Affenpinscher exercise needs and ideas guide

Affenpinscher on a leash in a grassy field

The Affenpinscher, also known as the Monkey Terrier, is a terrier type toy Pinscher type of dog from Germany. They have similar traits to many of the terrier breeds, although they are not a terrier. The term terrier refers to ratting dogs with British bloodlines.

They are often confused with the Brussels Griffon, but in fact, predate the Griffon and are an ancestor of that breed. Bred to hunt vermin and rats they are energetic, intelligent, and agile.

The Affenpinscher is affectionate and play and can be a little mischievous and cheeky.

How much exercise does an Affenpinscher need

The Affenpinscher requires a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise and activity daily. They are an active breed so they can go for longer walks and have more playtime if you wish.

The Affenpinscher has reasonable levels of stamina, high agility and are energetic. Being a ratting dog they also have a a high prey drive and are highly intelligent.

They can get a lot of their exercise requirements indoors or in a small space. This makes them ideal if you live in an apartment or small home. However, they are known to bark a lot so they could annoy the neighbors.

They love to play with toys so it is important to provide a good select of toys for them.

There are three main types of exercise and activity you must provide your Affenpinscher every day.

  • 1. Daily walk
  • 2. Free play (see below for Affenpinscher exercise ideas)
  • 3. Mental stimulation

These exercise suggestions are for a healthy adult Affenpinscher. The exercise needs off a puppy are different as their bodies and growing and developing. See the bottom of this article for more on Affenpinscher puppy exercise.

Affenpinschers have an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, but many live well beyond this. Exercise is still important for an older to maintain their muscles and mobility, and to manage weight. See the bottom of this article for more on exercise for a senior Affenpinscher.

Affenpinscher walking requirements

The Affenpinscher is an active indoor dog. They are happy to play indoors all day long, but they still do need to be taken on daily walks.

The daily walk is essential for an Affenpinscher not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your Affenpinscher to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds and smells they come across.

The length of the walk is only limited by your time and energy as an Affenpinscher can go much longer. Ideally, the minimum should be 20 to 30 minutes daily at a comfortable pace. This can be just once a day, or two walks a day would be better if your schedule allows.

Dogs also like routine, so try to schedule the walk for around the same time each day. Daily walks are much better than nothing all week and a big walk at the weekend.

If your Affenpinscher has good recall and comes on command, walks at the park off the leash is ideal. Many Affenpinschers can not be totally trusted off-leash so a retractable leash or long line is often a good idea. This gives them a little more freedom while you maintain control.

Affenpinscher exercise ideas

The Affenpinscher is quick and can turn on a dime. Ideally, you need to find activities that can burn energy in a short period of time and use these skills.

Providing your Affenpinscher with a good variety of toys can help not only to keep them occupied but burn off some of that energy also.

Here are some suggested activities and exercise ideas to help tire your Affenpinscher.

Flirt Pole

Flirt pole is like a giant cat tickler for dogs. It has a long handle with a bungy type rope with a lure or toy attached to the end. You simply move the lure along the ground around in circles or in different directions as your dog chases it.

This activity is ideal for an Affenpinscher as it works directly with their natural prey instinct as a ratting bred. Be sure they have a good “leave it” command and don’t allow them to destroy the toy. It is important that this be a controlled exercise. For a full guide to flirt pole exercise for dogs see here.

View Flirt Poles on Amazon


Playing Fetch with your Affenpinscher is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Affenpinschers are generally ball crazy and love to chase so they can play this for hundreds of throws. A great alternative is to use an Automatic Ball Launcher so your dog can play Fetch by themselves. As the Affenpinscher is highly trainable they learn to use this quickly. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs

Frisbee Toss

Most dogs can chase and catch a ball. But a Frisbee requires a little bit more skill, coordination, and timing. Affenpinschers are agile and look spectacular playing this.  Roll the Frisbee on the ground towards your dog. They will instinctually want to grab it in his mouth. Once you’ve accomplished this, try tossing it at a very low level first to your dog. If you feel like your dog is ready to go to the next level, toss the disc a little higher and further. Great energy burner and you may be amazed at your dog’s agility and acrobatic skill.

Backyard agility

Set up an agility or obstacle course in your backyard. You can use items you have around the home, build your own agility or you can get reasonably priced agility sets on Amazon.

You can include tasks such as the weave, hurdle jumps, tunnels or jumping through hoops or a platform to jump on and stay.

Stair Exercise

A good energy burner if you have stairs in your home. Start at the bottom of the stairs and have your dog “stay”. Throw the ball to the top of the stairs and then say, “Go!” Let your dog dash up the stairs as fast as they can. Have them return down the stairs at a slower pace to avoid injury.

