FAQ: How Much Exercise Should My Dog Be Getting?

Most of us have busy schedules or work a long day, leaving our dogs alone with nothing better to do than sleep, lounge on the couch or, in the worst case scenario, pick up destructive behaviors. Before concluding that your dog needs behavioral intervention, consider whether or not he or she is getting enough exercise.

Why exercise is important

For thousands of years, dogs have been used for help with herding, hunting, and working. Dogs want to have a purpose, and they often need to feel like they have a job to be happy. Without adequate exercise, dogs can become restless and develop behavioral problems.  Attention-seeking habits like barking, or even destructive behaviors like chewing, digging, or scratching may all be signs that a dog that needs more attention, enrichment and exercise.

 Benefits of regular exercise

Exercise isn’t just a way to forestall poor habits or save your house furniture; there are a ton of benefits to your dog being active on a daily basis. Regular exercise helps to keep your dog healthy, agile, and limber. It can also prevent digestive problems, constipation, and excessive weight gain. Exercise can provide a healthy outlet for your dog’s energy, helping them feel sleepier at bedtime or when you’re away from home. It can even help timid or fearful dogs build confidence and trust!

How Much Exercise Should My Dog Be Getting?

The short answer is that dogs need on average 2 hours of exercise each day, but this varies greatly depending on their age, size, and breed. A good rule of thumb is that your dog should be getting daily aerobic exercise (like playing fetch, Frisbee, or swimming), as well as a half-hour walk. The exercise should make them pant, but not become exhausted.

Modifications to the exercise rule of thumb:

  • Herding breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Shepherds, and Border Collies usually require more exercise than other breeds.
  • Smaller breeds, breeds with shorter legs, or breeds with flat noses don’t usually require as much rigorous exercise.
  • Younger dogs should be exercised carefully and not for long periods of time, because their bones are still growing.
  • Large Breeds prone to bloating should not be exercised right after meals.

Exercise ideas, for body and mind

Need some ideas for ways to incorporate exercise and enrichment into your dog’s daily routine? Try these activities that your pup will love:

  • Activities that require minimal energy from you: fetch, hide and seek, catching bubbles, dog park “playdates,” and doggy daycare.
  • Meal-time activities that stimulate the brain: food puzzle toys, using a Kong to “hunt” for dinner, and chew toys that encourage minimal physical exercise.
  • Activities for active people: walks, jogs, hiking, on-leash bicycling, or swims at the park.

Guardian Tips: How to Get Your Pet Viewed More

In a previous blog, we talked about how you can make your pet’s profile stand out. Along with providing enough information in your pet’s bio, and being quick to respond to messages from Adopters, we emphasize the importance of uploading good photos and videos. Here’s why:

Why do my pet’s photos matter so much?

People are visual creatures. High-quality photos on a pet’s profile lead to more clicks and garner more messages from potential Adopters, all of which makes a successful adoption more likely. People scroll past profiles with blurry, dark, or unflattering photos. They are just less inviting to the eye, and the decision about whether to stop and send a message often happens on a subconscious level, in fractions of a second.

How can I improve my pet’s photos?

Take a few photos of your pet in natural lighting. Get him or her to look into the camera by using a toy or other object to get their attention. Avoid using flash to prevent red or glowing eyes in the picture. When all else fails, do something funny to engage your pet and get some smiles! Check out all of our technical photo-taking tips here.

Video – Do I need it?

Yes! Videos help tremendously in getting your pet adopted. Profiles with videos typically produce about 218% more interaction than profiles with no video! We strongly suggest you use the space provided for three high-quality photos and one 15-20 second video of your pup or kitty showing off for the camera. Check out these additional tips for turning your pet into a model or video star!

What should I film?

For dogs, try getting a video of them playing outside, obeying commands, or just acting like their goofy self. Try to catch something that shows off his or her unique personality. For cats, a clip of them playing, cuddling, or interacting with people in some way is best. Again, you want to make sure the video uses adequate lighting and isn’t too blurry. Videos that have sound can add an extra point of interest. The internet has fallen in love with cute cat and dog videos, and Adopters on Get Your Pet are no exception!

If you need to rehome your pet, and haven’t already joined to create a profile, what are you waiting for? Get started here.


Adopter FAQ: Am I Ready To Adopt?

