Is Your Dog a Weekend Warrior?

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The expression “weekend warrior” is a term used for people who do little physical activity during the work week and then go out on the occasional weekend and attempt to play sports (e.g. like basketball or tennis) intensely or exercise strenuously.  Often the result of such a strategy is a very sore body or worse, injury.  The reason that weekend warriors are often sore or injured is because their bodies are not conditioned to handle the demands of intense activity, even if their minds are willing to try.


Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is very common condition for a weekend warrior and it is likely to recur unless the person commits to more regular exercise.  Injuries, some minor (e,g, muscle strains) and some serious (e.g. tears), are also common, especially as the athlete ages and their levels of inactivity increase.


Unfortunately, far too many dogs are also weekend warriors and they are susceptible to the same resulting conditions.
Weekend Warrior


Dogs are amazing athletes and they actually prefer to be very active.  Yet, their activity is often constrained by the fact that their families are too ‘busy’ during the week to provide their dogs with adequate exercise. Then, when the weekend comes around, the dog is run ragged via games of fetch, the dog park, and other activities.  The end result is the same for the dog as the human: a sore, if not injured body.  The only difference is that the dog won’t complain or ask for their anti-inflammatory pills (like Ibuprofen).  Ultimately, the weekend warrior dog is at risk for discomfort and injury if they are not adequately conditioned and they will feel sore and their bodies will get injured.


How to Avoid Having a Canine Weekend Warrior

There are only two choices for a dog owner to avoid turning their pet into a weekend warrior.  First, the pet should be exercised daily and included in the exercise program should be some high intensity activity at least 2 times per week.  Short duration, slow walks are fine, but the pet handler should mix in some sprints or other activities to make sure the dog’s muscles and other soft tissues are taxed in order to generate a growth response. This will condition the dog to be able to withstand the rigors of the active weekends.  If the family is too busy to do this, they should consider hiring a canine fitness trainer or dog runner.


For those families that simply can’t exercise their dogs during the week, then the only alternative is to limit the dog’s activity on the weekends to lower intensity, short duration activities.  In my opinion, this is a poor choice as it establishes the pattern of minimal exercise for the dog.  However, in the short term, it will at least help to prevent the dog from discomfort and injury.


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  1. Don’t know where you found that photo – but it is PAWfect for this post #bravo I know quite a few people who could easily fit this classification. I used to have a neighbor who kept her Lab in the crate most of the week and on the weekends the entire family would hike both Sat & Sun for hours with the dog in tow. Once I moved, I got wind the dog passed away – he was only 2 years old. So sad. Three days later they got another dog #scream Have a wonderful weekend 🙂
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…FIGHTING SEASONAL SHEDDINGMy Profile

  2. Weekend warriors are not good for humans or dogs. Those are the same folks that die shoveling their driveways when it snows. Humans and dogs have to work up to their activities and maintain a certain level of fitness. Sadly, many dogs don’t get that and are really weekend warriors.
    Emma recently posted…Walking A Senior Dog In The WinterMy Profile

  3. Easy is a efurryday warrior :o) but his grandparents are such kind of “dogs”, they go hiking on weekend as if there is no tomorrow… literally… because their tomorrow is painful and they howl 87 arrrrooos to the sky :o) I think they would need a dog who keeps them busy for the whole week :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog TGIFMy Profile

  4. Excellent reminder. As you point out, dogs can’t complain after a long weekend hike following a work week of little activity.

    This is something I worried about boating. On long travel days, we leave at dawn and land close to dark. That’s a long time to be confined to a cockpit. And we don’t necessarily have lots of time to exercise (us or Honey) after tying up the boat and making dinner.

    But I’ve been pleased to find that just staying balanced on the boat underway is a pretty good workout, even if not aerobic. And the next six mile walk to the grocery story isn’t tiring, just a nice break from being afloat.
    Pamela recently posted…Dog Training Fail: Feelings Count TooMy Profile

  5. Great reminder! We just got some great conditioning exercises from one of Rocco’s vets who also does PT for dogs. That along with some cardio during the week should help keep Rocco from Weekend Warrior syndrome, I hope!

  6. Brilliant reminder. I doubt many dog owners bear this in mind often enough.
    Earl Lover recently posted…Improvising Your Home Dog Sport TrainingMy Profile

  7. Great reminder! But nope, no weekend warriors here. I have to exercise the pups daily or else they drive me crazy!
    🙂 I’m careful to monitor hard and easy days though so that we don’t over exercise them.
    DZ Dogs recently posted…Wait For It….My Profile

  8. We are all week warriors now! Weekend warriors hurt too much. ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Dog Coats Made By DeMy Profile

  9. Sam & I warrior every day. I’m convinced it’s what has kept him so youthful and (knock on wood) healthy so far. For me…some days it’s patch, patch, patch but we both keep percolating along. 🙂

  10. Excellent tips although this time of year it is difficult to get out as consistently as we would like.
    2 Brown Dawgs recently posted…It’s Super Bowl Weekend-Thunder Is ReadyMy Profile

  11. Amen to this post!! I’ve noticed that many people COULD actually exercise their pups every day, but they refrain from doing so because it would inconvenience them. I make it a point to ALWAYS exercise my pups, even if it means that I need to get up super early.
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Comment on The Daily Morning Routine Of 2 Fit Dogs by MilitaryWifeandPugLifeMy Profile

  12. Definitely no weekend warriors in this family!
    KB recently posted…Silhouette SundayMy Profile

  13. I am lucky to only work part time outside of the home, and the rest of the time I work from home; so we are able to exercise pretty much daily!
    Jan K recently posted…Who’s the Smartest?My Profile

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