which activity you choose, it is important to understand the risks and rewards of each so you can safely and effectively better the life of you and your dog!