It’s all too easy to instantly fall in love with the photos of any of the adorable dogs and cats for adoption on Get Your Pet. But before you schedule a meet-up with, or adopt, that lovable pooch or purr-fect kitty, ask yourself some practical questions.

  • Do I have the time? Time commitments are one of the biggest reasons Guardians need to rehome their pet. Walking your dog or cleaning out your cat’s litter box are small daily tasks that are just the beginning of what pet owners must commit to. A job that takes you out of the home for 8-9 hours a day can severely crimp your ability to spend time with your newly adopted pet. Before adopting, ask yourself – are you willing to make time to play with and care for your pet each day? Pets are wonderful companions and make great friends, and it’s not uncommon for dogs and cats to want to follow you around the house as you go about your chores. But you have to be prepared to direct some attention just to them, too.
  • Am I ready for this responsibility? Owning a dog or cat is like being a parent. After all, a living, breathing being is relying on you for their basic needs, comfort, and companionship! If you can puppy-proof or cat-proof your home, and are open to adjusting your lifestyle to meet the needs of an animal, you may be ready to adopt.
  • Am I financially capable? Nobody expects a sudden illness or medical emergency to strike, but it happens. Are you prepared to deal with unforeseen or even routine vet bills? Being able to afford basic veterinary care is a must for pet owners. Can your budget accommodate the food, toys, litter, doggy beds, or other things your pet will need?


  • Don’t adopt on impulse. Take time to consider exactly what owning a dog or cat will entail. Could it interfere with your work schedule? Your travel plans? Does your landlord allow you to have that particular breed of dog? These are among the many factors you need to consider and work out in advance of adopting a pet.
  • Embrace the responsibility. If you make the decision to adopt a pet, you are the person responsible for caring for them. Don’t expect your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, family members, children or anyone else to be in charge of caring for the pet, unless you’ve previously agreed on this together. Owning a pet can be work, and even well-meaning animal lovers can find themselves overwhelmed by it.

Adopting a pet is a wonderful, fulfilling, rewarding, exciting, and sometimes crazy journey. Sharing your home and heart with a furry friend is something you can’t put a price on—but don’t be so eager for the love that you forget to think it through calmly first. After you do, and when you’re ready, there are plenty of wonderful, adoptable dogs and cats on waiting for a pet lover like you.

Adopter FAQ: Messaging Guardians and When to Request a Meet-Up

Once you’ve found a pet that you’re interested in on, browsing their profile details page is a quick and easy way to see all of their general information at a glance. You’ll find the pet’s age, breed, size, compatibility with kids and other pets, formal training, medical history, and more in their profile. Guardians also have a chance to share a short bio about their pet, so that you can get to know their story.

But when it comes to specific questions like, “Where does Fluffy like to sleep at night?” or “Does he walk well on a leash?”, you’ll want to go right to the horse’s (or rather, dog’s or cat’s) mouth and send a message to the pet’s Guardian. This is one of the distinct advantages of adopting through Get Your Pet: the unique opportunity to ask the pet’s Guardian firsthand about any specific questions or concerns you may have.

To send a Guardian a message, just click the orange Connect button from the pet’s profile. Then, select “Send A Message” to get started. Get Your Pet’s secure messaging system is designed to keep communication between you and pet Guardians safe, fast, and to-the-point. Make a brief introduction and then get started asking more about the pet. You can ask things like, “What is Fluffy’s favorite thing to do?” “What kind of food does he eat?” “Does he have any allergies?” or any other questions you find relevant. For a full list of questions to ask Guardians, check out our Tips For Adopters page.

If you feel like you want to conduct a conversation by phone, we ask that you wait until you have made a meet-up. After you have proposed and accepted a meet-up, the system is cued to allow you to exchange off-site communication info, like email addresses or telephone numbers. If your phone conversation sours one of you on meeting up, you can always just cancel.

Do not schedule meet-ups in your messages. You can discuss when/where might be a good place to meet-up, but to officially schedule a meet-up, scroll to the top of your conversation with the pet’s Guardian and click on “Let’s Meet.” Then, follow the instructions to select a location, day and time.

If the Guardian is hesitant to meet, or doesn’t believe it would be the right fit, that’s OK – Guardians reserve the right to choose the home they feel is best suited for their pet, and Fluffy will find another home. If they accept, then you’re scheduled to meet your new friend! When the meet-up is over, don’t forget to return to and Follow Up about it from your dashboard.

