Have you ever wondered what the appropriate amount of exercise is for a Doodle to feel happy and loved? We get this question a lot at Jenna Lee Designer Doodles & since it’s one of the top things you should know before buying a doodle, let’s talk about it.
As discussed in previous blog posts (and contrary to popular belief), Poodles are actually not a “dainty” breed. Although they often sport frilly haircuts and can be found prancing around dog show rings, they were originally bred as water retrievers and are a very intelligent and athletic dog that thrives on mental stimulation and physical exercise.
Doodle popularity in the U.S. has skyrocketed in the last decade, but not every adoption is a good fit. One of the most common reasons we see in regard to a family having to rehome their doodle relates to the topic of exercise and energy level. So what should you expect when adopting a Goldendoodle into your family?
The answer depends on exactly which kind of doodle you’re talking about (see Goldendoodle vs Sheepadoodle vs Bernedoodle). But it’s safe to say that Doodles are moderately active dogs overall. Goldendoodles and Bernedoodles tend to be moderately active, while Sheepadoodles and other herding breed doodles tip the scales into the highly active category!
It’s imperative to know about the exercise requirements before getting a doodle to make sure you can keep up with this smart, athletic breed.
As a general rule, most young doodles do well with roughly an hour or two of exercise each day. As a pup, this should be broken up into several sessions — a couple short walks around the block and a few rounds of fetch time in the backyard throughout the day, for example. Most pups are ready for a burst of activity first thing in the morning and it also helps them to settle down well for the night to have another stretch of exercise in the evening.
Every dog is different and every person’s lifestyle is different, but below are a couple sample schedules just to give a rough idea of what you can expect as a doodle owner in the first couple years of your pup’s life.
Managing Doodle Exercise Needs When You Have a Job
Here is an example for someone who has a traditional full-time office job:
Wake Up – 6 AM
30 - 45 minute pre-morning shift walk (This is extremely helpful to get your Doods’ energy out before they are left alone for the first half of the day). – 7 AM
Leave for work – Leave kong and/or other fun chewing activities in crate – 7:30 AM
Lunch – Return home for break and 30-minute focused play session. – 12 PM
Evening – 15 minute walk, shorter play session before bedtime. – 5-7 PM
For an individual staying at home, the pup typically benefits from shorter and more frequent play and exercise sessions throughout the day. Here’s another example:
Wake up – 6 AM
20-minute walk – 7 AM
20 minute walk – 10 AM
Play time in the backyard – 1 PM
20 minute walk – 5-7 PM
Again, these are simply examples and some dogs will have greater or lesser exercise needs depending on their individual temperament (your breeder should be able to help guide you on which pups and/or litters will be generally more or less active).
If these requirements are overwhelming to your schedule, keep in mind that doggy play-dates as well as doggy daycare and dog walkers can serve as excellent substitutes to keep your doodle well-exercised! A well-exercised doodle will be much better behaved and relaxed indoors.
As your pup matures, he will be able to exercise less often but for longer periods of time. For example, an adult doodle (around a year of age) can typically go for one long walk or jog and typically be content to mostly just relax and chew toys the rest of the day.
Here’s another important rule of thumb: the less time you are able to actually spend with your doodle, the more exercise he/she likely needs. Doodles just love hanging with their people and naturally get some exercise following you around the house from room to room and/or showing up on your lap with a drool-covered stuffed animal.
But if you have a particularly demanding work schedule that prevents a lot of daily hangout time, your doodle will probably need even more physical exercise to stay relaxed when you are gone. This is where doggy day care and/or hiring a dog walker can be a helpful idea.
Doodle Breed Specific Exercise Requirements
Again, we’re painting with broad strokes here, but here are some broad generalizations that can serve as a helpful guideline as you decide which breed best suits your lifestyle:
Bernedoodle - These guys scream Play with me! Bernedoodles are the definition of goofy, so they often thrive with a set structure to keep them a little more disciplined so their goofy side doesn’t totally take over! If your Bernedoodle is used to a morning walk, he/she will likely do best if you do this seven days a week and not just on work days.
Also, Bernedoodles loveeeeee to play…we can’t emphasize this enough! All Doods love playing, but Bernedoodles seem to be a little extra when it comes to the humor and fun of play time. So tug of war, fetch, chase, etc. is the perfect way to exercise them. They will be more than overjoyed to get their energy out by chasing kids in the backyard, etc.
Goldendoodles - These pups definitely need their exercise just like any doodle, but they are flexible as to the form of exercise. They tend to be the most trainable/obedient of all the Doodles and make great running partners, walking partners, etc. as they mind well and after some good leash training likely won’t pull you over trying to chase a squirrel. They too also love a good play session.
Sheepadoodles – These pups thrive off of vigorous exercise. Sheepadoodles also make great running partners and their herding background makes them natural “chasers”— so they typically love fetch games and/or agility. They are typically outgoing dogs who love new things and adventure, so long weekend hikes or meeting new friends at the dog park is right up their alley.
We hope this post has helped you form an understanding of just how much exercise is required for a Doodle and which breed could form the perfect partnership for you. Now get out there and create some fun outdoor memories with your pup!
Jenna and the JLDD Team