The Pomeranian, believe or not, is a descendant of large sled dog breeds. However, even though they are relatively energetic, they don’t need the exercise their bigger ancestors did.
The Pomeranian is what is referred to as an active companion breed. They require a moderate amount of exercise. They are not a lazy dog. Insufficient exercise and mental stimulation can result in too much pent-up energy and boredom. This can lead to behavior problems such as barking and destructive behavior.
Too much exercise for any dog can have consequences. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a dog that has overdone it. Read “Overexercised dog symptoms” for more information.
Exercise is important for a Pomeranian because it helps strengthen their circulatory and respiratory system, keeps their joints flexible and muscles toned, and helps improve their sleep and digestion. It is also helpful to manage their weight along with a healthy diet.
Pomeranian exercise needs
Their exercise needs can be broken down into three groups
- 1. a daily walk
- 2. free play and toys (moderate purposeful activity)
- 3. mental stimulation
We will look at each of these three categories along with suggested activities and type of exercise you can incorporate into their daily routine.
A Pomeranian requires a daily walk of between 20 – 30 minutes at a comfortable pace for them. You can take your Pomeranian out for a longer walk if you wish. This can be a walk on a leash around the block or can be off leash exploring at the local park. Walk at a pace that is brisk for your particular Pomeranian. You will want them to be comfortable yet be getting a benefit from the exercise.
The daily walk is not only a good way to release some pent up energy, but is also a good opportunity for training and is great for building your bond with each other. It also provides mental stimulation by way of the sights, sounds and smells they come across and social interaction with other dogs you meet along the way.
A short daily walk is more beneficial that nothing all week with a long walk at the weekend. If you prefer you can take you Pomeranian for two shorter walks instead.
Obviously, every dog is an individual even of the same breed. By observing your Pomeranian you can assess how long of a walk they need. If they are panting excessively or falling behind they have probably had enough. It is probably a good idea to end the walk. If they are happily trotting along you can choose to walk a bit further.
I would recommend walking your Pomeranian using a harness rather than leash attached to a collar. This is due to their small size making it possible to hurt them if you pull to hard.
Also, be aware that Pomeranians can overheat quickly to their thick coat and small heart making it harder to cool themselves. Read “Exercising a dog in hot weather” and “How to keep a dog cool in hot weather” for tips.
Free play and toys (moderate purposeful activity)
The Pomeranian is a playful little dog. They enjoy a good game with people, other dogs and often by themselves. Provide the opportunity for them to play whenever possible. This will help burn energy, stimulate their mind and strengthen their bond with you. Some suggestions for free play include;
The Pomeranian in most cases is what we term a light or moderate chewer. This means they tend not to be overly destructive with their toys. Dogs like this quite often favor Plush Toys. To learn more about the benefits and uses of your dog’s toys read “Secrets to the benefits of your dog’s toys”
Dog toys that move on their own.
There is a range of dog toys that shake, rattle, roll and move on their own. These are ideal for a Pomeranian as it encourages them to play. Read “Dog toys that move on their own” for more information.
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.
Fetch is a favorite game for most dogs. It not only gets a dog moving but is also a great bonding activity for you both. A great way to exercise your Pomeranian inside is to use an automatic ball launcher with the mini balls. As Pomeranians are quite smart, they can learn to use one relatively quickly. Read “Automatic ball launchers for dogs” to learn more.
Play with other dogs
Provide the opportunity for your Pomeranian to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills. Ensure they you match them with similar small dogs or gentle big dogs. You want the play to be fun and not be a scary experience for them.
There are countless fun games that you can play with your dog. Check out “50 Boredom Busters and games for dogs” for ideas.
Your Pomeranian will get some mental stimulation and enrichment from their daily walk and time spent with free play. However, it is a good idea to provide other activities that stimulate the mind. Mental exercise can burn as much energy as physical exercise. Many dog behavior problems are the direct result of boredom. Read “Mental enrichment and mind stimulation for dogs” to learn about the six categories of enrichment for dogs.
Some ideas to provide mental stimulation include;
Puzzle toys are a great way to test your dog’s intelligence and improve their problem-solving skills. Check out “Top puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.
Kong toys which you stuff with food and treats work in much the same way. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.
Puzzle toys are great for times when your dog is home alone. If your dog is home alone while you are at work or out you may find some helpful information at “Leaving a dog alone while at work”
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. Pomeranians are great at tricks and this can provide hours of entertainment for you both.
Chewing is a natural instinct for dogs and has many benefits including keeping them busy and occupying and stimulating their minds. To learn more about the benefits of and the best chew toys see here.
Turn mealtimes into an opportunity for your Pomeranian 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 should you exercise a Pomeranian puppy
The exercise suggestion above relates to a healthy adult Pomeranian. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscles, and joints are still growing and developing.
Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. 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 Pomeranian 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 2 – 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 8 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor your Pomeranian 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 puppy exercise read “How to exercise a puppy”
How much exercise does an older Pomeranian 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.
So, how much exercise does a Pomeranian need?
The Pomeranian doesn’t require excessive exercise, but it is still important to provide moderate exercise to keep their bodies and minds active. By providing a short walk each day of between 20 to 30 minutes, some free play, and mental enrichment you will have a happy, healthy and well behaved little dog.