Tips from our team:

  • It’s recommended to exchange a few messages with the Guardian before requesting to schedule a meet-up. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know about the pet and to let the Guardian know you’re interested. It’s OK to ask a lot of questions – this shows the Guardian you’re serious about adopting and increases your chances of a successful adoption.
  • Never harass a Guardian’s delayed or non-committal response. Many Guardians are under other pressures that might have caused them to need to rehome their pet in the first place, and it may be a difficult time for them. Please be patient. Guardians may also be responding to a ton of other messages, and be unable to keep up with new inquiries. We suggest moving on to pursue other pets if this is the case. It’s always a good idea not to have your heart set on just one possiblility, especially with much sought-after pets.
  • We have a ton of tips in place for having a successful meet-up.

The Cat Crisis: Why You Should Adopt A Cat

Cats aren’t any less loving or deserving of a home than dogs, yet they’re often reduced to second-class status at the shelter. Whereas a dog will melt your heart with a friendly lick through the bars of a cage, cats in a shelter tend to be more skittish or reserved, which doesn’t help their case.

The sad fact is, cats don’t do well in shelters, for many reasons. They are very much creatures of habit. The disruption to their routine that comes with being surrendered to a shelter is deeply unsettling to them.

They’re taken from a familiar place and made to live, sleep, and eat in a small cage, cut off from socialization or the comforting sounds and smells they know and understand. They don’t know why they’re there or how long they’ll be there, just that they don’t want to be there.

As a result, they are scared and anxious. They will not be warm and inviting towards strangers, but seek safety in the corner of their cage, avoiding contact with unfamiliar people.

Even more so than with dogs, the behavior a cat exhibits at a shelter is likely not an accurate reflection of their personality in a home setting. It isn’t fair to judge them in these conditions, but we tend to do so anyway because we’re afraid to take a chance.

Adopting a cat directly from a Guardian’s home through Get Your Pet gives you a better opportunity to see what you are really getting. A better chance for the cat to present themselves as the loving creature they are. A better chance for you to save a life, and prevent a frightened animal from ever having to enter the shelter, where their chances are so diminished.

Adopting a cat is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things you can do. Cats make excellent companions for college students, older people, and families alike. They require relatively less maintenance than dogs, require less playtime as adults, and value time spent lounging around the house or just being by your side.

Because cats tend to be more reserved than dogs, earning a cat’s love can sometimes seem even more meaningful than gaining the trust and love of a dog. Many cat owners can relate strongly to the phrase “Who rescued who?” because of the bond that they’ve experienced with their new feline friend.

Please consider helping a cat go directly from one good home to another by adopting through Get Your Pet. Start browsing here to find adoptable cats near you.

Breed Spotlight: Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherds are a popular choice among dog owners for many reasons. They are friendly, energetic, and have beautiful, speckled markings. They’re fluffy as puppies, and grow into adorable wolf-like dogs as adults. In short, they are stunning.

Although appearance shouldn’t be the basis of the decision to adopt, many times it is. This is one of the reasons it’s common to see breeds like the Australian Shepherd up for adoption. Well-meaning people often forgo breed research and assume herding dogs will be happy living the same lifestyle as other, mellower breeds. The truth is that every breed is different. Before committing to anything, it’s important to consider the specific needs of the breed and the type of lifestyle they require.


Australian Shepherds, or Aussies, are herding dogs at heart. That means they’ve been bred to work and get great satisfaction out of doing so. Aussies need constant stimulation and plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. In addition to 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, Aussies greatly benefit from enrichment, such as competing in herding agility courses. For this reason, they’re not suitable for apartment life, and should have adequate space outdoors to roam and play.


Aussies are intelligent, affectionate, good-natured, and protective. They learn quickly and get along great with kids, making them an excellent family pet. Aussies must be socialized from a young age so that they learn the proper way to interact with children. It’s natural for Aussies to want to try and “herd” kids, but this behavior can easily be corrected with the proper training. Australian Shepherds are loyal to their family and enjoy the company of their people. With proper exercise and mental stimulation, they thrive in a family environment.

Doggy Careers

Because they are so intelligent and eager to learn, Australian Shepherds are great candidates for being trained as therapy dogs, Seeing Eye dogs, or even to work with law enforcement. They excel as search and rescue dogs, and can even be trained to help you with chores around the house! Aussies are extremely versatile and are eager to help wherever they can—especially if it means making you happy.


