When owning a Maltese dog it is very important to realize that even though the Maltese dog is a small breed it is still very important to exercise your dog on a regular basis. Purposeful exercise is very important for your dogs emotional well being and their physical health. This article explains why exercise is important for both you and your Maltese and the best exercises for outside and inside for any weather.
How long should I walk my Maltese puppy?
Walking or other forms of exercise are recommended to be undertaken for half an hour once a day to ensure that your dog stays happy and healthy. As your Maltese ages and enters its last few years, the exercise routine will need to be adapted and changed compared to that of a Maltese puppy or Maltese Adult dog to ensure that you are still keeping you Maltese fit and healthy but are not putting it under too much stress.
Do small dog breeds such as the Maltese need to be exercised?
People often assume that because the Maltese are a smaller breed of dog that they do not need the frequency of exercise that would be required of a much larger dog such as a Labrador. This is absolutely not the case. When it comes to dogs and exercise it is all about relativity, small dogs have small muscles which need to be exercised and a small body that needs to be maintained. They also have a much smaller heart than that of a larger breed but regardless that heart still needs to be exercised regularly to remain healthy and fit. It should be obviously important that their owner take the size of the dog into account when exercising them but the size should not be a deterrent from regular exercise. If anything, it is often the case that small breeds like the Maltese have boundless amounts of energy and because of this they can sometimes need and enjoy a greater level of activity than their larger counterparts. This can often have to do with the fact that they are carrying around less weight which means less stress on their bones and muscles when exercising.
Exercising outside of the home is also good for socializing your Maltese and it is great for their mental health by giving them new stimuli for their brain.
Why should you exercise your Maltese dog?
There are many reasons why exercise is an important part of a Maltese dogs life. Some of the main reasons and best reasons for including exercise in your dogs daily routine include:
- It is good for their health.
When a Maltese exercises they are working their heart, their muscles and are increasing the blood flow around their body. This increased blood flow leads to better circulation for the dog which is very beneficial. Regular exercise also plays a vital role in the dogs mental and emotional health. As in humans, regular exercise has shown to improve mood and overall health in dogs when adhered to on a regular basis. Taking your dog for a walk is good for the health and well being of both the dog owner and the dog so it should be made a priority in the daily schedule.
- It helps to keep their bones strong.
Regular exercise has shown to play a role in helping the skeletal system of a dog to be strong. This reduces the chance of bone breakages and other bone damage. The bones of a dog are rarely thought of by a dog owner as needing to be kept healthy as we are not feeding them milk or calcium but they get this in their natural diet. A dog with a broken foot is going to find it very hard to move around in life and it would be a serious liability in the wild.
- It helps build their muscle mass.
Regular exercise of your dog helps immensely with their muscle mass and development. The more the dog is using their muscles the more these muscles are building and strengthening. This is a very important aspect of maintaining a healthy and strong dog. As a dog ages the muscle tone and muscle mass deteriorates just as in the human body. In order to keep the muscle mass a dog needs to be exercised regularly.
- It helps regulate their metabolism.
When you exercise your dog you are boosting their metabolism. This is because exercise boosts the dogs resting metabolic rate and therefore means that the dog will be able to burn more calories when at rest. This is very important as it will help to combat obesity and help them be a healthier dog in general. It is well known that obesity is a killer in humans and it is the same for dogs. A dog on the larger side of the weight scale will have more health complications and a shorter lifespan than a dog which is active and fit.
- It is beneficial to their behavior and emotional needs.
When you exercise your Maltese on a regular basis you are promoting good behavior in your dog. This is because walking on a lead is a learnt task and can be seen as training. When walking your dog it is a great tie for you to teach them to behave and to listen. They will usually learn many commands including sit, stay and heel and will learn how to walk on a lead effectively. It also is a time when they are learning about how to behave around other dogs. Walking is a common time that dogs will socialize. This is very important for Maltese as they tend to be known for small dog syndrome and have problems socializing. It is important you have control over your dog and are into control of their behavior, this is why training is very important. When a Maltese goes on a walk it is a new experience for their senses. They are able to sniff and experience new scents as well as new noises and new sights and surroundings. It will allow for the release of any pent up energy and means that they will be much more calm and relaxed afterwards back at home. If this energy manifested, instead of being let out on a walk or other exercise, it could lead to negative behaviors such as jumping, restlessness, destruction of property and excessive barking.
