When you have a furry family member as small as a miniature poodle, many assume they don’t need a lot of exercise because of their size. The fact is; all dogs need a lot of exercise, but the type and frequency of that exercise are specific to their size and breed.
So how do you exercise a miniature poodle? Poodles are high-energy and require a lot of stimulation. Aim for an hour to an hour and a half per day of either playtime, walks, or other exercises. They are also incredibly smart animals, so part of their exercise routine should be purposeful play that will stimulate their minds.
I often see a group of dogs being walked, and there is always that one tiny one doing what looks like a million steps per minute to keep up. Miniature poodles definitely fit that bill. You don’t want to over-do it with miniature poodles, but vigorous exercise is exactly what they need.
Why It Is So Important For Poodles To Exercise
Just like humans, animals benefit greatly from leading an active lifestyle. But it’s up to us to make sure that our beloved pets are getting the exercise they need. There are a lot of factors that weigh into exercise routines for your pets.
Miniature poodles, specifically, are a bundle of energy. They love being active, they demand attention and playtime, and they are not afraid to get sassy if they don’t get that activity.
Miniature poodles are not only high-energy; they are also a bit high-maintenance. So, when they don’t get that much-needed release of energy, they are not shy about expressing frustration over it.
Some behavioral issues that may ensue:
- Destructive Behavior – Their focus will be shifted to chewing, digging, scratching, or other similar behaviors that wreak havoc. When they don’t have a purposeful way to release energy, it gets refocused here.
- Barking – Many people reach for the treats or a small meal when a dog is barking. When, in fact, one of the main causes of excessive barking in dogs is they need exercise. They are feeling pent up, and their frustration is vented vocally.
- Irritability and Aggression – Poodles can easily shift from the happy, fun-loving, energetic pups that we all love, to angry and hostile if they are not getting the exercise they need. That tension is not being released in a healthy way, so it can cause mood changes.
- Attention Seekers – You may see all of the issues mentioned above rolled into one, and that is because they want attention. Poodles that do not get that one-on-one time will act out and demand attention. If they don’t get exercised enough, they fall into a pattern and doubt that they will get any. So that will make them seek further attention and cause lots of anxiety and stress for them.
Making sure your miniature poodle is receiving adequate exercise will not only help them during the day to feel more relaxed and happy, but it will also help them (and you) at night.
Sleep and Sleep Habits
If your miniature poodle has not had enough exercise, they will let you know. All night. If the dog is getting regular exercise, it helps increase the length of time they are able to sleep, but also how much REM sleep they get in there as well. A well-rested poodle is a happy poodle.
JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM, points out that dogs need over ten hours of sleep at night:
“Just like in people, sleep is key to a dog’s overall health.”
If they don’t receive enough sleep, it can turn into a grueling cycle. Slight sleep deprivation will cause them to get into a rut that you will have to break them of. So do your pup and yourself a favor by making sure they don’t end up stuck in this cycle.
Social Health of Your Poodle
This is one topic that isn’t always talked about when thinking about the exercise your dog needs. But it is a truly important one. If you are giving your dog regular, purposeful exercise, it shows them how to bond with you. Think about how your dog’s eyes light up when they see you reach for the leash or pick up their favorite toy.
That twinkle in their eyes is not only excitement for their play session, but also adoration for you. They bond with you by knowing that you are the one to help them get all of this energy out. They’re equally as excited about going for that walk, as they are that the walk is with you.
When you go on walks with your poodle, it is teamwork. You’re working together on your adventure. Or when you toss a ball to them, it is give-and-take between the two of you. These are much needed social behaviors that go a long way with dogs.
Other than bonding with you, they also need socialization with others. And what better way to get a bunch of energy out of a poodle than to have them befriend other poodles or similar dogs that need to do the exact same.
They need to be exposed to the outside world regularly. They don’t need to play with 10 other dogs every day (although I’m sure they wouldn’t mind). But they do need to understand outside stimulation whether it is on a walk where they come across other humans and their animal companions, or it is in a play situation with other pets.
