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Published: Nov 17, 2011

Many owners will want to smother their new puppies with affection shortly after bringing them home, but VCA Animal Hospitals reports that although cuddling is important, teaching a new dog how to play and exercise is key to keeping it healthy with age.

Insufficient exercise may cause a puppy to become overweight, and can also contribute to poor behavior such as chewing or digging. Puppies have a lot of energy, and if owners don't help them release it, they turn to other, less adorable resources to let it out.

VCA reports that teaching a pup how to go for a walk is a great form of exercise and will give it access to countless new smells, sights and sounds that will also help it grow into an easygoing dog. First, get the dog accustomed to its collar and leash by showing it the new item and letting it smell and play with it. Next, try the leash on and give the dog a treat to show it that walking is a positive experience.

Although puppies do need to exercise, owners will want to make sure they don't overdo it. Different breeds require more or less physical activity, so owners will want to check with the dog's veterinarian to see what's best for their unique canine.