Most owners know that their energetic Vizsla needs a lot of exercise, but how much is actually enough? In this article, I run through one of the most commonly asked questions about Vizslas as well as the top FAQs on this topic.
How Much Exercise Do Vizslas Need?
Healthy adult Vizslas need at least two hours of moderate-high intensity exercise per day. Exercise is best split up into two different sessions, one hour in the morning and another in the evening.
Two hours is the standard benchmark that all adult vizslas with no underlying health issues should receive. Some vizsla may even benefit from more than two hours per day.
By separating the exercise into two different sessions you’ll be keeping your vizsla stimulated sufficiently at the start and end of the day. This will lead to a calmer happier vizsla down the line.
If your vizsla has existing health issues or joint problems then it’s advised to consult your veterinarian for a tailored exercise plan.
How Much Exercise Do Vizsla PUPPIES Need?
Vizsla puppies should not follow the same exercise plan as an adult. All pups go through an intense growth and development stage from around 3-10 months of age.
During this stage, their entire physical body is going through major changes and is prone to injury. Although exercise is still important, the risk of over-exercising and causing short or long-term injuries is very high.
Before your vizsla puppy is fully grown, he should follow the 5-minute per-day-per-month method. So this means when your vizsla is 4 months old, he’ll be on 20 minutes of exercise per day, at 5 months old he’ll be on 25 minutes per day. And so on.
This method is well-known and approved by breeders and veterinarians. Following this plan will ensure you give your puppy sufficient exercise, without pushing him too much.
It’s advised to follow this plan until your vizsla puppy is around 10-12 months of age, which at this point you can increase his exercise to that of an adult.
Why Exercise Is So Important For Vizslas
When it comes to hard-working breeds like the Vizsla, exercise is one of the most important aspects of their entire life. And not just to remain healthy, but to remain happy and well-behaved.
Vizslas were used for hundreds of years for hunting, pointing, and retrieving wild game. Most of their life was spent outside, working relentlessly… And they loved that.
From this, we know that it’s literally in a vizsla’s DNA to be outside, working, and exercising. They absolutely must be “put to work” both physically and mentally in order to be happy and properly stimulated.
Without a considerable amount of daily exercise, a vizsla will ultimately channel their huge energy stores elsewhere, and we all know what that means!
Negative effects from a lack of exercise:
● Increased stress and anxiety
● Biting and barking issues
● Destructive behavior
● General unruliness
● Clingy/needy behavior
Honestly, nearly all of the behavioral problems I have ever been asked about (to do with vizslas), are almost always a result of not receiving enough exercise. Once that was changed, the issues subsided. Sounds almost like a magical cure, right!
Related article: 9 Things you must know BEFORE getting a vizsla!
What About Mental Exercise?
It’s frequently mentioned that without sufficient mental exercise, it doesn’t matter how much physical exercise your vizsla receives, he’ll never be tired. This highlights the importance of mental exercise!
Mental exercise focuses on working the mind rather than the physical body. Solving challenges, and encouraging your vizsla to THINK all counts as mental stimulation.
Ways to provide mental stimulation on a daily basis:
● 30 minutes of daily command training (practicing sit, stay, down, come here, paw)
● Playing nose work games (like finding hidden treats)
● Using interactive puzzle toys
● Interacting and communicating with your vizsla
● Socializing with other dogs and people
● Practice agility training (both physical and mental exercise)
How much mental stimulation should be given per day? Well, when it comes to mental stimulation, it’s usually the more the better. At the very least, 30 minutes to 1 hour of dedicated mental stimulation activities should be provided each day.
Remember that without putting your vizsla’s mind to work, he’ll recoup his energy from physical exertion extremely quickly.
7 Awesome Exercise Ideas For Vizslas
If you are able to keep your exercise routines diverse and different, this will help to keep your vizsla consistently engaged and excited for every walk. Here are seven great ways to exercise your vizsla.
1. Hiking ⭐
If you live somewhere that offers hiking routes and trails then be sure to take advantage of them! Hiking is an excellent way to incorporate mental stimulation with his exercise. The different terrain, smells, sights, and noises will awaken your vizsla’s senses much more than chasing his ball non-stop.
Of course, ensure the hike is dog-friendly and keep him on the leash the first time you go there.
2. Flirt poles ⭐
Flirt poles are an awesome way to exercise your vizsla in your back yard aside from his normal exercise routine. Flirt poles can be used to encourage your vizsla to chase, jump and play tug of war with the toy on the end. Link at the end!
This won’t replace his usual exercise routine, but it’s an excellent tip just to give your vizsla a quick 10-minute blast of high-intensity exercise between each of his daily walks.
