How Much Exercise Does a Pitbull Need? [At Every Age]

Exercise is considered one of the most important parts of any Pit Bull’s daily routine. It helps fulfill the dog’s physical and mental needs, allowing them to maintain a healthy lifestyle and remain in good shape.

However, how much exercise a Pit Bull needs will vary from one dog to another, depending on several factors.

A Pit Bull needs about 15 to 30 minutes of daily exercise when it’s at the early stages of its development, and by the time it reaches adulthood (18 months of age), it will need 45 to 60 minutes of daily exercise or more. The duration and intensity of the exercise depend on the dog’s age, health, and energy. 

Continue reading to learn more about how much exercise does a pitbull need at different ages and how to establish a good exercise routine with the best kinds of exercise for your dog.

Factors That Determine How Much Exercise Pit Bulls Need

Pit Bulls are naturally energetic, and they tend to enjoy being active. They also have large muscular builds and high levels of stamina, allowing them to stay active longer than most other breeds.

Due to their nature, they need to be exercised regularly to release their energy. However, how much exercise Pit Bulls need, including the duration and intensity of the exercise, varies from one dog to another, depending on factors such as the dog’s age, health, and energy levels.

So, let’s take a closer look at these factors and how they affect how much exercise Pit Bulls need:

The Dog’s Age

In the early stages of their lives, Pit Bulls should be exercised for less time and with less intensity. 

Their bodies wouldn’t be fully developed as puppies. This means that any intense physical exercise could hinder their development and put them at risk of various health problems, such as having weak bones and joints, disproportionate muscle growth, muscle strain, and hip displacement.

By the time they reach full growth, Pit Bulls will be able to handle exercising for a longer time and with more intensity. However, keep in mind that when Pit Bulls get old, they wouldn’t be able to exercise as much.

The Dog’s Health

Pit Bulls are susceptible to developing some health problems that could hinder their ability to do intense physical activities for extended periods of time, such as torn CCL, hip dysplasia, and arthritis.

If the dog suffers from any health problems or has any kind of energy, it should be exercised for less time and with lower intensity; otherwise, you’ll risk doing more damage and making the dog’s condition worse.

The Dog’s Energy Levels

Even though Pit Bulls are a generally active breed, their energy level can still vary from one dog to another.

Some dogs have higher energy levels than others, so they will need to be exercised more to keep them in good shape and prevent them from becoming hyperactive. You need to monitor your dog’s body energy levels and adjust the time and intensity of its exercise routine accordingly.

How Much Exercise Does a Pit Bull Need at Different Ages?

Younger Pit Bulls should be exercised for less time and with less intensity than older Pit Bulls.

Check the following table for a quick breakdown of how much exercise a Pit Bull would need at different ages in terms of duration and intensity:

AgeStageDurationLevel of Intensity
6 weeks to a yearPuppy10 to 15 minutes per dayDaily walks
12-18 months Adolescent15 to 30 minutes per dayDaily walks and low-intensity activities
18 months to 8-9 yearsAdult45 to 60+ minutes per dayDaily walks, high-intensity activities, and strength training
8-9 years and olderSenior15 to 30 minutes per dayDaily walks and low-intensity activities (depending on the dog’s health)

What Kind of Exercises Do Pit Bulls Need?

Pitbull playing with red toy to show how much exercise does a pitbull need

There are three main kinds of exercises that Pit Bulls need to have in their routine in order for them to release their energy healthily as well as stay in good shape.

So, let’s discuss these kinds of exercises in more detail:

Daily Walks

Going on walks is the easiest way to physically exercise the dog and help it release any excess energy.

It will also contribute to the dog’s training and socialization as you will be able to reinforce your dog’s command training and leash training during the walk and allow the dog to interact with new sights, sounds, smells, and people while it’s outside.

Purposeful Activities and Strength Training

The dog’s routine should include various physical activities with different intensity levels to help the dog burn energy while practicing other skills.

It should also include some strength training to develop the dog’s muscles and help keep its body in good shape.

Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation is just as essential as physical exercise and should be included in the dog’s routine.

It will help develop the dog’s intelligence and skills. It will also keep the dog occupied to prevent it from becoming too bored or depressed.

What Happens If Pit Bulls Don’t Get Enough Exercise?

Not getting enough exercise will harm the dog’s physical health and behavior.

If Pit Bulls don’t get enough exercise, they will be at risk of becoming severely overweight and developing various other health problems.

They will also become hyperactive as they will have lots of excess energy with no way to release it. This will lead them to exhibit various destructive behaviors to release that excess energy.

How to Tell When Your Pit Bull Isn’t Getting Enough Exercise?

You need to be on the lookout for various physical and behavioral to tell when your Pit Bull isn’t getting enough exercise.

