Trainer reveals the best way to exercise your dog — and the answer may just surprise you!

Woman playing with dog in park
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Think walking your dog each day is the best way to tire them out? Well, think again, because according to an expert trainer, there's a whole lot more to a good exercise session than simply striding it out.

"There's a misconception out there that to exercise a dog and meet their needs, all you have to do is to take them for a walk around the block," says Julianna DeWillems, the founder of JW Dog Training & Behavior.

But according to DeWillems, there's so much more to exercise than walking.

If you find yourself spending the majority of the walk with your dog worrying about avoiding the most common loose leash walking mistakes or figuring out the reasons why your dog's recall isn't reliable, it turns out that you could be missing a trick. 

Read on to find out DeWillems's recipe for the perfect exercise session with your pup...

In a video posted to Instagram, which you can view above, DeWillems says many dogs need more than a simple walk around the block each day to fulfil their need for mental and physical stimulation.

"Many dogs, especially younger ones, benefit from more space and time to sniff, explore, and move their bodies," she explains. 

"Being restricted to a walk in a straight line on a short leash is often not nearly enough to meet the exercise and enrichment needs of most dogs."

Although DeWillems can be seen in the video exercising her dog in the woods, she says it's easy to change your mindset around exercise to provide your dog with ways to sniff, explore,and move their body no matter where you live or how much time you have. 

"We completely understand that walking your dog around the block might be all you have the ability for at times. The good news is by switching your mindset from 'this 20 minute walk is enough exercise for you' to 'these 20 minutes outside where you get to sniff and move and cover some ground is one way to satisfy your needs as a dog' can be really helpful," she explains.

Check out the benefits of sniffing for yourself in this sniffari article, where a dog owner reveals how letting their dog sniff for 45-minutes tired them out more than a two hour walk. 

And to help make those exercise sessions as enjoyable as possible for you and your pup, our 12 clever ways to have more fun with your dog on walks has got you covered. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.