The Samoyed was originally bred as a companion and utility working dog for the northwestern Siberia’s Samoyede people. Their duties included hunting, pulling sleds, tracking, and herding reindeer. They would also help keep them warm by sleeping with them in their tents. As a result, Samoyeds love human company and being close to people.
The Samoyed is a very active dog and extremely smart. It is important to provide sufficient exercise and activity including mental exercise. Failing to keep them occupied can lead to behavior issues. See below for more on this.
How much exercise does a Samoyed need
Samoyeds 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 Samoyed exercise ideas below)
- 3. Mental stimulation
This recommended exercise quantity and ideas are for a healthy adult Samoyed. 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 Samoyed 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.
Samoyed Heat Tolerance
The Samoyed was breed for cold climates and don’t tolerant heat that well. 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 important for a
Samoyed owner to beware of the signs and symptoms of overheating.
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.
Samoyed Behavior Issues
The Samoyed is a breed that needs to be kept busy. Failure to provide your Samoyed with plenty of activity and occupy their minds can result in some behavioral problems. This can include nuisance barking, destructive chewing, and even escaping.
Samoyeds are also prolific diggers. Digging is a natural instinctive behavior for dogs and this is especially true for Samoyeds. This becomes a problem if they are digging up your yard and garden or even carpet and furniture. You can’t really train a strong instinct out of a dog, but you can redirect this behavior in a more acceptable direction. This may include providing them their own digging pit or providing activities that cater to this digging instinct. See below for digging activities for your Samoyed.
Samoyeds are also very people orientated and need companionship. Leaving them home alone a lot can result in destructive chewing, destructive behavior, and barking. For tips on leaving a dog home alone see here.
The daily walk is essential for a Samoyed not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your Samoyed 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 Samoyed 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.
Samoyed Exercise Ideas and Activities
The Samoyed 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 Samoyed.
Samoyeds are diggers. Provide your Samoyed with their own digging area or a digging box. Simply fill up a Sand Box with soil or sand, hide some chews or toys in it to encourage them to dig only there. If you choose to use sand be aware that the sand can get quite hot in the warmer weather. Just wet down the sand before allowing your dog to use it. Check out the range of Sand Pits on Amazon.
This is the first dog toy that has been specially designed to cater to your dog’s natural digging instinct. You simply hide their favorite toy or treats in the flaps and let them dig away to uncover the hidden treasure. Not only will the action of digging help burn off pent-up energy, but the mental challenge of working out how to get to the goodies will help to tire them also.
Check out the video to see how this works or view the iDig Go on Amazon.
For more Dog toys for diggers see here.
Playing Fetch with your dog is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Many Samoyeds love to play with balls. Even if your Samoyed 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 Samoyeds are smart and very trainable they can be taught to use one of these. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs”
Most dogs can chase and catch a ball. But a Frisbee requires a little bit more skill, coordination, and timing. Samoyeds look spectacular 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 Samoyed 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.
Samoyeds love the company of people and other dogs and in general, are very social and friendly.
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
Samoyeds 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 Samoyed 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.
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
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.
Urban mushing is similar to regular mushing with wheels and no snow. To get started you need 3 things. A wheeled vehicle such as a scooter, a pulling harness for your Husky, and a scooter line for the dog to pull you along in your scooter. It is important to use a correct pulling harness. These distribute the stain evenly over your dog’s body to avoid injury.
Weight pulling is an actual dog sport but you can incorporate this type of exercise into your dog’s muscle building and strength program. The most important thing is that you use a proper weight pulling harness. These are designed to distribute the weight evenly over your dog’s body.
Start with a light amount of weight and have your dog drag the weight 10 to 20 metres. Give them a rest for 2 minutes and repeat. As with conditioning your dog to run, start off easy and gradually increase the amount of weight and number of repetitions over time.
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 Samoyed see the best ways to exercise a dog.
Mental Stimulation for a Samoyed
All dogs need an outlet for their minds, especially highly intelligent breeds like the Samoyed. 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 dogs like the Samoyed 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 Samoyed to solve a problem and challenge the mind. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.
Scenting and nose games
Samoyeds, 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.
Provide your Samoyed 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 Samoyed 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.
Samoyed Puppy Exercise Needs
The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Samoyed. 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 Samoyed 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 Samoyed 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 Samoyed puppy read “How to exercise your puppy”
Senior Samoyed Exercise
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.
Samoyeds are also a breed that is prone to hip dysplasia. Read “Exercise for a dog with hip dysplasia” to learn more.
Summary – Samoyed Exercise Requirements
Samoyeds are a very active and playful dog and require one to two hours of exercise and activity every day. They are also a smart breed and it is important to provide mental stimulation and a challenge for their minds.
Failure to keep a Samoyed occupied and provide sufficient exercise and mental stimulation can result in behavior issues. This can include nuisance barking and howling, destructive chewing and unwanted digging.