Are there Dangers in exercising a Maltese Puppy ?
Starting your Maltese on an exercise routine at an early age is very important. It is however recommended that you wait until your Maltese puppy has received all of its vaccinations so that it is not in jeopardy of getting any diseases or illnesses. It is highly recommended that once your puppy has received its last immunization that you wait two weeks from that date to ensure that they are fully protected. This is because your puppy needs time to build the antibodies that will protect them. Puppies will typically be fully vaccinated around the fourth month of their life if you have kept to the timeline of vaccinations. It is important not to take them anywhere where other dogs will be so that they are not at risk of contracting anything from another non-vaccinated dog. This point can not be stressed highly enough as there are serious diseases that can kill your puppy before it has started its wonderful life. You can play and exercise with your puppy in the home until they are fully vaccinated and protected from these horrible life threatening diseases.
How to Exercise a Young Maltese Puppy?
For the first nine months of your dogs life you need to be careful with exercise. Regular gentle exercise is always healthy for your dog but nothing excessive is recommended. This is because in the first six to nine months any excessive or extreme exercise can detrimentally interfere with the dogs growth and development. Any type of activity that is exerting the dog and putting its body under a lot of stress is not recommended. Short walks and playing with a small toy are the best types of exercise at this stage of their life. It should be done daily but for short amounts of time. A good short walk for a young puppy would be a quick walk down the street and back providing they have had all their immunizations..
What are the Types of Exercises Available for a Maltese Dog?
As your dog ages, Maltese dogs should be walked every day if possible. It is recommended to do two walks a day where possible of about 20 minutes. If you plan to do any longer walking with your dog it is recommended that you give them a break every 20 mins and have access to shade and water. If the exercise is becoming too long for your Maltese and you find that they are slowing down or panting a lot then they may be getting tired and you may need to carry them for some of the way. When walking you want to aim for a pace that is brisk but not too quick, a simple trot is fine but running or sprinting is best avoided. Keep in mind your Maltese needs to take about 10-20 steps for every stride you put in on the walk so they are getting a lot of exercise even on a short walk.
Walking is not the only thing that counts as exercise for your Maltese. There are lots of activities that you can do at home or at a local park which will get your Maltese moving and fill its daily exercise requirements. Activities such as Fetch (which is throwing a toy and getting your dog to bring it back), having them find a toy which you have hidden or playing with other dogs are activities that keep them active and all count as exercise. Generally, indoor daily activities that are part of natural daily routine like walking and jumping are not counted as part of their daily exercise quota. These do not stimulate the mind or increase the amount of activity your Maltese is doing. For an activity to count as exercise it needs to engage their muscles and get their heart rate elevated and their mind engaged. You can do things inside for exercise though such as chasing a ball for short distances. Tug of war with a toy is also a good indoor activity as it does not require much room to play.
How to Ensure An Exercise Routine for your Dog is Maintained?
Their are some simple tips you can follow to make sure you stay accountable in regards to your Maltese exercise requirements. These tips include:
- Schedule a time for their exercise in your diary
If you schedule a specific time to exercise your Maltese it is much more likely to happen. Everyone gets busy so it is important to make this a priority as part of being a pet owner. If you need to a great way to remember to exercise your puppy then it is recommended that you set an alarm on your phone to remind you to exercise. This should be at the same time everyday so that it becomes a habit. Try and set the time at a point when you will not be tired or busy. First thing in the morning is always a great time for exercise. if you set it after work you are likely to come home tired and not do it. Knowing when you are more likely to exercise (which for most is in the morning) is a great first step on keeping both yourself and your puppy fit.
- When on a walk, stop at the same spot for bathroom breaks for your dog.
Creating habits allow things to run a lot smoother and quicker over time. Also by stopping at the same spot, the habit will reinforce housebreaking rules if you are trying to house train your dog. With any learned habit when it comes to your dogs commitment then routine is key. Stopping in the same bathroom spot before and after walks will help reinforce when and where you dog should go to the toilet.
- Do not let the weather be an excuse.
Obviously if it is storming or dangerous outside no one would expect you to take your Maltese puppy for a walk. But do not let the weather be an excuse, cold weather or sprinkling of rain should not be seen as a reason to not walk your dog. If the weather outside is cold or wet then do for your dog what you would do for yourself. If it is cold pop a coat on your dog for extra warmth and similarly if it is sprinkling or raining a raincoat will protect them from getting too wet. Maltese dogs especially enjoy being out in the environment for a walk in most weathers so do not let the cold weather be your excuse.
