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Hi-

We just adopted our first miniature poodle (Jessie) on Sunday, she's 1.5 years old, 11 lbs. I took her to a local vet today to regsiter her as a new patient and get her heartworm/flea/tick prescriptions. While I was there, I asked the vet his opinion on exercise. He said he considers mini poodles toy breeds and doesn't like anything except for swimming and walking- he said jumping and running are bad for their backs and cause knee issues. He said to limit running to 5 minutes or so per day on a soft surface only.

Now, Jessie was a performer in a circus dinner show before we adopted her, so she's already done a lot of jumping etc on hard surfaces. She also grew up in a house with 6 poodles and was always on the go. And she LOVES fetch. LOVES it.

I want to be a responsible owner, but I've never had a dog before. I know dogs need both physical and mental stimulation to be happy. It's also important to me that Jessie gets enough physical exercise so she doesn't come back home and decide to chase our cats around the house :)

Current exercise routine:
20-25 minute early morning walk + 5-10 minutes of outside fetch (on grass)
2 x 5-10 minute separate training sessions with play (tug/fetch) as a reward (on wood/tile floors)
20-25 minute evening walk + 5-10 minutes of outside fetch (on grass)

Can I have your thoughts on this? I want to strike the best balance for my new friend and the rest of my furry household. She's not treat motivated, so I need to use play to train her. I have all the time in the world and can add more exercise or do less as needed.
 

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Hi-

We just adopted our first miniature poodle (Jessie) on Sunday, she's 1.5 years old, 11 lbs. I took her to a local vet today to regsiter her as a new patient and get her heartworm/flea/tick prescriptions. While I was there, I asked the vet his opinion on exercise. He said he considers mini poodles toy breeds and doesn't like anything except for swimming and walking- he said jumping and running are bad for their backs and cause knee issues. He said to limit running to 5 minutes or so per day on a soft surface only.

Now, Jessie was a performer in a circus dinner show before we adopted her, so she's already done a lot of jumping etc on hard surfaces. She also grew up in a house with 6 poodles and was always on the go. And she LOVES fetch. LOVES it.

I want to be a responsible owner, but I've never had a dog before. I know dogs need both physical and mental stimulation to be happy. It's also important to me that Jessie gets enough physical exercise so she doesn't come back home and decide to chase our cats around the house :)

Current exercise routine:
20-25 minute early morning walk + 5-10 minutes of outside fetch (on grass)
2 x 5-10 minute separate training sessions with play (tug/fetch) as a reward (on wood/tile floors)
20-25 minute evening walk + 5-10 minutes of outside fetch (on grass)

Can I have your thoughts on this? I want to strike the best balance for my new friend and the rest of my furry household. She's not treat motivated, so I need to use play to train her. I have all the time in the world and can add more exercise or do less as needed.
I wouldn't put much stock in what the vet said. I know my vet would never say that. Plenty of minis go jogging. Certainly I would play it safe with a puppy but at 1.5 years you should be safe. Did the vet check her patellas and hips? I would not worry at all about the current exercise. If you want to do anything more strenuous like jogging or biking I would just work up to it slowly. Poodles are very athletic dogs and excel at stuff like FAST CAT and agility. I'm not sure why your vet considers them different from other similar sized dogs that are very athletic.

Also she is adorable!
 

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Ha Ha Ha ! Your vet is very funny ! It’s impossible to stop a mini or toy poodle from running and jumping. They’re athletic dogs and they love it !

How are her patellas, did he say ? If they’re fine, I don’t see why she couldn’t run like any dog.

My toys run every day and they love it. And one jumps on furnitures, the other doesn’t. As long as their patellas are good, I have no worries.

By the way, what’s a «*circus dinner show*»?
 

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Did your vet find something in the physical health issues with your dog that would support the warning. Or is this just a general recommendation for all small dogs?