Poodles will react positively from getting those social scenarios and earning confidence through them. Don’t shield your dog away from the world, but instead, show them different aspects of it that will keep them active, their minds swirling in curiosity, and around other people and dogs that will help them with communication and social skills.
Dog parks are an excellent form of exercise and socialization. If you plan on going to a dog park, I would recommend checking any reviews for the park online first. Make sure to do a thorough sweep of the area before you let your poodle begin their fun. You never know what people may drop or leave behind, and these parks are typically unmonitored. Also, be sure it is a park with a ‘small dogs’ area so they will be with others in their size range.
Best Types of Exercise for a Miniature Poodle
Miniature poodles may not have long, powerful legs or a muscular build like some other dogs do, but boy do they love to exercise. So keep that in mind for your daily routines with your poodle.
They love regular and frequent exercise that is low-impact with more vigorous activity in smaller bursts. You don’t want to be sprinting up and down hilly terrain with these little beauties, but they will appreciate consistent activities that don’t put too much stress on them.
This should be your number one form of exercise with your miniature poodle. And they should stay consistent. It’s good for them to know that every day, they will be outside on a walk with you for at least 30 minutes, but ideally 60.
Poodles tend to react most positively to two separate 30-minute walks. When they are puppies, you can cut this down to 30 minutes, but once they are adults, they should be receiving two solid 30 minute walks per day.
If you have a puppy and you need to ramp up their exercise, just do it as they grow. Take it day by day, and once they are around 1 year old, you can begin lengthening the walks a little each and every day until they are up to the 60-minute mark.
The same can go with an adopted adult. You don’t know what their routine was like before you gave them their forever home. So make sure to ease them into the routine of two 30 minute walks.
Some elements to keep in mind:
- Your Schedule – if you plan to be gone most of the day, be sure to give yourself time to get in at least the first 30-minute walk of the day, and maybe leave a few minutes for a quick play session. And when you return, decide what is best for you and your dog.
Maybe you take them right out for another full 30-minute walk. Or maybe it’s easier to just let them out so they can go to the bathroom, and get the remaining walking time in before bed. You can also split this up in smaller increments if need be. But scheduling at least one of the walks to be the full 30-minutes will aide in cardiovascular health.
- Your Pace – You want to keep a brisk pace for these walks while keeping an eye on your pet. Miniature poodles have to work a lot harder for the effort we exert in a standard stride. And remember, the walk is meant to be a low-impact exercise for them. So you want them moving along at a good pace, but you don’t want them putting a lot of extra stress on their joints every day during your walk.
So depending on what your normal pace is, you can probably consider this a casual stroll. The average, medium-sized dog walks about 1 mile in 20-25 minutes. But with a tiny poodle, you should only expect to get about 1/2 of a mile in 20 minutes. Keep an eye on your poodle and make sure they are in a nice trot with a short stride.
With that in mind, you will be able to map out routes that won’t overexert their little legs, while still making sure they are getting enough distance.
Miniature Poodle Playtime That Includes Purpose
Other than your daily walks with your miniature poodle, they also need games and playtime that will stimulate the senses. These are activities that should be multipurpose: to release energy, but also to activate their creative minds. You want to fend off boredom just as much as you should fend off lethargy.
Miniature poodles are extremely smart, always ready to play, and of course…are miniature. So they are ideal for indoor games.
- Hide and Seek: If you have trained your dog to sit and stay, you can play this game with them. It’s simple, it encourages bonding with you, and they get to use scent and hearing in addition to the energy release.
- Learning the Names of Toys: This allows them to place value in the toy, which will be significant for their minds to not only remember but to be even more excited for it. If you have to spell W-A-L-K around your dog because they already know what that means, you can teach them their toy names too. It gives them recognition and will make indoor playtime even more special.
