Bringing home a new puppy is a huge commitment for a whole host of reasons. The costs, looking after another living being, the socializing aspect, the toilet training, it can all seem a little daunting, can’t it? Once home though everything slots into place and you soon forget all your worries. Are you itching to go for that first walk with your pup? How soon can they go out and for how long can they walk for? Do adult Labradoodles need lots of exercise? Do puppies need lots too? Oh, so much to talk about so let’s get into it.
Labradoodles are energetic dogs who do need regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Two walks or one longer walk per day is recommended, totaling around 60 minutes altogether. Exercise can include playtime as well as actual walks.
What kind of exercise can you give your Labradoodle? What benefits does exercise have and what happens when they aren’t given enough? Committing to exercising your dog every day for its lifetime is a big responsibility and it’s important to get this right from the start. Let’s explore this further.
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What is a Labradoodle?
This delightful breed is one of the more popular of the Doodle varieties, much because of their gentle and friendly nature. Poodle crossed with a Labrador Retriever equals a highly intelligent dog, who is keen to please and is in their element when around others.
Poodles were originally bred as hunting dogs and water retrievers. Labrador Retrievers were bred as fishing dogs so both breeds have these inbuilt instincts to please their owners and both generally enjoy the water too. They like having something to do, whether this constitutes a walk, a play, a task, or a command.
Does Size Matter?
Due to the variations in Poodle sizes, we can expect some contrast between Labradoodles depending on the size of Poodle used in the breeding process. Labradoodles, as expected, will also come in Standard, Miniature, or Toy sized. Their weight can vary from 15 pounds to 65 pounds and height from 14 inches tall to 24 inches tall.
Do larger dogs need more exercise than smaller dogs? It’s not a straightforward answer and the grey area comes with the dog’s individual needs and personality. For example, some Labradoodles may well be more laid back than others, requiring less physical activity. On the other hand, some Labradoodles may not have much outdoor space at home so walks and exercise are needed more regularly. So, whilst size will play a part, it is not necessarily the deciding factor. Smaller Labradoodles may tire more quickly than the larger ones, but this certainly won’t always be the case.
How Often Can My Labradoodle Go Walkies?
I’m sure you know there are rules about walking puppies, and it is vital to wait until they’ve had those all-important vaccinations first. Of course, they can explore your enclosed garden before this time but you must watch them carefully. This is a perfect time to get them accustomed to wearing a collar and leash. Once your pup can go for walks it’s important to get the amount of exercise right – striking the balance between not enough and too much can be tricky so below is a guide to help you.
- Puppies: Too much walking can be harmful to your growing dog so little is more when they are young. As a general guideline, you should walk your dog for 5 minutes for every month of their age. So, a 3-month-old pup should get 15 minutes, a 5-month-old should get 25 minutes of walking time.
- Adults: Labradoodles reach full size anywhere between 12 to 18 months (height-wise) and will enjoy at least an hour’s walk each day. Some may be fine with a bit less, others will prefer a bit more.
- Seniors: Older dogs will typically have less energy than in their younger days (don’t we all), but it is important to give them a walk each day when possible. It doesn’t have to be a long walk but can help with any age-related stiffness.
Walkies can be on or off the leash (with lots of training beforehand) and Labradoodles are very sociable so bonus points if they meet up with their doggy friends when out too. A ball or frisbee will keep your Labradoodle well focused on his or her walk – they do tend to want to be everyone’s friend so a focus can be useful for keeping their attention on you.
When Should You Not Exercise Your Labradoodle?
There may be times when it’s not possible to walk your dog – let’s look at some of these scenarios.
- It’s simply too hot outside: If you cannot walk comfortably barefoot on the pavement then please do not take your dog out on it. Dogs’ pads are tough and can take a lot of strain, but they can and do burn if standing on hot surfaces. Dogs can also become victims of heat stroke very quickly. If you can’t walk very early in the morning or late at night, then keep them indoors.
- Too Cold: Some dogs won’t mind being out in the cold, but when it gets very cold some dogs won’t enjoy it and can even become hypothermic. Also, chunks of ice getting stuck in dogs’ paws can be problematic.
- Illness: Maybe you or your pooch don’t feel great, it’s okay – rest up and enjoy walkies when better. If your pooch is on a no walks schedule due to an injury, adopt some other forms of stimulation instead.
What Other Exercise Can My Dog Have?
No one is perfect and there will be days when walks just don’t happen – this is okay. In these situations, there are other ways to exercise your dog and it doesn’t just include physical activity. Let’s look at the list below for some ideas on keeping your pooch active, walking aside.
- Garden Play: If you have an enclosed garden then this is great for regular fresh air and to answer those calls of nature. A quick 5 minutes play with a ball will be much appreciated by your pooch too. If you don’t have a garden, then maybe you can find a space indoors to play some games with your dog.
- Food Toys: Toys stuffed with yummy treats can be a great way of mentally stimulating your dog. Just remember to adjust meals if your dog is getting treats. It’s best to do this under your supervision in case of any choking.
- A New Trick: Why not spend some time teaching your dog a new command while walking is off the cards? Teaching paw, sit, stay, rollover, etc are all great ways of getting your dog to use his mind positively.
- A Walk Around your Home: It might seem silly but even this is a form of exercise when stuck indoors. Make it into a game of hide and seek for added entertainment! Make sure there’s no peeking though!
- Swimming: A swimming class might be a great exercise for this breed. As both Poodles and Labrador Retrievers were originally bred to work in water, most Labradoodles take to it very well. This is an excellent exercise for them, even as senior dogs.
- Dog Classes: Labradoodles are such sociable animals so they will benefit mentally and physically from some classes.
What Happens When a Dog Isn’t Exercised Enough?
Let’s first imagine how you would feel being unable to go outside and stretch your legs for days on end. You don’t see anyone, don’t get to talk to anyone and the hours pass slowly. Well, this is much how a dog would feel without its daily routine of walks.
Dogs love a good routine and can sense when walkies is about to happen. Without these walks and interactions with other dogs, they will become bored, perhaps destructive, and even potentially start to show some aggression. Even just giving your dog 5 minutes of playtime and attention will help curb unwanted behaviors. A dog walker can be a great option if you become unable to regularly walk your dog.
Adult Labradoodles will benefit from around an hour’s exercise per day. One longer walk is fine or two shorter walks if your schedule allows. Exercise, as we have discussed, does not have to be limited to walks – it can be garden play, playing with their toys, and learning new things. If you have a very hyper Labradoodle that has oodles of energy, why not take up running with your pooch – a great way of keeping fit and bonding. Just be careful and wait until your pooch is old enough to run – between 18 to 24 months should be just fine.
When Do Labradoodles Calm Down?
Again, not a simple answer to this question as it depends on so many factors including personality type, home life, and how much exercise they get. One Labradoodle could calm down by 3 years old and stop being so puppy-like in its behavior. Another could be 12 and still running off with your slippers and keeping you very much on your toes! Generally, the more exercise a dog is given, the calmer the behavior will be at home.