The Chow Chow is an Arctic-type dog that is powerful, sturdy with heavy bone and strong muscular development. Many people say they are quite aloof, but they are also extremely loyal to their owners.
They were bred to be multi-purpose working dogs and are were great as hunting dogs and also very good at herding livestock.
How much exercise does a Chow Chow need
The Chow Chow is a low to moderate energy dog breed. Every dog is an individual and some Chow Chows can be lazy while others can be more active. In general, a Chow Chow needs 45 to 60 minutes of exercise and activity on a daily basis.
A guide to your Chow Chows energy levels is if they lay down and refuse to move halfway through a walk. Daily exercise is still important even for lazier Chow Chows to release energy, maintain weight and overall health and to prevent boredom.
There are three main types of exercise and activity you must provide your Chow Chow every day.
- 1. Daily walk
- 2. Free Play (see Chow Chow exercise ideas below)
- 3. Mental stimulation
This recommended exercise quantity and ideas are for a healthy adult Chow Chow. 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 a Chow Chow 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.
Chow Chow exercise in hot weather
The Chow Chow doesn’t do so well in hot weather due to their thick coat. Avoid exercising them outside when the weather is hot and the sun is blazing down. Allowing them to overheat can result in heat stress or even heat stroke. It is still important that they receive exercise even when the weather is hot. For tips on exercising a dog in hot weather see here.
Chow Chow walking distance
The daily walk is essential for a Chow Chow not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your Chow Chow 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 15 to 25 minutes. 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 Chow Chow is lagging behind, panting excessively or simply lays down and won’t move it is a good indication that they have had enough.
If your Chow Chow 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.
Ways to exercise a Chow Chow
The daily walk is a crucial component of any dogs daily exercise. In addition to going for walks, it is important to provide other types of purposeful activity and play in your Chow Chows daily exercise routine. This will aid in burning pent up energy, providing enrichment and keeping their muscles strong.
Here are some suggestions of ways to provide exercise and free play for your Chow Chow.
Play with toys
Provide your Chow Chow with a good selection of toys. Dog toys are a great way to occupy and entertain your dog, burn energy and provide mental stimulation.
To learn about the different categories of dog toy and how to use them with your dog see here.
Tug of War
Tug of war is a great strength-building game for all 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.
The purpose of strength-building exercises for dogs is not necessarily. to build muscle bulk. Strong muscles provide protection for the joints and tendons helping to prevent potential injury.
A 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 and a great muscle-building exercise.
A Jolly Ball is a nearly indestructible ball for dogs that they push and chase around. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and are also available with a handle or rope attached for tug of war. A Jolly Ball is a good exercise to cater to the Chow Chows natural herding instincts.
Check out the video to see what great exercise and fun they are for dogs.
View Jolly Balls on Amazon
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 Chow Chow as they are more engaging than static dog toys. See “Dog toys that move on their own” to learn more.
Playing Fetch with your Chow Chow is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. This game is best kept to short sessions as you don’t want to overdo it.A great alternative is to use an Automatic Ball Launcher so your dog can play Fetch by themselves. As the Chow Chow is trainable as long as you focus their attention they learn to use this with a little patience. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs”
Play with other dogs
Provide the opportunity for your Chow Chow to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills. Some Chow Chows are not good with other dogs. If you are unsure you should supervise the play.
Chow Chow mental stimulation
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 are ideal for all dogs to challenge their minds and test their problem-solving skills. Due to their 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.
This automatic rolling treat ball from Petgeek is activated by a soft touch from your dog and can last for up to 7 hours. Requires two AAA batteries and goes into sleep mode after a period of no activity.
Provides physical exercise and mental stimulation as they figure out how to release the treats. Can hold up to 380ml of kibble or small treats(sized up to 0.3 inches). This is ideal for the home alone dog also.
View the Petgeek Automatic Rolling Ball on Amazon
In addition to puzzle toys, Kongs for dogs are another great way to get your Chow Chow to solve a problem and challenge the mind. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.
Scenting and nose games
All dogs can 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.
Provide your Chow Chow 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.
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.
Turn mealtimes into an opportunity for your Chow Chow 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.
How much exercise does a Chow Chow puppy need?
The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult dog. 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. An 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 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 Chow Chow puppy is around 3 to 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 12 to 15 minutes is enough. Monitor your Chow Chow 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 Chow Chow puppy read “How to exercise your puppy”.
How much exercise does an older Chow Chow need
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.
Chow Chows can also suffer from hip dysplasia. This is not common in Chow Chows but it is an issue for some Chows. For more on exercise for a dog with hip dysplasia see here.
Summary – Chow Chow exercise requirements
Every Chow Chow is an individual and the amount of exercise they want or need varies. Some Chow Chows are couch potatoes while others are a lot more energetic.
In general, a Chow Chow needs 45 to 60 minutes of exercise and activity on a daily basis. This should include a walk of one or two walks of 15 to 25 minutes with additional activity and play. Strength and muscle building exercise is also helpful to keep their joints and muscles strong to prevent injury.
It is also important to provide mental stimulation to keep them occupied and prevent boredom. A bored dog will often look for ways to entertain themselves which can lead to behavior issues such as nuisance barking, destructive behavior and even escaping.
Let us know in the comments how much and ways you exercise your Chow Chow.