Doodle Exercise Requirements
Exercise and the Young Doodle
These suggestions are aimed primarily at the Standard Labradoodle but the smaller 'Miniature' Doodles are often growing into dogs that are 20” tall and require as much care. Many Doodles are growing into very large almost giant dogs and require an exercise regime to prevent joint damage. You have selected a puppy that has been very well reared and whose parents have excellent hip and elbow scores, it is now your job to grow your pup with care. If you jog with a 6-month-old puppy the result may well be astronomical veterinary bills and pain and suffering for your puppy.
8 to 16 Weeks
For the first few weeks in your home your puppy will get enough exercise playing in the house and the garden, if he was still with his mum, she might well prevent him from going far from the home even to the extent of not allowing him to go to the end of the garden. The first time on the lead will probably be carrying him down the drive and then letting him walk back into the house so that his confidence grows and he gets used to the new experience. Once he is fully vaccinated he can go short walks just around the block to teach him how to walk nicely on the lead and to meet the neighbours. You will do yourself a favour if you do not let him off at this stage as then he will realise that the purpose of his walk is to take him to the park and being a clever little dog, he will naturally enough pull like a train to get there. If he learns first how to walk nicely and second the recall and ball play you should have a pet you can walk with pleasure.
4 to 9 Months Old
From 4 months old training walks can include a few retrieves of a ball preferably on a long lead so that he learns to concentrate on the game he is having with you rather than all the other dogs and children. To grow he needs to sleep and rest and walks are best kept short and interesting rather than overstimulating and exhausting. By 6 months old he may a have short periods of freedom to play with you and friends but only a few minutes at a time so that he can flop down and rest, this can build up to a mile at 9 months old.
9 to 18 Months Old
By one year old can he start to build up to proper walks. His skeleton is still growing and his joints need to develop without strain. Many Doodles are growing into very large dogs and they can take up to 18 months to achieve their full growth. A long, healthy life is best started slowly. In any event, if you encourage your puppy to be overstimulated and exercised constantly this will be the norm for him and he will not accept the occasional duvet day, overstressing his joints at this crucial period of maximum growth can increase the risk of skeletal problems including hip dysplasia. The worst danger is a combination of overweight and over exercise when the puppy is growing.
At 18 months old your little pup has grown into a lovely adult with a skeleton capable of carrying him for a long and healthy life...it just takes a bit of care.