Entlebuchers and Exercise

What are the exercise requirements of Entlebuchers?



It is common to hear among Entle owners: ' A tired Entle, is a happy Entle... and a happy owner!' If you are considering the breed, keep in mind they require an above average amount of daily exercise.

Kai in a frenzied running session In general, they should get at least 1 hour of heart pumping, physical exercise; playing, running, wrestling... Walks are wonderful but the average walk is more mental stimulation than "physical exercise" to an Entle. Sometimes a walk just revs them up... like a tasty appetizer, then they are ready for the main course!

Both physical and mental exercise are needed to curb boredom, mischief and channel their excess energy. It's extremely important when Entles are younger as they have more energy and strength than judgement! Entles act youthful most of their lives but they go through a stage where they seem to be looking for Trouble (with a capital "T"). That stage usually involves testing their limits and some intense energy bursts. My girlfriend Jane uses the acronym "FRAP" = Frantic Running And Playing. Proper exercise helps an Entle be more content and calmer to live with.

Mental stimulation is often overlooked as a valuable tool in combination with regular physical exercise. Entles are highly intelligent, thinking dogs that need a challenge. I know for myself, sometimes after physical exercise I’m refreshed and invigorated- probably due to the flood of endorphins. But after working though tough issues in a workday, I have felt totally exhausted; drained from problem solving and just want to turn it off and relax! It's true for dogs as well, especially working/herding breeds. Data playing hide and seek food game

Playing hide and seek or interactive fetch are great ways to supplement physical exercise. Always keep in mind safety first! Check the area for uneven ground, holes or other hazards to help prevent injury. As part of any game, add a mental component by asking for a trick/behavior before a throw or find, then release. When an owner is engaged and involved in the activity, playing fetch can be a fun rewarding way to build a stronger connection and working relationship.

Common Behavior Issues of Unemployed (or Under-employed) Entlebuchers

•   Excessive Barking / Vocalizing / Whining
•   Digging / Chewing / Destroying inappropriate items
•   Medical issues (obesity, licking themselves raw resulting in hot spots or infection)
•   Insistent demands for attention (nudging, pawing, bumping, nipping at ankles)
•   Obsessive-Compulsive behaviors (ex: chasing lights, shadows or tails, spinning, pacing...)

Important Exercise Consideration

During any exercise, keep in mind the Entle's body type. They are slightly longer backed and carry a considerable amount of weight for their medium sized frame. Always error on the side of caution, for safety with exercise especially when they are younger and their growth plates are forming.

Just like us, Entles can really benefit from proper warm ups and cool downs. Stretching, massage and other holistic modalities (like acupressure, chiropractic, Reiki or acupuncture...) can also prove very helpful. To keep your Entle fit, happy and injury-free it helps to learn about and read up on overall conditioning to understand what your individual dog needs from you. Too often I see owners that try to cut corners by just mindlessly throwing a ball for their entle. While that seems like a good way to wear them down, or take the edge off their energy most learn a hard lesson and have serious regrets for not putting in more time and thought into the safety of fetch. I am not against playing ball. I have learned through the years that there are better, more controlled ways to play ball/fetch and avoid injuries and problems. I now incorporate tricks and obedience into ball play by asking for a behavior, having the dog wait then releasing them to get it when I feel there will be no erratic bounces or hazzards. It makes a lot of difference.

Playing Safely with Ball Crazy Dogs - Brilliant Blog post (must read) from Northest K9 Conditioning, LLC
FitPaws - You Tube channel with videos of exercises for improving strength, balance and fitness
Fitness In Your Back Yard - Great article read by Suzanne Clothier
Martial ARFS Blog - Great info on general canine exercise, conditioning and fitness
Bayla's Silver Mesh Jacket Puppy Growth Plates- Good information about growth plate closure

A Word of Caution

Entlebuchers do not tolerate heat as well as some other breeds. Entle owners pay special attention for signs of fatigue or heat intolerance especially during summer temps or humidity. Many Entles are so intense that they will work or play until they drop. It's important to monitor them closely to make them take breaks, lie in the shade and keep hydrated as necessary. An Entle's black fur is a sun magnet. We invested in a special coat called a K-9 Cooler©, made of silver mesh to deflect the sun's rays. For added cooling, the K-9 Cooler© can also be soaked in water and worn wet. The open weave of the mesh makes it very breathable and allows air to circulate, intensifying the cooling power. I highly recommend this type of coat for any dog breed with dark factored fur- it helps a lot. We bought ours from Silver Shade Mesh. We had a wonderful experience with this company and highly recommend them!




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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole - Roger Caras

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