What are some Exercises for doing Outdoors with your Maltese puppy ?
There are lots of activities that you can do outside with your Maltese that both of you will enjoy. These activities include:
- Walking – Walking is generally better for a Maltese than running or jogging. If you start to run too fast they will struggle to keep up with you and will tire out quickly. Setting a brisk walk is a good exercise that is easy on your joints and is a good pace for your Maltese to get heir heart pumping and blood circulating.
- Exploring new areas and parks – Exploring new areas such as dog parks and new routes can be exciting and stimulating for your puppy. They will love the exploring along side you and its a great way to make memories.
- Going to the beach – Dogs love the beach. One thing to note with Maltese is that the sand can get into their fur if they have a long coat. You will want to thoroughly wash your dog after a beach visit as there are a lot of insects, mites and fleas which live near and on the beach. You should also keep your small Maltese away from the waves as they are not large enough to take a battering from an unexpected large wave.
- Swimming – Maltese with short hair may like swimming but a Maltese with long hair will hate it. The long hair will feel heavy and stay wet for a long time so this activity is only for short haired Maltese. Some Maltese may just hate it even with short hair so experiment with it but don’t expect them to like it.
- Fetch and playing with toys – The item you are throwing needs to be small and make some noise. Maltese tend to not want to go grab sticks or larger items because it is just too uncomfortable or heavy for them. Check out our page on appropriate toys which will work well for a Maltese.
- Obedience Training – Training while at the park with distractions is a great idea. It is much harder for your Maltese to concentrate when there is so much going on that can distract them so if you can get them trained in this sort of environment and they listen to you then you are doing really well. It can be frustrating sometimes when obedience training but stick with it and enjoy it even when your Maltese isn’t listening to you.
- Obstacle Courses (for your dog) – Some dog parks have benches, logs, ropes and poles that your dog can walk through and play around. Keep in mind these sort of parks attract lots of dogs so ensure that your Maltese is socialized well. Maltese can tend to be a bit temperamental and its best to keep a short leash on them so they can be pulled away from annoying other dogs and people when needed.
What are some Exercises for doing Inside with your Maltese Puppy ?
When it is raining outside it is often easy to decide to not keep up the exercise routine, but there are activities you can do in your home which will ensure that you have a great time and your dog gets its regular dose of activity:
- Walk up and down steps with your dog – If your house has steps inside then going up and down the steps a few times will get your heart racing and your dog will wonder what is going on. While not the most fun activity it will ensure a quick intensive workout for both you and your Maltese.
- Move the furniture and other objects and make a maze or obstacle course for your dog. This takes a bit of effort but its great for photos and is a lot of fun to do. Just keep in mind this generally requires a bit of time to setup and then also more time to put everything back where it belongs.
- Obedience training inside. Sometimes training with no distractions can be a good way to reinforce some of the activities and commands that your dog is having trouble mastering. The quietness in your home without any distractions will allow them to focus on you and your commands and of course the treats in your hand.
- Hide and seek – Try hiding from your Maltese and then calling them and allowing them to find you. This can be a great past time and your dog will get super excited when they find you. Its a great bonding experience for you and your Maltese.
- Fetch with a small object – Find an open area in your home that can be used to throw a small toy so your dog can run across the room and return it to you. Be sure to be careful throwing the object and not to break anything.
- Tug of war – Tug of war with your Maltese can be lots of fun. Just keep there head up and away from objects as they will really throw themselves around. This will tire out you and your Maltese quickly.
Do Maltese dogs need a lot of Exercise and How Often do you need to exercise a Maltese dog?
Compared to some other breeds Maltese dogs do not need a lot of exercise. They are small and getting from point A to point B can take a lot more steps and effort than a larger dog. One or Two sessions of exercise for 5mins – 10mins should keep them fit and healthy.
Exercising is important for both you and your dog to have a long healthy life. Its also a great time to bond with your Maltese and create lasting memories which you will treasure forever.
Do you have any other ideas, tips or comments on exercising a Maltese? If so leave a comment and let us know what you think. Also if you think we missed an important part of exercising a Maltese puppy please let us know so that we can add it to the article. We strive to give you the best and most accurate and up to date information.