My Dog is a Sloth

Sleepy dog

I bought Silas one of those Whistle dog activity trackers. If you haven’t heard of these, they’re like a dog Fit Bit. They use an accelerometer mounted on your dog’s collar to tell you how much time per day your dog spends moving. (I paid for this myself. Why does nobody ever ask me to review things I actually want?) I think this makes me the biggest yuppie in the history of the world, but whatever.

Any day now, I’m expecting the founders to e-mail me and say “Umm, did you really install that correctly?”

Because Silas doesn’t go on walks of any duration (his grand sidewalk excursions, of which we are mega-proud, last about two minutes, and we’re just now making real headway on the car thing), I set his goal at thirty minutes a day.

In almost a week, he’s hit this goal one time, although in my defense he’s gotten close on a few other days. The app suggested that most dogs his size get at least an hour.

I have a few theories kicking around about what’s going on:

1) Because we’ve been virtually housebound for months now, Silas is out of shape and lazy (like me). Or, he’s just adapted to our easy-does-it lifestyle.

2) When I trained him not to pester me with a toy all the time, I did it too thoroughly. Because he’s not pestering us, we assume he doesn’t want to play. Evidence for this one: he’s quite happy to engage if I get up and grab a toy.

3) Age and wisdom. I think three is a little young to slow down quite this much.

4) Boredom.

5) Summer is brutal.

6) Over-medication. I’m hesitant to blame his medication, not only because he’s been at this dose for a while but also because he is quite perky when he’s not asleep.

7) Last week was atypical. Which it was–I trimmed his nails twice and he went on two car rides, both of which are the kind of mental stress that disproportionately wears him down.

8) Our indoor play is a lot more vigorous than a leisurely trot around the neighborhood. Since, unlike the people trackers, the dog tracker only measures moving time, short bursts of intense exercise aren’t rewarded. I’m not sure what the appropriate conversion metric would be.

I’m going to keep an eye on him for a little longer before I start to get really worried. In the meantime, how active is your dog?

11 thoughts on “My Dog is a Sloth

  1. I like to think Blueberry gets a decent amount of exercise in per week. As long as she sleeps through the night and isn’t destroying stuff – I figure she’s mentally and physically stimulated enough to keep her happy. Although, after discovering that thing on her paw yesterday, I’m pretty sure hikes are out of the question until I talk to the vet so her activity will decrease. It would be interesting to track her levels summer vs winter.


  2. Aw, sweet Silas. I’d be a sloth too if I had such a nice, cozy home with such an attentive human. 😉

    Eden is the opposite of Silas. Guests usually just say one thing about her: “Does she ever stop moving!??” And the answer is no, hardly ever. She has a hard time keeping weight on because she’s constantly burning calories. She doesn’t walk anywhere; she always runs. Pyrrha is much lazier, but I think her activity levels have increased since we added Edie to the household, because now they have daily tag and wrestle sessions. Which is great for all involved parties. Particularly because we humans can sit on the deck and just watch…


    1. Silas has strangers tricked about his activity levels–they say the same thing about him. In his case, it’s just because there’s a stranger around, though.

      He never was one of those constantly wriggling dogs; he was somewhat busier than he is nowadays, though.


  3. Boca is a couch potato and sleeps a LOT. Under the table, on a dog bed, on the sofa, out on the patio…

    She has been so wonderful for Ruby’s boundless energy. Ruby really did not nap pre-Boca, but now they have settled into a routine where they wrestle for a while in the morning before their walk and even on the weekend they will mainly sleep from about 9 to 4. Then there is more wrestling, another walk and usually some playing with toys. They also play another game of bitey-face on the bed right before crashing for the night.

    Ruby is still the last to tire, no matter how many other dogs she has to play with.


    1. Oh, Ruby. ❤

      I suspect that Silas has a little more sighthound in him that Ruby does–he goes ALL OUT (our usual games all involve sprinting up and down the stairs) but not for very long.


  4. We have a mixture of super active and sloth. Our Hiker is a sloth for the most part. She is super laid back and content to sun-bake, usually with Bill. Trail, Brook and Molly are the wild trio. Callie (at age 8) is very active and loves to fetch.


  5. We try to be active each day. Bella, Terra, & Kronos just sleep all day when I’m working from home (but then I wonder-isn’t that mainly what they’d do if I was gone anyways?). We play a bit in the morning when we get up (the activities vary depending on the day-tricks, doggie workout, puzzles, searching games, etc.) and that is one way I try to tire them out before I sit down to the computer for a few hours. In the evening we go on a half an hour walk and sometimes play fetch or run around the yard for about an hour to try to get some physical exercise in.


  6. My ‘senior’ dogs get about 40 to 45 minutes per day of walking time, not to mention they’re running back and forth in the house because they saw something outside. I do think they would walk longer too if I had the time. Plus with Sampson still in recovery mode I don’t want to push it too hard, but there have been times when I felt he wanted to go further.


  7. I’d like to check that thing out but not spend the money since I’d probably only use it once or twice. We go on about an hour long hike a day but I’d love to know how much ground the dogs cover since they are off leash and spend the whole time running on and off the trail.


    1. This version wouldn’t actually tell you that–it only measure activity time. They’re coming out with a GPS enabled version next year that might tell you how much distance the dogs travel, but this one wouldn’t.


  8. My mini poodle acts more like a cat …. He’s only 3, but sounds a lot like your dog in the energy department. He doesn’t mind sleeping all day and doesn’t pester me, but will engage for a bit if I offer to throw his favorite toy. I can walk him a few rounds around the block and he’s fine. He doesn’t enjoy walks either… always hides under the table when I need to leash him up. Sooo unnatural for a dog.


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