Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Exercise Needs Guide

Wheaten Terrier exerciseThe Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a medium-sized dog that originated from Ireland. They are a working dog used for vermin hunting, guarding, and all-around farm work.

The Wheaten Terrier is highly intelligent, active, and needs plenty of human interaction.

How much exercise does a Wheaten Terrier need

Wheaten Terriers 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 Wheaten Terrier dog every day.

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

This recommended exercise quantity and ideas are for a healthy adult Wheaten Terrier. 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 Wheaten Terrier 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.

Wheaten Terrier Heat Intolerance

The Wheaten Terrier does not 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
Wheaten 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.

Wheaten Terrier Walking

Wheaten Terrier walkingThe daily walk is essential for a Wheaten Terrier not only to release some pent-up energy. The walk allows your Wheaten Terrier 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. 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 Wheaten Terrier 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.

Wheaten Terrier Exercise Ideas

In addition to the daily walk, it is important to include other activities in their daily routine. This will aid in helping to tire them out further, condition and strengthen their muscles, improve the cardiovascular system of the heart and lungs, and provide enrichment. Here are some suggested purposeful activities to do with your Wheaten Terrier.

Swimming

When it comes to swimming, the Wheaten Terrier fits into two groups. Some absolutely love water and you can’t keep them out. Others despise water and will not go near it. If your Wheaten Terrier is a swimmer it is an ideal exercise for them.

Swimming is also one of the best exercises for any dog. The benefits of swimming for your Wheaten Terrier include

  • a strenuous activity that burns energy fast.
  • helps strengthen and tone muscles from the resistance provided by the water.
  • is a low impact activity that doesn’t put a strain on joints and tendons.
  • is an ideal therapy for a dog recovering from injury or surgery – see what is Canine Hydrotherapy to learn more.
  • Some Wheatens love to swim and will want to do it

If you don’t have access to a pool, river, lake or the ocean for your dog to use most cities have canine hydrotherapy centers especially for dogs to swim.

For more on swimming exercise for dogs see here.

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 Ridgeback 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.

A Flirt pole is also a good training tool and helps to teach impulse control. Watch the video to learn more about training with a Flirt pole.

View Flirt Poles on Amazon

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.

Alternatively, have your Wheaten Terrier walk slowly up the stairs one step at a time. This way they are putting their full body weight on each leg. This makes stair exercise more of a strength and muscle conditioning exercise.

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.

Tug of War

A firm favorite of Wheaten Terrier or 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.

Spring Pole

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.

Fetch

Playing Fetch with your dog is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Many Wheaten Terrier love a good game of fetch. Even if your Wheaten Terrier 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 Wheaten Terriers are smart and very trainable they can be taught to use one of these. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs

Play with other dogs

Provide the opportunity for your Wheaten Terrier to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills. Wheaten Terriers are generally good with other dogs but make sure this is a supervised activity anyway.

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.

Dog toys that move on their own

There are many dog toys available that shake, rattle, roll and move about on their own. As many Wheaten Terriers love a good chase these toys provide enrichment and get them moving. This activity would be best as a supervised and control game as they could destroy these types of toys. See “Dog toys that move on their own” to learn more.

 

There are countless more activities you can do with your Wheaten Terrier to burn pent-up energy quickly and condition their muscles. For more ideas, check out “How to tire a hyper high energy dog” and “Tire a dog quickly”. You may also like “47 Boredom Busters and games for dogs”

For more information on strength and muscles conditioning activities check out “Muscle building and Strength exercises for dogs” and “How to make your dog gain muscle

Mental Stimulation for Wheaten Terriers

All dogs need an outlet for their minds, especially highly intelligent breeds like the Wheaten Terrier. 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 Wheaten Terrier 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 Wheaten to solve a problem and challenge the mind. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.

Scenting and nose games

Wheaten Terriers, 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.

Chew Toys

Provide your Wheaten Terrier 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 Wheaten Terrier 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.

Wheaten Terrier Puppy Exercise Needs

Wheaten Terrier puppy exerciseThe exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Wheaten Terrier. 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 Wheaten 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 Wheaten Terrier 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 Wheaten Terrier puppy read “How to exercise your puppy

Senior Wheaten Terrier Exercise Needs

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.

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

Summary – Wheaten Terrier Exercise Needs

Wheaten Terriers 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.

Let us know in the comments how much exercise your Wheaten Terrier gets daily and ways you exercise them.

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