Exercise Limits for Puppies


  • Hello. My family just adopted a new Basenji, and he really is a wonderful affectionate dog with an excellent sweet temperament. At about 5 months I am a little confused about how much I should be exercising him. Compared to his morkie brother (same age) he has seemingly endless stamina, and seems happy and content with exercise. I am an avid hiker, and I can give him about as much as he asks for. A mile in the woods seems to leave him wanting more, but an hour in our village with slight uphills obviously tires him out. I started bringing him up a local mountain and that slowed him down very quick. Was wondering if anyone had a rule of thumb, and an age where I can start trending towards 5-10 miles uphill. This forum has been invaluable, thanks for the help.


  • Here's an article I came across recently. Hope it helps...
    https://www.facebook.com/BoneCanis/posts/1858163021057264


  • I have a 4 month old, and I got him precisely for mountain biking. Two weeks ago I started very short distances, like half mile, twice a week. Worked up to two miles. As you found, he seemed to want more, and he never panted. So today we went about 3.5 miles of mountain biking, relatively flat area, relatively slow. No indication of being worn out. He still want to play with other dogs after! Pack hunter dog.


  • @rlkosek helpful thanks, as I keep hearing about 5 mins per month of life per day but as the article says it's not straightforward.


  • You already have the answer! That's a very good thing. You can tell when he's getting tired and when he's raring to go. Just go with that. In a sense he's telling you how much he wants and you understand what he's saying.

    Just understand that, like children, they can go like crazy and then suddenly lose all energy. Have to be careful that you don't go so far and it's difficult to get back home. Also try getting him to drink. That's a critical aspect of being out for extended periods of time, and not all Basenjis like to drink when on the move. Getting him used to drinking when exercising will help avoid problems down the line.

    Another note: Pay attention to his paws. If motivated they will run until their paws shred and you don't want that to happen.

    As for stamina, some of the athleticism has been bred out of them, but those relatively large chests are there for a reason. Yes, they can go for quite some time.


  • @sanjibasenji said in Exercise Limits for Puppies:

    I have a 4 month old

    FWIW, I think this is too much for such a young dog. This level of exercise should be delayed until your pup is 12-18 months old. Allowing your pup to run around on his own (ex: in the backyard) is one thing. The dog can stop and rest as needed. Running behind a bike for 3.5 miles (at 16 weeks old) seems a bit "overkill".


  • @donc

    We went for a mile at noon in the woods and he was moving at a solid trot, and still seemed down to play (morkie slept through the afternoon). So I took him for a short walk in our cul de sac this evening and he is so exhausted he barely greeted my wife when she got home (and is currently in his clamshell). Still seems very variable, I just don’t want to get a mile in and have to carry him out (or injure him!)


  • Hi - we took our 3.5 month old for 6 mile easy hike in woods off leash and he did great. Lots of stops tho and water breaks and even a picnic with food for all. No people around so his recall was perfect. (No cars anywhere for miles). If my guy doesn’t get LOTS of exercise he burrows his bed and is def unhappy. Minimum daily exercise for him now is 3 miles and lots of wrestling with other dogs in dog park.

    His recall is so good alone and horrible in parks etc with other dogs. But he’s not even 4 months old so all well.


  • Basenjis seldom pant. It is a characteristic of the Breed. When in extremis they will suddenly pull an unmistakeable face - I call it snake facing. And when it gets to that stage you are probably going to need cool damp clothes over the back of the head and neck and a cool place. Do NOT give too much to drink at this stage though. Wait until the dog has cooled right down.

    There is free running exercise and there are force route marches on a lead. The Basenji will go a great deal further and more easily free, sitting when he needs a rest, when you stop for a chat with other dog owners or just to assess the situation.

    I take 5 month old Kito for 2 - 3 miles and he runs at least 5 or 6, possibly even more because he follows Mku who will do at least four times my distance.

    Well done @mikesull. You are giving your guy a really good appropriate Basenji life style. If only more people were able to do as much for their doggies.


  • @bill-t said in Exercise Limits for Puppies:

    I just don’t want to get a mile in and have to carry him out (or injure him!)

    If I had a basenji pup, I'd teach him to lay across my shoulders like the villagers in the Congo do. That way, if he got tired (or stubborn), I could easily carry him/her. Unfortunately, I have only ever been owned by adult b's. My current 7 yr old will plop down anywhere to rest if/when he gets too hot or tired. I bring a book and read while I wait for him because I can't carry him in my arms for long.


  • @mikesull hey did you get your dog from Boston Basenji?


