The Japanese Spitz is active, playful and smart. They are first and foremost a companion dog and thrive on human contact and attention. They enjoy being busy and love to be outdoors.
How much exercise does a Japanese Spitz need
The Japanese Spitz is fairly high energy and also very intelligent and requires 60 to 90 minutes of exercise and activity a day but would be more than happy to go for much longer.
Without the opportunity to release all that pent up energy and to challenge their minds they can develop behavior problems. This can include barking, digging, destructive behavior and escaping to explore on their own.
There are three main types of exercise and activity you must provide your Boston Terrier every day.
- Daily walk
- Purposeful activity and Free Play. (see Japenese Spitz Exercise ideas below)
- Mental stimulation
We will look at each of the three categories in more detail below. These recommendations are for a healthy adult Japanese Spitz The exercise needs of a puppy are different due to the fact that their bodies and bones are growing. For more information on how to exercise a Japanese Spitz puppy, see the bottom of this article.
For older dogs, the amount of exercise they need will be less. However, daily exercise is still crucial to keep there muscles and joints supple and to manage weight. For more information about exercising your senior Japanese Spitz, see the bottom of this article.
Japanese Spitz Walking
The daily walk is essential for a Japanese Spitz not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your Japanese Spitz to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds and smells they come across.
The length of the walk ideally, should be 30 to 45 minutes daily. 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 Japanese Spitz has good recall and comes on command, walks at the park off the leash are ideal. This will give them the opportunity to burn off more energy and explore stimulating their minds.
As Japanese Spitz has a high prey and chase instinct they tend not to be that good off-leash. You can use a retractable leash to allow them more freedom while maintaining control.
Japanese Spitz Exercise Ideas
The Japanese Spitz is quick and surprisingly agile. In addition to their daily walk, you need to find activities that can burn energy in a short period of time and use these skills.
The Japanese Spitz is very people orientated and likes being part of the family. Their favorite activities tend to be ones that involve you.
Here are some recommended exercise ideas for your Japanese Spitz –
Play with toys
Play with toys is a great way to get your Japanese Spitz active, occupied and mentally stimulated. Toys also provide a good training opportunity. See the secrets of the different types of toys to learn more.
A 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. It works directly with their natural prey instinct. Be sure they have a good leave it command and don’t allow them to destroy the toy. This game is excellent for burning up that pent-up energy in a short amount of time and great for teaching impulse control. For a full guide to flirt pole exercise for dogs see here.
View the range of flirt poles on Amazon.
This video giving good information about using and training with a flirt pole.
Tug of War
The Japanese Spitz love a good game of tug of war.. 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. Also, a great way to build muscle and strength. Another option is a Spring Pole (see below) that allows your Japanese Spitz to play tug of war by themselves.
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 that love a good game of tug of war.
View Spring Poles on Amazon.
Playing Fetch with your Japanese Spitz is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Japanese Spitz is generally ball or toy crazy 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 a Japanese Spitz is smart and highly trainable as long as you focus their attention they learn to use this quickly. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs”
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 can be played with when swimming. It also has a treat hole for dogs that are food motivated.
View the Wicked Ball on Amazon.
Japanese Spitz is agile and very good at running agility obstacles. 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.
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 Japanese Spitz as they cater directly to their chase and natural prey instincts. See “Dog toys that move on their own” to learn more.
Play with other dogs
Provide the opportunity for your Japanese Spitz to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills. It also provides social enrichment to help tire their minds.
Mental Stimulation for Japanese Spitz
Your Japanese Spitz 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 a 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.
Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs and has many benefits including maintaining dental health and keeping them occupied. It also as mental health benefits. When a dog chews it releases endorphins to their brain making them feel calm and relaxed helping to lift their overall mood.
For more on the benefits of chewing and the best chew toys for your dog see here.
Turn mealtimes into an opportunity for your Spitz 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 Japanese Spitz puppy need?
The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Japanese Spitz. 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 Japanese Spitz 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 Japanese Spitz 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 Japanese Spitz puppy read “How to exercise your puppy”
How much exercise does an older Japanese Spitz 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.
Summary – Japanese Spitz exercise requirements
A Japanese Spitz is fairly high energy and also very intelligent and 60 to 90 minutes of exercise and activity a day but would be more than happy for more.
This should include a daily walk of between 30 to 45minutes, plus free play and some purposeful activity (see above for Japanese Spitz exercise ideas). Mental stimulation and challenges should also be included to help challenge their minds and tire them mentally to prevent boredom.
Let us know in the comments how much and what type of exercise and activity your Japanese Spitz gets.