For more on stair exercise for dogs see here.

Tug of War

A firm favorite of all ratting type dogs. Make them crouch and pull back to use extra energy. Ensure that this is a controlled game and they release when you want them to.

Dog toys that move on their own

There are many dog toys available that shake, rattle, roll and move about on their own. These are ideal for a Affenpisncher as they cater directly to their chase and natural prey drive being ratting dogs. See “Dog toys that move on their own” to learn more.

The Wicked Ball is a good example of this type of toy. If your dog is ball mad then the Wicked Ball is the ultimate moving dog toy for them. The magic ball runs and bounces all by itself and the LED light adds another level of engagement for your dog. No App or remote controller required.

It has several settings such as the Intelligent Companion mode. In this mode, the Wicked ball has 10 minutes of play and 30 minutes of rest. If your dog pushes or hits the ball it starts the play cycle again. It also has three reaction modes (gentle, normal, active) so you can set it to suit your dog’s mood.  Due to its obstacle avoidance system (collision sensor), it doesn’t get stuck in tight spots.

The Wicked ball is durable and dog safe and is also waterproof so it can be played with when swimming. It also has a treat hole for dogs that are food motivated.

View the Wicked Ball on Amazon.

Self Playing Dog Toys

There are a variety of dog toys that your dog can use to play by themselves. These are great for times when your dog is home alone, you don’t have the time or you are otherwise occupied. This way your dog can still get some physical activity and mental stimulation without your direct involvement. See “Self Playing Dog Toys” for some ideas.

Mental stimulation for Affenpinschers

These smart little dogs, in fact, all dogs need an outlet for their minds. If they are not provided the opportunity to challenge their minds they will come up with their own ways to achieve this. This usually manifests itself in bad behavior such as excessive barking, digging, escaping and other destructive behaviors. Read “Mental stimulation and mind enrichment for dogs” to learn about the 6 types or categories of mind stimulation a mental enrichment and some great ideas to provide this.

Some ways to provide mental stimulation and enrichment include;

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are ideal for dogs like the Affenpinschers to challenge their minds and test their problem-solving skills. Due to their high intelligence, try to find puzzle toys that are a bit more challenging as they tend to work these out quite quickly. Check out “Top puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.

In addition to puzzle toys, Kongs for dogs are another great way to get your Affenpinscher to solve a problem and challenge the mind. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.

Scenting and nose games

Affenpinschers have a keen nose. Playing scenting and nose games helps to provide mental stimulation. Read “12 Scenting and nose games for dogs” for some ideas.

Chew Toys

Provide your Affenpinscher with chew toys. They are not necessarily a powerful chewer, so select toys that are not too hard. Chewing is a great way to keep them busy. In addition, chewing releases endorphins and helps to relax a dog. Many dogs hold stress in the jaw. Read “Best dog chew toys” to learn more.


Teaching new commands and tricks is also excellent to provide mental enrichment. A popular game that involves learning is to teach them the names of their toys. Dogs can learn hundreds of words and names.

Food enrichment

Turn mealtimes into an opportunity for your Affenpinscher to get a mental challenge and enrichment. Instead of feeding them from a bowl, give them activities that require them to work for their food. To learn more about feeding enrichment for dogs see here.

Enrich their environment

Environmental enrichment is the process of making a dog’s living space more engaging and interesting. To learn more about environmental enrichment for dogs see here.

Over exercised dog symptoms

Just as you can not provide sufficient exercise for your dog, you can overdo it too.

Affenpinschers can play hard and keep going, often not knowing when to stop. With any dog, it is possible to over-exercise them. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a dog that has overdone it. Read “Overexercised dog symptoms” to learn more.

Affenpinscher puppy exercise

The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Affenpinscher. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing.

Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. Any activity that is high impact on the joints should also be avoided.

The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys.

Socializing with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.

As your Affenpinscher puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash. Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.

The general rule of thumb for walking a puppy is around 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor your puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down, or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.

Mental stimulation is important for puppies and can tire them just as much as physical activity. For more on mental stimulation for puppies see here.

For more on exercise for your Affenpinscher puppy read “How to exercise your puppy

Exercise for a senior Affenpinscher

As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. Read ” Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.

Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.

In conclusion – Affenpinscher exercise needs

The Affenpinscher requires a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise and activity daily.

They can get a lot of their exercise requirements indoors or in a small space. This makes them ideal if you live in an apartment or small home. They are happy to play indoors all day long, but they still do need to be taken on daily walks.

They love to play with toys so it is important to provide a good select of toys for them.

Let us know in the comments ways you exercise your Affenpinscher.

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