Airedale Terrier Exercise Requirements Guide

The Airedale Terrier is the largest of all the terrier breeds. They originated from the Aire Valley in Yorkshire. They were originally bred to hunt and catch otters and rats and became ideal working dogs.

The Airedale Terrier is a confident, intelligent dog with an affectionate and playful nature.

Airedale Terrier holding sticks in his mouth
Source: Getty Images

How much exercise does an Airedale Terrier Need

Airedale Terriers are active, energetic and playful dogs that require at least one hour a day of energy-burning activity, but more is preferred. Two hours daily would be better. If they don’t receive the exercise they need to release their pent-up energy they can develop behavior issues. Due to their intelligence, it is important to provide them with mental challenges.

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

  • 1. Daily walk
  • 2. Purposeful Activity (see Airedale exercise ideas below)
  • 3. Mental stimulation

This recommended exercise quantity and ideas are for a healthy adult Airedale. The exercise needs of a puppy are different as they are still growing. The wrong quantity and type of exercise can cause injury to a puppy with growing bones and joints. See the bottom of this post for more about how to exercise an Airedale Terrier puppy.

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. See the bottom of this post for more on the exercise needs of an older dog.

Airedale Terrier Walking Needs

Airedale Terrier on a leash

The daily walk is essential for an Airedale Terrier not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your Airedale to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds and smells they come across. It also provides social enrichment, improves their bond with you and is a good training opportunity.

The length of the daily walk should ideally be between 30 to 45 minutes or longer. 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 Airedale has good recall and comes on command, walks at the park off the leash are ideal. Alternatively, you can use a retractable leash or long lead to allow them more freedom while maintaining control.

You can add extra resistance to the walk by using a weighted vest or dog backpack. It is recommended that no more than 10% of their body weight be added. This is more than sufficient to tire them and strengthen their muscles without overworking them. Other ways of increasing the resistance on the walk are to walk on sand or include uphill sections in the walk.

Airedale Terrier Exercise Ideas

The Airedale Terrier is energetic, strong and has bucket loads of stamina. Ideally, you need to find activities that can burn energy in a short period of time and use these skills. This can include high-intensity games and strength training is recommended to keep their muscles in peak condition. By keeping the muscles strong they will support the joints and tendons preventing injury. These are some of the recommended activities and exercise ideas to play with your Airedale Terrier.

Swimming

Most Airedale Terriers love playing and swimming in water. Swimming is also one of the best exercises for any dog. The benefits of swimming for your Airedale Terrier include

  • a strenuous activity that burns energy fast.
  • helps strengthen and tone muscles from the resistance provided by the water.
  • is a low impact activity that doesn’t put a strain on joints and tendons.
  • is an ideal therapy for a dog recovering from injury or surgery – see what is Canine Hydrotherapy to learn more.
  • Most Airedales love to swim and will want to do it

If you don’t have access to a pool, river, lake or the ocean for your dog to use most cities have canine hydrotherapy centers especially for dogs to swim.

For more on swimming exercise for dogs see here.

Fetch

Playing Fetch with your dog is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Many Airedale Terriers love to play with balls. Even if your Airedale isn’t ball orientated you can still play fetch using their favorite toy.

Dogs 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 Airedales are smart and very trainable they can be taught to use one of these. 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. Airedale Terriers look spectacular and sometimes a little goofy playing this due to their agility. 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.

Play with other dogs

Provide the opportunity for your Airedale to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind (social enrichment), but teaches them important social skills.

Airedale Terriers love the company of people and other dogs and in general, are very social and friendly.

Flirt Pole

A flirt pole is like a big cat tickler with a stick, rope, and a lure or toy attached to the end. Move the lure around in circles or in all directions along the ground and your dog will chase it. Works with the dog’s natural prey instinct so it will provide plenty of mental stimulation too. For a full guide to flirt pole exercise for dogs see here.

A Flirt Pole is also a great training tool for teaching a dog impulse control. See the video below for more.

View Flirt Poles on Amazon

Backyard Agility

Airedales are good at this type of activity. 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.

Running, biking or skating with your dog

The faster your dog is moving the more energy they will release. Try running, biking or skating with your dog to really get them moving. As the Airedale Terrier has good levels of stamina and can go for long distances, they can make great running partners. Just be sure to build up the distance and intensity of the activity over time to prevent causing injury to your dog. Read “Running with your dog” for more on this.

Spring Pole

spring pole is simply a spring connected to a rope that hangs from a tree branch or beam with a lure or toy attached to the end. This allows your dog to play tug of war with him or herself even if you are not there. Popular with a lot of dogs that love a good game of tug of war.

View Spring Poles on Amazon

Stair Exercise

A good energy burner and muscle strengthener 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. Have them return down the stairs at a slower pace to avoid injury.

Walking upstairs or a hill strengthens the legs as the full bodyweight of your dog is on each leg as the step. As they descend the stairs they are using the opposing muscles for stability. For more on stair exercise for dogs see here.

Dog toys that move on their own

There are many dog toys available that shake, rattle, roll and move about on their own. The movement of the toy is engaging for a dog and provide enrichment and get them moving.  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.

For more exercise ideas for your Airedale Terrier see the best ways to exercise a dog.

Mental Enrichment for an Airedale Terrier

All dogs need an outlet for their minds, especially highly intelligent breeds like the Airedale Terrier. 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 Airedale to challenge their minds and test their problem-solving skills.  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 Airedale Terrier to solve a problem and challenge the mind. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.

Scenting and nose games

Airedale Terriers, like all dogs, 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 Airedale with good strong chew toys. Chewing is a great way to occupy them. In addition, chewing releases endorphins and helps to relax a dog. Many dogs hold stress in the jaw.

For more on the benefits of chewing and the best chew toys click here.

Learning

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 Airedale Terrier 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.

Airedale Terrier Puppy Exercise Needs

The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Airedale. 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 Airedale 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 Airedale 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 Airedale Terrier puppy read “How to exercise your puppy

Exercise needs of a senior older Airedale Terrier

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.

Airedale Terriers are also a breed that is prone to hip dysplasia. Read “Exercise for a dog with hip dysplasia” to learn more.

Summary –  Airedale Terrier Exercise Needs

Airedale Terriers are active, energetic and playful dogs that require at least one hour a day of energy-burning activity, but more is preferred. Two hours daily would be better. If they don’t receive the exercise they need to release their pent-up energy they can develop behavior issues. Due to their intelligence, it is important to provide them with mental challenges.

Let us know in the comments how much exercise your Airedale Terrier gets daily and ways you exercise them.

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