How much exercise does a Poodle need daily
The quantity of exercise your Poodle requires every day is dependent on whether they are a Toy, Miniature or Standard Poodle and what stage of the life cycle they are at. The right exercise for a puppy is different from what would best suit an adult dog or senior dog.
Over exercised dog symptoms
Poodles can go hard and keep going, often not knowing when to stop. With any dog, it is possible to over-exercise them, especially in hot weather. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a dog that has overdone it. Read “Overexercised dog symptoms” and “Dog exercise in hot weather” to learn more.
Poodle Exercise Requirements
There are three main types of exercise and activity you must provide your Poodle every day.
- 1. Daily walk
- 2. Purposeful Activity and Play (see Poodle exercise ideas below)
- 3. Mental stimulation
Poodle Walking Requirements
A Poodle requires a daily walk of between 20 – 60 minutes at a comfortable but brisk pace for them depending on whether they are a Toy, Miniature or Standard Poodle. As many Poodles have a good level of stamina they can go for much longer distances if you wish.
By observing your Poodle you can assess how long of a walk they need. If they are panting excessively, are falling behind, or stop and lay down they have probably had enough. It is probably a good idea to end the walk. If they are happily trotting along you can choose to walk a bit further.
This can be a walk on a leash around the block or can be off leash exploring at the local park. The daily walk is not only a good way to release some pent up energy, but is also a good opportunity for training and is great for building your bond with each other. It also provides mental stimulation by way of the sights, sounds and smells they come across and social interaction with other dogs you meet along the way.
A short daily walk is more beneficial that nothing all week with a long walk at the weekend. If you prefer you can take your Poodle for two shorter walks instead.
Obviously, every dog is an individual even if they are the same breed.
The recommended walking time and distance for each of the varieties of Poodle are as follows:
- Toy Poodle – 20 to 25 minutes covering a distance of between 1/2 mile and 1 mile
- Miniature Poodle – 30 to 40 minutes covering a distance of between 1 mile and 2 miles
- Standard Poodle – 40 to 60 minutes covering a distance of between 2 miles to 3 miles
This guide is for a healthy adult dog between the ages of 1 to 7 years old. For a puppy or a senior dog, the exercise requirements will be different. See below for a guideline for puppy exercise and senior dog exercise.
Purposeful Activity and Play
In addition to one or two walks a day it is important to provide other activities that can help burn pent up energy and provide enrichment for your Poodle. This can include playing with toys and playing games with your dog.
There are countless fun games that you can play with your dog. Check out “50 Boredom Busters and games for dogs” for ideas.
Chewing is a natural instinct for dogs and has many benefits including keeping them busy and occupying and stimulating their minds. When a dog chews it releases endorphins to the brain giving them a natural calming and good feeling. To learn more about the benefits of and the best chew toys see here.
Dog toys that move on their own
There are many dog toys that rattle, roll and move about by themselves. These are ideal for your Cockapoo to get them having fun and active play. Read “Dogs toys that move on their own” to learn more.
Play with other dogs
Provide the opportunity for your Poodle to play with other dogs. This is not only great to burn energy and stimulate their mind, but teaches them important social skills. Not all Poodles are dog-friendly, so ensure yours is to prevent the possibility of fighting.
Tug of War
A firm favorite of many dogs. Make them crouch and pull back to use extra energy. Ensure that this is a controlled game and they release when you want them to. Also, a great way to build muscle and strength.
Many Poodles are keen swimmers, particularly Standard Poodles. Swimming is a great exercise for a Poodle as it burns energy and uses all the muscles groups, in particular, the front legs and shoulders. It is also a low impact activity so it doesn’t put a strain on the joints and tendons. It is a good exercise for dogs recovering from injury. See “What is Canine Hydrotherapy” to learn more.
For more on swimming exercise for dogs see here.
A good energy burner if you have stairs in your home. Start at the bottom of the stairs and have your dog “stay”. Throw the ball to the top of the stairs and then say, “Go!” Let your dog dash up the stairs as fast as they can. Have them return down the stairs at a slower pace to avoid injury.
Walking up stairs or a hill strengthens the rear legs as the full body weight of your dog is on each leg as the step. As they descend the stairs they are using the opposing muscles for stability. For more on stair exercise for dogs see here.