  • @pawla said in Exercise Limits for Puppies:

    If I had a basenji pup, I'd teach him to lay across my shoulders like the villagers in the Congo do.

    I used to do that with Lady. A picture from long, long ago....

    0_1618154673375_ladyandme.jpg


  • Yes! Boston Basenji. Great guy and wonderful dogs


  • @eeeefarm said in Exercise Limits for Puppies:

    @pawla said in Exercise Limits for Puppies:

    If I had a basenji pup, I'd teach him to lay across my shoulders like the villagers in the Congo do.

    I used to do that with Lady. A picture from long, long ago....

    0_1618154673375_ladyandme.jpg

    I LOVE that picture!! Jengo and Logan both allowed me to carry them that way. Sparkle's a bit more squirmy, so I haven't tried yet. 👊 😍 👍


  • @zande said in Exercise Limits for Puppies:

    Basenjis seldom pant. It is a characteristic of the Breed. When in extremis they will suddenly pull an unmistakeable face - I call it snake facing. And when it gets to that stage you are probably going to need cool damp clothes over the back of the head and neck and a cool place. Do NOT give too much to drink at this stage though. Wait until the dog has cooled right down.

    This was true of Jengo when he was young, but changed when he got older. He seemed to get overheated faster as he aged and we noticed more panting. Both Logan and Sparkle pant when overheated and they're only two. I carry a water bottle that doubles as a bowl for them now when we go on long hikes. I still find it kind of weird because I'd heard the same thing: "Basenjis seldom pant. It is a characteristic of the Breed." I think I'll start packing a couple of bandanas that I can soak and wrap around their necks.


  • @jengosmonkey said in Exercise Limits for Puppies:

    I'll start packing a couple of bandanas that I can soak and wrap around their necks.

    If they are overheated, it is best to put the cold packs in their front armpits. This will help them to safely cool off faster.


  • @zande said in Exercise Limits for Puppies:

    Basenjis seldom pant. It is a characteristic of the Breed. When in extremis they will suddenly pull an unmistakeable face - I call it snake facing. And when it gets to that stage you are probably going to need cool damp clothes over the back of the head and neck and a cool place. Do NOT give too much to drink at this stage though. Wait until the dog has cooled right down.

    This is a great point. I'd describe the fact as "pinched". Easy to see if you are looking for it.

    When it gets hot we use a cooling jacket from Ruffwear. Probably other sources, this is just the ones we've used. Works great. They hate it but in a couple of minutes they'll go from that pinched look to being fine. We usually wet it down and put it in a plastic bag but you could wet it down in situ from a water bottle.

    I'm not a fan of an off-leash Basenji, but if you're going to do it a cellular tracking collar would definitely be advised. Where I am we have too many coyotes, mountain lions, rattle snakes, and assorted other critters for me to be comfortable letting them roam too far. Coyotes regularly take small dogs from backyards. A Basenji is bigger than a Jack Russel, but a single Basenji doesn't stand a chance against several coyotes or a Bobcat for that matter.


  • @donc said in Exercise Limits for Puppies:

    A Basenji is bigger than a Jack Russel

    But not tougher, trust me! My farm friend has had several Russells, they are tough as nails and punch way above their weight! Killing raccoons, for instance, and of course rats etc.

    Just need to add, neither dog would have a chance against a coyote, even a single one. I had coyotes in my area too, and so kept Perry within sight when off leash. One time a coyote crossed the path a little way ahead of us, so I made sure Perry stuck very close for the rest of that walk! Coyotes will lure dogs away from safety, and then take them on, often with a pack ambush.


  • @jengosmonkey
    I use a “ Mission Enduracool Cooling Towel” for humans. (You can purchase on Amazon - 2 for around $12). I wet it and would tie it around her neck. (Machine washable) Especially if we were out on the boat for the day and it was really hot. Towel is suppose to be 30:degrees cooler than body temperature and stays cool for several hours. It definitely provided relief on extremely hot days and she likes it.


  • @elbrant
    I'm not sure I agree that it's too much, but I appreciate your caution and concern. I did not begin with 3 miles, but worked to it, after finding no evidence at shorter distances that there was any indication of excess. We don't go everyday, but as of now, once a week, but planning on twice a week. When we go, it's not non-stop, and it's pretty slow (not the pace at which I normally ride). I stop and assess every 1/4 mile or so to see if he's thirsty, tired, wants to stop and sit or laydown, etc. But he doesn't show any sign of wanting to stop. He starts going on his own. When we finish, he shows no sign of tiredness. I've taken him to the dog park after, and he still wants to play with other dogs for longer than we ride.

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