- Cups: Time to do some magic tricks for your pup. By getting three cups and placing a treat under one and moving them all around in front of your poodle, you are teaching them memorization and focus. You can also do this with a treat in one of your hands.
- Interactive Dog Toys and Puzzles: While the free options are really endless in games you can play with your poodle, there are also a lot of great toys on the market that are designed specifically with exercise and mental stimulation in mind. Go based on your dog’s interests here; if they like to chase, chew, run, or jump, there will be plenty of toys to cover their favorite. Or consider getting a set of toys, like the highly-rated Aipper Dog Puppy Toys 12 Pack, which you can find on Amazon here.
- Fetch: I had a poodle growing up, and she was all about the old classic game of fetch. She wasn’t the best about actually letting us have the ball back, but she loved it. This is another great one-on-one game to play that will feel like a special time for them where they get to run and maybe have a little tug-of-war with you too.
Miniature Poodle Agility and Obedience Training
Miniature poodles need a firm hand when being trained and during your bonding with them. They respect it, and they respond to it. So, having agility or obedience training will be a great way for them to exercise while learning. The American Kennel Club has lots of recommendations here.
I would recommend they go to a professional facility for this, but as a tip, there are also a lot of fun courses and toys that you can have at home for them as well. These are great ways to keep them active at home when you might not have time for that 20th game of fetch that day that they’re begging for.
Miniature poodles are clever, love to problem solve, and eager to please. So, these courses are absolutely perfect for them. They are easy to train because of these attributes and will welcome the attention to detail and focus it will require from them.
On top of that, they possess elegance and poise, so the agility courses tend to be right up their alley.
A great behavioral training course can really help when obedience training your dog. I found a fantastic training system called Brain Training for Dogs. I really liked the private member’s area where I was able to connect with other dog owners to get solutions to issues I had with his training. If you need any behavioral training at all for your dog, I would highly recommend this course! Check it out here
Additional Important Factors for the Exercise of Miniature Poodles
When you think about the exercise you want to give your dog and what types of things you need to consider for a healthy lifestyle, much of it can be the same for any type of dog. But you always want to make sure you stick to the specifics for your breed and type to be sure you’re engaging them properly.
Maintaining a Routine
We talked a bit about this in the section on walking your poodle, but it is a really important ingredient to your dog’s health. Poodles are keen on consistency and routine. Similar to the way they appreciate a firm hand in training, they also like the reliability of a routine. Basically, miniature poodles are Type A personalities.
They will come to rely on this schedule, and not only will it help them in their physical health because of the frequent activity, but it will also set their minds at ease. If they are only used to getting a walk tossed in here and there, but nothing consistent, they are going to be living with a lot of stress.
They love to know that when you get home from work, you put down your stuff, change into comfy shoes, grab the leash, and call their name. Or whatever that routine looks like for you. They don’t love having to guess if they will get a much-needed release of tension and energy each day.
Consider the Age of Your Poodle
Making sure you are doing age-appropriate exercise for your miniature poodle is monumentally important.
Earlier, we talked a little about puppies and the need to ease them into an adult routine. That should be followed and eased into at a pace that is comfortable for them. But for senior poodles, instead of ramping up, you may need to ease up slightly.
Do not assume senior poodles do not need exercise. Whether they are 2 years old or 15 years old, they need exercise. Still, keep up with daily walks and see if you can find some fun games around the house that interest them. They may not be quite as excited for walks as a puppy or younger adult would be, but the fresh air and sunshine on their daily walks will help liven their day and extend their lives.
Keeping Your Miniature Poodle Happy and Healthy
Following these simple guidelines will help in your effort to spend as much time as possible with your furry family member. Miniature poodles have very specific and sometimes quirky personalities, and all of these tips will speak directly to them.
Make sure to speak with your vet regarding any health concerns and take them for regular checkups while maintaining their exercise routines. Routine walks and exercise geared towards their traits will make for a much happier and healthier pup.