Set up an agility or obstacle course in your backyard. Poodles are great agility dogs. You can use items you have around the home, build your own agility or you can get reasonably priced agility sets on Amazon.
You can include tasks such as the weave, hurdle jumps, tunnels or jumping through hoops or a platform to jump on and stay.
Playing Fetch with your Poodle is another fantastic way to burn pent-up energy. Poodles are generally ball or toy crazy and can play this for hundreds of throws. A great alternative is to use an Automatic Ball Launcher so your dog can play Fetch by themselves. As the Poodle is intelligent and highly trainable as long as you focus their attention they learn to use this quickly. For more information check out “Automatic Ball Launchers for Dogs”
Your Poodle will get some mental stimulation and enrichment from their daily walk and time spent with free play. However, it is a good idea to provide other activities that stimulate the mind. Mental exercise can burn as much energy as physical exercise.
Many dog behavior problems are a direct result of boredom. Read “Mental enrichment and mind stimulation for dogs” to learn about the six categories of enrichment for dogs.
Some ideas to provide mental stimulation include;
Puzzle toys are a great way to test your dog’s intelligence and improve their problem-solving skills. Check out “Top puzzle toys for dogs” for my top picks.
Kong toys which you stuff with food and treats work in much the same way. Read “How to use a Kong for dogs“.
Puzzle toys are great for times when your dog is home alone. If your dog is home alone while you are at work or out you may find some helpful information at “Leaving a dog alone while at work”
Teaching new commands and tricks is also excellent to provide mental enrichment. A popular game that involves learning is to teach them the names of their toys. Dogs can learn hundreds of words and names.
Turn mealtimes into an opportunity for your Poodle to get a mental challenge and enrichment. Instead of feeding them from a bowl, give them activities that require them to work for their food. To learn more about feeding enrichment for dogs see here.
Enrich their environment
Environmental enrichment is the process of making a dog’s living space more engaging and interesting. To learn more about environmental enrichment for dogs see here.
How much should you exercise a Poodle puppy
The exercise suggestions above relate to a healthy adult Poodle. The exercise needs of a puppy are quite different. With puppies, their bones, muscle, and joints are still growing and developing. Toy and Miniature Poodles are fully grown by about 1 year of age. For Standard Poodles, they may still be growing for up to 18 months.
Overly strenuous walks are not necessary and in fact, could possibly cause harm. An activity that is high impact on the joints should also be avoided
The best exercise for a young puppy is free play with age-appropriate toys. Socializing with other puppies or friendly adult dogs is a great way to burn some of that puppy energy along with teaching them the social skills they need.
As your Poodle puppy gets older you can take them for short informal walks allowing them to sniff and explore and get used to being on a leash. Puppies under three months probably haven’t had all their vaccinations so shouldn’t be walked in public. Check with your vet when it is alright to venture out to the park or street.
The general rule of thumb for walking a puppy is around 5 minutes for every month of age. So, for example for a 4-month-old puppy, a walk of 15 minutes to 20 minutes is enough. Monitor your Poodle puppy on the walk for signs such as lagging behind, lying down or panting. End the walk if they seem too tired.
Mental stimulation is important for puppies and can tire them just as much as physical activity. For more on mental stimulation for puppies see here.
For more on exercise for your Poodle puppy read “How to exercise a puppy”
How much exercise does an older Poodle need
As a dog gets older they become less active and have lower energy levels. However, it is still important that they remain reasonably active to keep their joints and muscles mobile and to manage their weight. Read ” Dog exercise for a senior dog” to learn more.
It is also important for an older dog to maintain muscle strength and mobility. This aids in protecting and supporting their aging joints and tendons. This video shows some simple and good exercises to help maintain your older dogs body.
Many dogs develop arthritis as they age. Exercise for them becomes a balancing act. It is important to keep their joints mobile and manage weight, but too much can make them sore. Read “How to exercise an arthritic dog” to learn more.
All of the Poodle sizes are a moderate to high energy dog and require a least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily to keep them healthy and prevent boredom. This daily activity should include a daily walk along with some purposeful activity and play.
It is also crucial that they receive mental stimulation and enrichment to challenge their active minds and prevent boredom. Mental exercise can tire a dog just as much as physical activity.
Let us know in the comments how much exercise and what types of activity you do with your Poodle and whether that are a Toy, Miniature or Standard Poodle.