How Much Exercise Does A Shih Tzu Need?

Spread the love

Shih Tzu is not a high-energy breed, so it requires moderate exercise. Exercise is essential for Shih Tzu as it helps strengthen their circulatory and respiratory systems.

Exercise also improves sleep and digestion by increasing muscle strength. Equal proportions of exercise also maintain healthy body weight.

Most owners don’t know how much exercise a Shih Tzu needs and end up excessively exercising their Shih Tzu. So it’s always better to know the intensity and understand best practices before getting started with the exercise.

Below we have shared an extensive guide regarding Shih Tzu exercise needs for the different age groups in different weather conditions. I also have shared some bonus tips for walking and mental simulations. Don’t forget to give them a read.

How Much Exercise Does A Shih Tzu Need?

Shih Tzu is a compact small lapdog breed, so their exercise requirements are less than other dog breeds, making them the perfect dogs for owners with a busy lifestyle and hectic daily routine.

Shih Tzu would need around one hour of daily exercise and the best practice to fulfill their need is to split this period into 2-3 segments. You can take your Shih Tzu on two walks of 20 minutes each to the nearest park, enriching him and making him physically active.

How Much Exercise Does a Shih Tzu Puppy Need?

Puppies are undergoing the development and growth phase. Therefore, their exercise needs are different. The best way to keep your puppy engaged in an exercise is to give him free play time in the garden with his age-appropriate toys. You can also let him go with other animals and children, which will help him socialize at an early age.

  • Is Mental Simulation Also Necessary for Puppies?

Physical exercise, mental stimulation, and brainstorming are also necessary for puppies’ effective health. You can keep your puppy involved in puzzles and assign him tasks to assess his behavior in different situations.

  • How Much Exercise Does a Shih Tzu Puppy Need?

According to a general rule of thumb, a puppy under one year of age needs exercises equivalent to a multiple of his age in months.

For simplicity, if your puppy’s age is three months, then the effective exercise needed for your puppy would be around 5-8 minutes, specifically 6 minutes.

  • Protocols Necessary For Taking A Shih Tzu Puppy To Exercise

Before Taking a Shih Tzu out for exercise, you must vaccinate your puppy first. Different regions have different vaccination criteria, but for most regions, vaccination should be done before the age of 4 months.

  • When To Stop The Exercise?

While exercising your puppy, make sure to see signs of Tiredness. If you observe any signs of lagging, fainting, or laying down in your puppy, immediately stop the exercise and end the walk. Do make sure that your puppy rests properly before the start of exercise.

How Much Exercise Does an Older Shih Tzu Need?

How Much Exercise Does an Older Shih Tzu Need?

As the Shih Tzu gets older, his activity level decreases. He has less energy, and you would find most of the time resting on the couch.

But still, at their low energy levels, proper exercise is necessary for better health. At older ages, Shih Tzu might get prone to diseases if they don’t get effective exercise.

You can reduce the amount of total exercise time and intensity at an older age. You can split the total 30-50 minutes of walks into five, which will include three after meals and two within the day. To keep their muscles mobile and maintain a healthy body weight, exercise is very necessary for an older Shih Tzu too.

Shih Tzu Exercise

A Shih Tzu doesn’t need much exercise as compared to the other dog breed. But these exercises play a vital role in keeping your Shih Tzu in good mental and physical health. For the good physical health of a Shih Tzu, we break the exercises into three groups.

  • Daily Walks
  • Free Play Around with Toys
  • Mental Stimulation

Daily Walk of A Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu requires a daily walk of around 30-50 minutes depending on his age and activity level.

The walk can be on a leash in your yard or off a leash inside the park, but for both, do make sure to have a moderate pace that shouldn’t be too risky for the Shih Tzu.

A healthy daily walk is good for utilizing the Shih Tzu energy in addition to strengthening the owner-to-pet bond.

A walk with commands could be a better way to teach and train your pet in obedience and self-control.

You can always take a shorter or larger walk, depending on your dog’s activity level.

But despite taking your dog to one larger walk, 2-3 smaller sets are more beneficial for your dog’s health.

In sets, the Shih Tzu can rest and regain his energy and take a new energized start, ending up more confident and relaxed.

Free Play Around with Toys

No doubt Shih Tzu are playful little compact dogs. They love and enjoy playing games with others as well as themselves.

You can provide your Shih Tzu with toys to let him play with them; it will eventually strengthen their brain muscles and burn their energy too.

Moving Toys: Some batteries powered toys shake and roll over by displaying different color-changing lights. Dogs like Shih Tzu are fascinated by them; such toys encourage them to play and increase their activity level.

Chewable Toys: Whenever a Shih Tzu goes through a teething face, you might notice destructive behavior, so to overcome it, you can distract your Shih Tzu by gifting him a chewable toy.

Playing With Children and Other Dogs: Shih Tzu is a social dog who loves being around people and other animals. Effective socializing training is necessary to let your Shih Tzu play around with children and other dogs. Playing out with children and other dogs teaches them socialization and burns their calories.

Mental Simulation:

They willPhysical health and simulation will be fulfilled with a daily walk and outdoors but with physical simulation, mental simulation of Shih Tzu is also necessary.

Both mental exercises and physical are effective ways of burning your Shih Tzu calories.

Mental simulations can easily be carried out when your dog is alone. You can start with Shih Tzu simulation training from the below methods.

Puzzle Toys: One of the great and simplest ways of increasing your dog’s intelligence level is to give them a puzzle toy. It helps improve their problem-solving ability.

Teaching New Commands to Your Shih Tzu: Teaching and practicing new commands over your Shih Tzu is one of the excellent ways of improving their thinking ability and memorizing power. You can teach your dogs command, and if he learns them quickly, do treat him.