Australian Shepherds are not destructive by nature, but left alone, they can develop destructive behaviors. Without a purpose or a job to keep busy with, Aussies can turn to other, less desirable behaviors to satisfy their boredom. Long, daytime hours spent alone are not ideal for this breed.

Whether or not you have a certain breed of dog or cat in mind when browsing available pets, it’s good to have an idea of what you can expect when the time comes to adopt. You should have an idea of the energy level, exercise needs, adaptability, and sensitivity of the breed to avoid any surprises down the road. For more information about the Australian Shepherd, check out this comprehensive article.


Is Obedience Training Right For My Dog? January is National Train Your Dog Month

In honor of National Train Your Dog Month, we thought we’d focus this blog on the topic of obedience training. Whether you’re a first-time puppy owner or considering additional training for a dog you’ve had for a while, there are a few key things to consider.

What type of training does my dog need?

Ask yourself what you hope to get out of the training. If you simply want your pup to understand and follow basic commands, then a group training class is probably just fine. Group classes are best for dogs who don’t get overly excited, aggressive, or distracted around other dogs. Group training classes can teach basic commands, general obedience, and manners. If your dog has trouble containing his excitement around new people, in a new setting, or has shown aggression around other dogs in the past, then a one-on-one session may be called for.

When is a good time to start?

While it is common to begin basic training when the dog is a puppy, it isn’t required; nor is it always possible. And an older dog can often benefit from training, as well. True, older dogs may have ingrained habits, but they also have longer attention spans than puppies, making it easier to get and keep their attention during the training process.

Whether you have a puppy in need of basic obedience training or a more mature dog that needs to un-learn a bad habit, there are trainers of all sorts that can help you.

How to find a good trainer

Because there aren’t any regulations or educational requirements for dog trainers, finding a reputable one can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you in your search:

  • Ask around – Talk with friends and family, or strike up conversations at the dog park to see what training programs other dog owners have used. If you see a particularly well-behaved dog at the dog park, ask their owner where they were trained.
  • Do your research – Start online, and call around to various places. Ask to talk to the trainer personally. Don’t forget to read reviews, online forums, and other resources online that can give you insight into what it’s really like to work with them.
  • Ask for references or testimonials – Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, don’t be afraid to ask for references or referrals from the prospective expert. A reputable trainer should have these on hand and ready to go.
  • Ask to sit in and observe a class – You’ve scoured the internet, asked around, and done your research. Now it’s time to see the trainer at work. Ask to sit in on a class to observe the way the trainer handles dogs in a group or in a one-on-one setting. Pay special attention to see if the other clients or dogs seem happy. Be wary of a trainer who does not let you sit in on a class.

For more information on finding professional behavioral help for your pet, check out this helpful article.

Tips For Welcoming Your New Cat into Your Home

Welcoming a new cat or kitten into your heart and home can be exciting! You can make it a little bit less “exciting” if you prepare your home ahead of time and have an idea of what to expect. Here are some tips to smoothing the transition.


Coming into a new and unfamiliar place can be intimidating and even scary for a small animal. To make your cat feel more at home, provide them with multiple “safe spaces” to retreat to. It’s important that your kitty feels safe, and that they know they can get away from human interaction, if they need to. Don’t worry if they hide a lot at first—chances are, they’ll need some time to warm up to you and get to know you better. Gently coax them out or let him come to you when they are ready.


It’s completely normal for cats to lose their appetite or avoid eating altogether when they arrive at a new place. This is because they’re usually stressed or hesitant to eliminate in an unfamiliar place. It’s important that you try to encourage your cat to eat during the transition to their new home. If possible, continue using the same food he or she was eating beforehand, and then slowly transition them to the diet you prefer over the course of the next week.


One way to make your cat more comfortable in your home is to have a variety of toys for them to play with. You can find plenty of toys, tunnels, or cat beds at your local pet store, or order what you need online from Get Your Pet’s partner Pet Valu. Cats love finding new places to explore, and hunting, hiding, and playing are some of their favorite pastimes (besides cuddling!).

Litter Box

You’ll want to have the litter box set up and ready to go before your furry friend arrives. Litter box placement is extremely important in ensuring that your cat’s transition to their new home goes smoothly. Make sure the litter box is away from their food and water, yet not tucked away somewhere that’s hard for them or you to access. Here are some tips for litter box placement, mentioned in a previous blog.

Above all, make sure you spoil your new companion! You’ve just saved a life, and your cat will be forever grateful.

