Standard Schnauzer exercise needs and ideas guide

Standard Schnauzer at a dog show

The Standard Schnauzer has been used as an all purpose utility dog. German farmers and land owners has used them as ratters, hunting dogs, watch dogs and for herding. They are a true working breed.

Standard Schnauzers are smart. Many fans of the breed claim they have a human brain they think so much. This can be a blessing or a curse. This means they need plenty of mental stimulation and enrichment.

They are known to be strong-willed and high-spirited. The Standard Schnauzer is also relatively easy to train and they are loyal. Being a working breed they are energetic and have a high level of stamina. They are playful dogs that like to be outside and the company of people and other dogs.

How much exercise does a Standard Schnauzer need

A Standard Schnauzer needs a minimum of one hour a day of exercise and activity, but wouldn’t say no to more. Due to their intelligence, they also need plenty of mental stimulation and enrichment to occupy their minds.

They can become bored easily if their exercise needs, both physical and mental, are not meant. This can result in behavior issues and them making a nuisance of themselves.

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

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

We will look at each of these three categories in turn. These recommendations relate to a healthy adult dog. The exercise needs for a puppy are different due to the fact that they are still growing and developing. See the bottom of this article for details of how to exercise a puppy.

For older senior dogs from around 7 to 8 years of age on the volume of exercise needed will decrease. However, it is still crucial to provide sufficient exercise to maintain a healthy weight and to keep muscle and tendons supple and strong. See the bottom of this article for more on the exercise needs of an older Standard Schnazuer breed.

Can you over-exercise a Standard Schnauzer

Is it possible to over-exercise your Standard Schnauzer? Over-exercising any dog can have severe consequences such as muscle, tendon and joint injury, overheating and heatstroke and even collapse. It is important for a dog owner to know the signs to watch for to prevent over-exercising their dog. Read “Over exercised dog symptoms” to learn more about potential problems and solutions.

Walking requirements of Standard Schnauzers

The daily walk is essential for all high energy breeds like the Standard Schnauzer. This is not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your dog to stimulate the mind with the sights, sounds, and smells they come across.

The length of the walk is only limited by your time and energy as a working dog like this can go all day long. Ideally, the minimum 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. A gentle walk around the block simply will not be sufficient. It needs to be a brisk pace to get their heart rate up.

If your Standard Schnauzer has good recall and comes on command, walks at the park off the leash are ideal. Alternatively, you can use a retractable leash to allow them more freedom while maintaining control. In general, working breeds are obedient and usually have good recall if trained.

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.

These dogs make excellent hiking companions and can walk for long distances over difficult terrain. If you have access to a location where you can take them hiking, it is highly recommended.

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.

Standard Schnauzer walking

Exercise ideas for Standard Schnauzers

Flirt Pole

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.

This activity is ideal for a Standard Schnauzer as it works the whole body and strengthens their muscles. Be sure they have a good “leave it” command and don’t allow them to destroy the toy. It is important that this be a controlled exercise. For a full guide to flirt pole exercise for dogs see here.

View Flirt Poles on Amazon

Fetch

Playing Fetch with your Standard Schnauzer is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Standard Schnauzers are 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 the Standard Schnauzer is 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

Jolly Ball

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. Being a working dog this is a great activity that caters to their natural herding instincts.

Frisbee Toss

Most dogs can chase and catch a ball. But a Frisbee requires a little bit more skill, coordination, and timing. Standard Schnauzers are agile and 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.

Backyard agility

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.

Stair Exercise

A good energy burner 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 as fast as they can. Have them return down the stairs at a slower pace to avoid injury.

Walking up stairs or a hill strengthens the rear legs as the full body weight 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.

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 Standard Schnauzer 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.

Tug of War

A firm favorite of all strong 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. Also, a great way to build muscle and strength.

Dog toys that move on their own

There are many dog toys available that shake, rattle, roll and move about on their own. This activity would be best as a supervised and control game as a dog like the Standard Schnauzer could destroy these types of toys. See “Dog toys that move on their own” to learn more.

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.

Play with other dogs

Provide the opportunity for your Standard Schnauzer to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills. Most Standard Schnauzers are generally dog friendly. However, it is a good idea to supervise to prevent any issues.

Dog sports

There are many dog sports that your Standard Schnauzer would enjoy including agility or fly ball. Consider enrolling your Standard Schnauzer in a local club. You can enter as a serious competitor or simply for fun.

Mental stimulation for Standard Schnauzers

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

Puzzle toys are ideal for dogs like the Standard Schnauzer to challenge their minds and test their problem-solving skills. Due to their high 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.

In addition to puzzle toys, Kongs for dogs are another great way to get your Standard Schnazuer to solve a problem and challenge the mind. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.

Scenting and nose games

Standard Schnazuers 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.

Chew Toys

Provide your Standard Schnazuer 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 Standard Schnauzer 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.

Standard Schnauzer puppy exercise

The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Standard Schnauzer. 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 Standard Schnauzer 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 Standard Schnauzer 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 Standard Schnauzer puppy read “How to exercise your puppy

How much exercise does an older Standard Schnauzer 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.

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

Summary – Standard Schnauzer exercise requirements

The Standard Schnauzer is high energy and has good levels of stamina. They are also very smart and need to have their minds occupied as well.

It is crucial to provide adequate physical and mental exercise and activity to release pent-up energy and prevent boredom. A minimum of 60 minutes a day of exercise including purposeful activity and muscle strengthening and activities that provide mental stimulation is recommended.

The cost of not doing so can be an unhappy and frustrated dog. This can lead to behavior issues such as barking, digging, escaping, and destructive behavior.

Let us know in the comments how you have and how you exercise your Standard Schnauzer.

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