Enriching the Food Availability and Dog’s Surroundings: Environmental enrichment will include making your dog’s living space more engaging and spacious, turning their living space entrance and exit into activities that require intelligence.

You can also enrich their meal availability by relacing bowl feeding with some activity-based feeding.

How To Start With Shih Tzu Walking?

How To Start With Shih Tzu Walking?

Walking is one of the simplest and most basic exercises which is good for maintaining a healthy body weight and activity level in Shih Tzus.

Controlled under-supervision walking is more effective than uncontrolled walking.

Below are some tips that can make the Shih Tzu walking effective and easier.

  • Building a Walking Schedule and Sticking Up to It

Designating the desired time and scheduling it, especially for your Shih Tzu walking, will make you stick to it. Once a thing is scheduled, it becomes easier to follow, but you must still stick to it and don’t break the routine.

Once you are regular with the walking schedule the Shih Tzu will automatically update the time in his mind as walking time and remind you for the next time.

  • Using a Leash Harness

While on the walk with your Shih Tzu, using a leash harness can teach your dog obedience and train him with regard to movement. The use of a leash and harness can help you easily control your dog and move him aside if an intruder passes by.

  • Keeping the Shih Tzu Zoned

Always walk the Shih Tzu with you never walk with the Shih Tzu. Please keep him in your accessible zone on the left side. Neither let him go so far nor let him come too close.

  • Bringing Water and Instant Snacks for Shih Tzu

Taking a water bottle and some instant energy snacks for your Shih Tzu might be helpful.

Whenever you observe that your Shih Tzu is fainting and overheating, just take a break, take him under a shade and serve him some snacks by giving him water; it will energize him.

Shih Tzu Exercise Tips For Wintertime

Usually, in winter, the dogs are restricted because of the cold weather outside, and their exercise cycle is disturbed. As a result, they don’t get effective necessary exercise.

But being less active for a part of the year can lead to severe consequences.

So, do you ensure that your Shih Tzu gets proper exercise in the winter or not?

If it’s not, don’t worry; below are some tips that could be helpful while exercising your Shih Tzu in winter.

Try To Replace Outdoor Exercises with Indoor:

The first step is to reduce all outdoor exercises and limit them. During severe weather conditions and snowstorms, opting for indoor exercises is recommended. You can keep your Shih Tzu active by playing indoor games with him.

Keeping Shih Tzu Warm and Cold Protected:

Protecting the dog’s core body by putting on a jacket or coat covering all the core areas of the Shih Tzu is the best practice to keep your Shih Tzu warm during winter.

You can also apply paw waxes over their paws to protect them against harsh weather conditions.

Once they are warm enough and fully protected against external weather conditions, it’s time to take them out for exercise.

Moreover, before starting any outdoor exercise or walk, we recommend doing some early warm-up.

Shih Tzu Exercises Tips For Summertime

Exercising a Shih Tzu under normal conditions is best practice. But if you had a hot sunny day or lived near the equator, you would mostly face summer seasons.

Under hot summer conditions exercising a Shih Tzu is tough, especially while dealing with brachycephalic breeds. Here are some steps you can follow to make exercising a Shih Tzu easier in the summertime.

Avoiding Exercise in Peak Hours (From 9 AM-5 PM)

Avoiding taking your Shih Tzu for exercise in the peak hours of the hot sunny day.

During peak hours, the sun is just above the head and blazing with its full zest.

So, it’s better not to take your Shih Tzu out during those hours.

IF done so, the risks of Shih Tzu getting heat stroke would be much higher.

Keep Your Shih Tzu Hydrated:

Keeping your Shih Tzu hydrated can help you protect him against sunburn and extreme heating. The pave ways, like the footpath, and the roads, also get hot on a sunny day; try to take your Shih Tzu from a less heated path or apply paw waxes.

Know the Heat Effects and Respond Accordingly:

Rapid fainting, thick saliva with the tongue moved out, weakness, and dizziness are the signs of heat stroke. Stop the exercise and offer your Shih Tzu water if you see any of them.

If this situation continues and the dog remains stressed, it’s better to book a vet appointment.

Shih Tzu Refuses To Walk?

A Shih Tzu can refuse to go for a walk because of a lack of training and stubborn behavior.

Effective training and proper socialization can make him obedient, and he will always be ready on call.

Low Energy levels or Tiredness can also be the reason for Shih Tzu’s refusal to walk.

You must pay attention and ensure your Shih Tzu has a proper sleep cycle.

With a proper sleep cycle and necessary rest, a Shih Tzu would always be ready to go out for exercise and won’t refuse.

Any major health issues like arthritis or leg pain can also make him refuse to go for a walk. In this case, seek a vet for a proper check-up and on-time cure.

Final Words

Shih Tzu is a friendly compact lapdog with minimum exercise requirements. On average, a healthy adult Shih Tzu would need one hour of exercise, and the results would be better if it’s split into 2-3 sets.

Moreover, physical exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization are also necessary to pave the way for puzzles and environmental enrichment.

For excursing your Shih Tzu in wintertime, it’s important to keep them warm, and for summertime, it’s equally essential to keep them hydrated.

That was all from our side on how much exercise a Shih Tzu needs. If you still have any queries regarding Shih Tzu exercise needs, you can reach out to us; we will hear from you.


I am the owner of Shihtzuadvice.com and the proud parent of two black and one gold Shih Tzu's. I belive that the Shih Tzu is the best all-around dog for anyone and want to share with you as much valuable knowledge as possible about this great breed!

Recent Posts