Let’s take a quick look at these signs:

  • Your dog will gain weight more quickly, and its muscles will be underdeveloped
  • Your dog will be running around and jumping excessively
  • Your dog will sometimes bark loudly for no apparent reason
  • Your dog will sometimes paw or dig holes in the ground
  • Your dog will have a very short attention span and often fail to respond to commands
  • Your dog will often have accidents inside the house despite being potty trained
  • Your dog will act rough or display some aggressive behaviors

How to Establish a Good Exercise Routine for Your Pitbull?

As a responsible owner, you need to establish a good exercise routine for your Pit Bulls to keep up with. This routine should also ideally fit your schedule, especially if you have a 9 to 5 job that will keep you busy most of the day.

When scheduling your dog’s exercise routine, it’s recommended to combine it with the rest of the dog’s training sessions to save more time throughout the day and reinforce the dog’s ability to follow commands.

It’s also recommended to divide the exercise routine into short intervals instead of one long continuous session, and each interval should have different kinds of exercises and activities. This will keep the dog active throughout the day and prevent straining it.

For example, you can start with the dog’s daily walk and a short session of high-intensity physical activities at the beginning of the day, and then you can have one or two other sessions of low-intensity physical or mentally stimulating activities at the end of the day.

This is especially important when it’s summer, as Pit Bulls don’t do so well in hot weather. So, limiting their time outside during the day and continuing the exercise at night is a good idea as it reduces the risk of them getting overheated during their morning or afternoon walks or jogs. 

If your dog starts to feel tired during an exercise session, you need to give it a break before continuing the session. Otherwise, the dog might strain its muscles and end up with a more severe injury.  

The Best Physical Exercises for Pit Bulls

Now, let’s take a look at some of the physical and mental exercises you include in your Pitbull exercise routine.

Walking or Running

One of the simplest and quickest exercises to do with your dog is taking them on daily walks.

It’s recommended to start at low intensity at the beginning by keeping the walks short to about 15 minutes or more. Gradually increase the duration to about 30 minutes as your dog grows older and more used to walking.

To increase the intensity of the exercise further, you can increase the speed of the walk to running. You can also add extra resistance by walking on sand or uphill terrains, as well as having your dog wear a weighted vest.

If you’re taking your dog on a walk or run, make sure to monitor your dog’s energy levels and be on the lookout for any sign that it’s getting too tired. If your dog does get tired during the walk, make sure to give it a short break before continuing to prevent muscle strain or any severe injuries.

Also, avoid walking your dog on harsh terrains or in extreme weather conditions to reduce the dog’s chances of getting injured or sick.

Climbing Stairs

If you can’t take your dog outside on a walk or prefer exercising indoors, then having your dog climb stairs inside your house or apartment building would be the best form of exercise for you.

Similar to what we discussed with walking, it’s recommended to start at low intensity by asking the dog to go up and down the stairs for 15 to 20 minutes, then gradually increase the duration up to 30 minutes.

You can ask your dog to follow you as you go up and down the stairs, or you can make the exercise more challenging by throwing a ball for the dog to fetch as they go up and down the stairs.

Flirt Poles

A flirt pole is basically a long stick made of plastic or light wood that has a rope attached to it with a lure at the end to catch the dog’s attention.

It’s one of the best exercise toys for dogs as it allows the dog to move around while developing its coordination skills as well as its catch and release skills. It’s very convenient as it can be used to exercise the dog outdoors and indoors.

All you need to do is hold the pole in your hand and move the lure along the ground in circles or in different directions for your dog to chase. This is a low-intensity exercise, so you can include it in the dog’s routine for about 15 minutes, along with other forms of exercise.

There are various kinds of flirt poles with different designs and sizes. You can purchase them here on Amazon.

Weight Pulling

Weight pulling is a dog sport where the dog pulls a certain amount of weight attached to a harness for a set duration or distance. You can include this form of exercise into your dog’s routine as strength training and to develop the dog’s muscles further.

This is considered an advanced form of exercise and should only be done by a healthy adult dog. It should also be done using a weight that’s no heavier than 10% of the dog’s weight and a proper pulling harness that’s designed to evenly distribute the weight over the dog’s body to prevent straining its muscles.

I recommend the pulling harness from PET ARTIST, which you can find on Amazon here. My dogs seem to be quite comfortable in it, and so far, it is one of the highest quality ones I’ve tested. You can also check it out by clicking on its image below. 

It’s recommended to start at low intensity by having the dog drag a light amount of weight for 5 to 10 meters while giving the dog a 2-minute break before repeating. Gradually increase the amount of weight, distance, and the number of repetitions as the dog becomes more comfortable.

Fetching Games

Fetching is another simple form of exercise that will keep the dog moving while developing its catch-and-release skills. It’s also very convenient as it can be played indoors and outdoors.

