Affenpinschers are lively and athletic, but they're also small--which means Affenpinscher exercise requirements aren't too extensive. These little dogs will fulfill much of their daily activity needs just running around being their curious, spirited selves, but they'll also benefit from walks and playtime throughout the day.
The typical adult Affen, depending on its age and overall activity level, will only need about 30 minutes of exercise per day, which you can accomplish with a couple of short walks and a brief period of play. You can start exercising your Affen puppy at about 10 weeks of age by taking it on very short (5-minute) walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows.
A few things to consider when exercising your Affenpinscher: first, puppies younger than eight months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running, and navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. And regardless of age, Affens need to be leashed when in public. These bold little dogs have a tendency to challenge other pets (especially larger dogs!); as vermin hunters, they also have high prey drives, and will chase small animals--squirrels, birds, cats, even other small dogs--if given the chance. A leash will help you control and protect your Affen in these situations. Even when exercising in your own yard, the area will need to be securely fenced to keep the Affen from running off after interesting-looking critters. And finally: Affenpinschers don't do well alone, and will benefit much more from exercises you perform together.
Precautions aside, it's imperative that you exercise your Affenpinscher every single day. These dogs can be stubborn and fussy, and if bored or restless they'll become disobedient, destructive, and all-around nuisances. Consistent exercise will be great for the dog's peace of mind--and for your own sanity as well! A few exercise ideas:
- Walking: Two 15-minute walks per day is a good target
- Fetch: Can be played indoors or out; use the dog's favorite toy
- Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor, rainy-day activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
- Canine Sports: Affens can excel at agility and obedience trials and other competitions
- Blowing Bubbles: These dogs will love "attacking" the bubbles you blow
When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Affenpinscher access to one or more balls or toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you establish a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.