3. Agility training ⭐
I personally LOVE agility training for dogs. It’s both the perfect blend of mental and physical exercise in one go. Agility training involves following your command around an obstacle course that requires your V to crawl, jump, sprint, and weave.
The best part is that you can constantly switch up the equipment to keep your vizsla guessing and to remain sharp. Of course, it will take a little while for any dog to get accustomed to agility training but it’s worth it if you have space in your yard. Link at the end for a great agility kit.
4. Swimming ⭐
If you have a local doggy swimming pool or a safe coastline with a calm ocean, then swimming can be an excellent way to exercise your vizsla. Swimming is both very tiring and the best part is that it’s a non-impact form of exercise, and the less stress on his joints, the better.
You may need to teach your vizsla to swim first, and it’s always advised to use a doggy life jacket in the beginning for their safety.
5. Joining you on runs ⭐
If you are keen runner or enjoy the occasional jog here and there, bring your vizsla along with you! Vizslas love to run, and once trained make excellent running partners.
It’s important to say right away that your vizsla will need some practice sessions using a hands-free leash before you attempt to go for a normal run with him. He’ll need to learn to stay by your side, you’ll need to ensure the route is safe, and it’s necessary to work him up to longer runs gradually over many weeks.
6. Frisbee ⭐
Similar to fetch, you can try frisbee. Frisbee will spark your vizsla prey drive as it will encourage him to chase and catch the flying object (almost mimicking a bird).
Just be sure not to play for too long in one single session, the constant jumping could start to strain your Vizsla’s joints. Link at the end for our favorite frisbee.
7. Visit doggy playgroups ⭐
One way to really spice up your vizsla’s exercise routine, and include a potent form of mental stimulation, would be to visit doggy play groups.
Doggy play groups might be something offered by local dog centers (if you have them in your area) or you can usually find groups on Facebook that arrange meet ups at the local dog park. Or even schedule it between friends that also have dogs.
Playing with a group of other friendly dogs is by far the best way to exercise your vizsla. Not only will it be physically exhausting but the benefit of interacting with other dogs is astronomical. If this is a possibility for you, I strongly recommend trying it.
7 Frequently Asked Questions on Exercise
This section will run through some of the most frequently asked questions around vizslas and exercise. I will keep each answer short and concise.
1. When can vizslas start exercising?
Vizslas should start receiving dedicated exercise as early as 2 months old. At this point, he won’t be allowed outside in public spaces, but he can still practice good leash behavior inside the home or safe private yard. Puppies should follow the 5-minute method to avoid over-exercising.
2. What’s the best exercise for vizslas?
The best exercise for a vizsla would be something with a moderate-high intensity that also incorporates an element of mental stimulation. Running around and chasing other dogs is simple, yet one of the best forms of exercise. Other than that, a mixture of fetch and hiking will be the next best form of exercise for a vizsla.
3. Why isn’t my vizsla ever tired after exercising?
Most young healthy vizslas will recuperate their energy after just a short nap following a walk. For a vizsla to be truly tired he must receive mental exercise alongside physical exercise. Physical exercise alone will not tire out a vizsla for a prolonged period of time.
4. Is one hour enough exercise for a vizsla?
For some vizslas, one hour might be enough, but it depends on how that one hour is spent. For most vizslas that are healthy and in their prime (2-7 years old), one hour will not be sufficient. One hour, twice a day is the ideal amount and frequency to exercise your vizsla.
5. What happens if a vizsla doesn’t receive enough exercise?
If a vizsla doesn’t receive enough exercise it will lead to a lower quality of life. Vizslas are a breed that thrives off a lot of physical and mental stimulation and without it will have pent-up energy that will be channeled elsewhere. Bad behavior, disobedience, and anxiety are the likely outcomes for an under-stimulated vizsla.
6. Do vizslas need to wear coats in winter?
When exercising your vizsla in winter it’s a good idea for him to wear a lightweight jacket to help retain some amount of warmth and keep him dry. If the weather is clear and sunny with a temperature no lower than 5C (40F) then a jacket might not be necessary for short walks.
7. Why doesn’t my vizsla listen to me when on walks?
Obedience outside of the house is curated and nurtured inside the house. A lot of practice needs to be put specifically into recall training, and following your command if you want to have a vizsla that actually listens to you when on a walk.
There are so many exciting things for your vizsla to see, hear and smell when outside, so of course it’s going to be extremely difficult for him to remember that he needs to listen to you. The more training you put in at home and in your yard, the more chance you have of him responding to all of your commands. This is a whole different article in and of itself!
Recommended Exercise Gear For Vizslas
Thank you for reading!
Do you have any questions? Please let me know and I’ll be happy to help 🙂