All you need to do is toss a ball or a toy in any direction, then have your dog fetch it by commanding it to or letting it follow its instincts. You can start by tossing the ball at a low level, then make it more challenging by tossing it higher or further.

This is a low-intensity exercise, so you can include it in the dog’s routine for about 15 minutes, along with other forms of exercise.

Frisbee Tossing

Frisbee tossing is a more advanced form of fetching game as it requires more agility and good timing from the dog to catch the frisbee mid-air.

You can toss the frisbee to your dog at a low level at first, then gradually throw it higher and further as the dog gets better at catching it. This is a low-intensity exercise, so you can include it in the dog’s routine for about 15 minutes, along with other forms of exercise.

Obstacle Courses

Obstacle courses are excellent for providing the dog with physical exercise and mental stimulation at the same time.

You can easily create your own obstacle course out of common household objects such as pillows, chairs, and low tables. If you don’t have the time, you can simply buy one.

I recommend this obstacle course kit here on Amazon, which comes with different kinds of hurdles that the dog can go through.

All you need to do is set up the obstacle course indoors or outdoors while making sure your dog has enough space to move around and jump. Next, you need to guide your dog through the course by commanding it or letting it follow its instincts.

It’s recommended to start at low intensity by having the dog go through a short course with few obstacles, then gradually make the course longer and introduce more obstacles as the dog successfully masters the old ones.

The Best Mental Exercises for Pit Bulls

Mental exercises help your Pitbull stay sharp, intelligent, and quick to respond. Here are some of the best mental exercises for your Pitbull.

Food Enrichment

It’s a good idea to incorporate some mental stimulation into your dog’s snack time by having it do an activity that will require it to work for the food instead of feeding it from a bowl as normal.

One of the best ways to do this kind of exercise is to use a treat dispenser toy.

I recommend the food dispenser from our Pet IQ which you can find on amazon here. It’s shaped like a bowl, so all you need to do is felt with treats or dry food, then toss it to your dog so it can retrieve the food dispensed as the ball rolls over.

You can do this exercise for about 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day or whenever your dog usually eats its snacks. You can also make it more challenging by making the dispenser’s opening small, so the dog will have to work harder to retrieve the treat.

Puzzle Toys

There’s a wide variety of dog puzzle toys with different intensity levels, all with the main objective of having the dog use its skills to solve the puzzle and earn a reward.

You can have your dog play with these puzzle toys to keep it stimulated while helping it develop various different skills and teaching it to stay focused on a specific task for a period of time.

Solving a puzzle toy should take about 15 to 20 minutes to solve, depending on the intensity level of the puzzle and the dog’s skill.

My Pitbulls absolutely love this board puzzle toy here from Amazon that comes in different designs and intensity levels. It will allow the dog to interact with different knobs and sliders as well as multiple open flaps to find hidden treats.

Treat Hunting Games

You can include some treat-hunting games into your dog’s exercise routine to develop scent recognition skills and tracking skills.

All you need to do is hide some treats in different locations, indoors or outdoors, then leave a scent trail using ore treats for your dog to sniff and follow until it reaches the location of the hidden treats.

If you are looking for a treat-hunting game, I can honestly recommend this sniffing mat here on Amazon. For the price, I really have not find anything that comes close to it.

It’s made up of various colorful fabrics you can hide treats in for the dog to find by relying on its sense of smell.

This low-intensity exercise should take about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the dog’s skill. You can increase the intensity level and make it more challenging by hiding the treats in more obscure locations.

How to Tell That Your Pit Bull Is Over-exercised?

Even though Pit Bulls are a highly energetic breed, they still have a limit to how much physical activity they can do in a day.

Over-exercising your dog will put it at risk of straining its muscles and other more severe injuries. So, you need to observe your dog’s body language throughout the session and look out for any sign that it has reached its limit.

Here are the signs you should look out for to tell that your Pit Bull is over-exercised:

  • Your dog will be disoriented and fail to follow your commands
  • Your dog will be excessively drooling and panting
  • Your dog will be extremely thirsty
  • Your dog will have decreased energy levels
  • Your dog will have trouble walking or standing
  • Your dog will suffer from muscle tremors

If you notice that your dog is over-exercised, you need to give it at least one day without any physical exercise to allow its muscles enough time to recover. Otherwise, you’ll be putting it at risk of developing more severe problems.

What Are the Risks of Over-exercising for Pit Bulls?

The risks of overexercising for Pit Bulls include severe muscle strain, joint damage, and tearing of the CCL ligament, which will cause the dog pain as well as difficulties with movement. The Symptoms of these conditions include limping, shaking, stiffness in the legs, swelling, and lack of coordination.

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