Breed Spotlight: Chihuahuas

Fofo is a 6-year-old Chihuahua currently looking for a new home on

A lot of people come to Get Your Pet intent on adopting a certain dog breed. It’s important to note that while dogs of certain breeds express similar physical characteristics and behavioral tendencies, not all dogs of that breed will look or act identically.

One of the most popular breeds in America is the Chihuahua. Chihuahuas are extremely popular for many reasons—they’re loyal, make great companions, have long lifespans, and are relatively easy to care for. Not to mention their undeniable cuteness.


As anyone who has owned or been around a Chihuahua can tell you, Chihuahuas have larger-than-life personalities. Chihuahuas may be small, but they pride themselves on being just as bold, curious, and enthusiastic as any of their larger brethren. Their fun-loving nature and desire to be in your company make Chihuahuas great companions. They crave affection and will often latch onto one person to whom they become extremely loyal. This deep bond often means they don’t have much of a tolerance for being left alone.


Chihuahuas adapt easily to apartment living and require minimal grooming and exercise, making them ideal for older people or for those who don’t have a huge yard. They are usually happy riding along on daily errands, if it means they get to be close to their owner. Because of their adaptability and easy-to-care-for nature, Chihuahuas are a great choice for novice dog owners.


Chihuahuas are fairly intelligent, responding well to basic commands like “sit” and “stay.” They’re intelligent, yet sensitive, and don’t respond well to negative behavior. Chihuahuas should be trained using positive reinforcement, and may require minimal formal training to learn manners.


Chihuahuas are naturally mistrustful of new people, dogs, and other animals, making them a bit standoffish to strangers. They also tend to act like they’re bigger and more aggressive than they really are, which can be a problem when faced with a much larger dog. Chihuahuas should be socialized with other dogs and people from an early age to keep any unfriendly behavior in check.

If you enjoyed this blog, check out Mixed Breed vs. Purebred Dogs: The Myths About Mutts, a blog where we discuss what it truly means to be purebred.

Q & A: Buying From a Pet Store vs. Adopting

puppy in pet store

Let’s do a simple Q and A to look at a comparison of buying a pet from a pet store vs. adopting.

Q – Where do pet stores pets come from?

Pets that are found at your local pet store usually come from a puppy miller —someone who breeds and sells dogs, cats, and other animals for profit. These animals are often bred in harsh conditions and made to reproduce quickly. This makes for a miserable life for the adult female, forced to endure one pregnancy after another until her value is spent and she is discarded and replaced.

Q – Why is breeding “bad”?

Puppy millers who breed for profit are unconcerned with the physical or mental welfare of their breeding dogs. Many puppy millers keep the animals in small cages, where they receive little to no socialization and often develop skin conditions, infections, and other health issues. They also may become malnourished, dehydrated, and severely depressed. There are reputable breeders out there, but most do not sell their “inventory” to places like your local pet store.

Q – Why is it “bad” to buy pets from the pet store?

Buying a cat or dog from the pet store only perpetuates the cycle of breeding and contributes to the practice of animal cruelty. By declining to  buy your pet and support these puppy millers, you are taking a stand against animal cruelty and the ongoing problem of pet overpopulation.

Q – Don’t pet store pets need homes too?

Yes, they do; but while the pets at the pet store are innocent parties, and are certainly not at fault for being there, they represent a bigger issue in the animal welfare industry. Buying a pet from a store puts more profits into the pockets of breeders and gives them incentive to continue doing what they do. It’s time to break the cycle and opt to adopt.

Q – What are the benefits to adopting a pet versus buying one?

  • Save money – Organizations like charge considerably less than pet stores or breeders. (For more info on Get Your Pet’s adoption fee, see What Does it Cost?)
  • Save a life – Saving a life is as easy as adopting a pet in need of a home. Whether you’re saving a pet from the shelter, or adopting one before they get there, you’re helping a lovable pet get a well-deserved second chance.
  • Stand up against animal cruelty Take a stand against animal cruelty and help end the suffering of puppy mill dogs. Adopt, don’t shop!
  • Gain a new best friend – Pets that have been rescued or adopted tend to be most grateful for a second chance at life. Take in a new best friend and get ready to receive all the love in the world right back.
  • Spread the word – Spreading the word that you’ve adopted a pet helps to spread the message and helps make rescuing or adopting more accepted as the right thing to do.