I have a minipoo. Boy can my dog run, she loves to run. Her favorite sport is agility. She also can be a couch potato when I’m feeling lazy. I have no problem with her jumping and running. If you look at competition agility at the smaller dog height you’ll see minipoos are popular and highly competitive. They are naturally bouncy, athlete dogs. She’s fine with hiking for an hour or two. I think if I didn’t allow my dog to run and jump she would be unhealthy and unhappy.

Your plan for activity is fine. Pay attention to your dog and follow her lead. Does she seem happy with her walks and playing fetch?

I have only one concern... Jumping up and down on furniture because I have wood floors. I have bath mats for her to launch from and land safely. If you have carpet it’s not a concern, but with any hard slippery floor you should provide a safety zone.

My tpoo years ago developed lixating patellar, a very mild form so we taught her that she had to be lifted up and down furniture. If you have concerns you can teach your dog to wait till you put her on and off furniture.
 

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Thanks for your input so far! This vet didn't find anything wrong with Jessie during the exam (other than some ear wax), although he did not examine her hips or patella specifically. His advice was based on his general recommendations for "toy" breeds. I guess I've always thought as miniature poodles as being more athletic than a typical "toy" dog.

Jessie is very happy on her walks and adores playing fetch. She walks slightly ahead of me and never lags behind or stops (except to sniff the really interesting spots). When she's done playing fetch she leaves the ball in her mouth instead of dropping it for me to throw again, and often wants to carry it home herself. The second she puts it down inside the house she runs to her indoor ball and asks for indoor fetch, but I tell her it's time to relax and she complies.

We don't let Jessie up on our furniture, and I'll put her down out of the car too instead of letting her jump out onto pavement.

A circus dinner show... it's a tourist trap. Ha! :) Basically you go watch performers like jugglers, acrobats, funny clowns, performing poodles etc while eating foods like hot dogs, fries and hamburgers. We live in Orlando, so there are plenty of tourists to entertain.
 

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Well Jessie sounds like the perfect poodle, you are so lucky to have a dog that must have had significant training and socializing early in life. Why did they rehome her?

I remember years ago near Miami they had a flea market with a circus show you could watch while eating junk food. I always thought it was weird.
 

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Thanks for your input so far! This vet didn't find anything wrong with Jessie during the exam (other than some ear wax), although he did not examine her hips or patella specifically. His advice was based on his general recommendations for "toy" breeds. I guess I've always thought as miniature poodles as being more athletic than a typical "toy" dog.

Jessie is very happy on her walks and adores playing fetch. She walks slightly ahead of me and never lags behind or stops (except to sniff the really interesting spots). When she's done playing fetch she leaves the ball in her mouth instead of dropping it for me to throw again, and often wants to carry it home herself. The second she puts it down inside the house she runs to her indoor ball and asks for indoor fetch, but I tell her it's time to relax and she complies.

We don't let Jessie up on our furniture, and I'll put her down out of the car too instead of letting her jump out onto pavement.

A circus dinner show... it's a tourist trap. Ha! :) Basically you go watch performers like jugglers, acrobats, funny clowns, performing poodles etc while eating foods like hot dogs, fries and hamburgers. We live in Orlando, so there are plenty of tourists to entertain.
Toy poodles are notorious for patella problems. I don’t know about minis, but since the line is often fine between the two sizes, I suppose it is the same.

Next time you go to the vet, make sure he looks at her patellas and confirms that they are not luxating. That would be a good reason to keep her from jumping on furniture. Unfortunately not all poodles come from good lines. In fact, many of them have this problem.

I’m really surprised he didn’t check that, if I were you I would call and ask what notes are in her file regarding her patellas. If he didn’t check them, maybe you can say you’re worried and ask if you can come by and have it checked for free, since you already paid and he should have done it. It takes 3 minutes, it’s merely palpating the joints.
 

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What a beautiful girl Jessie is! Minis are hardy little dogs and much sturdier than toys! Maybe your Vet doesn't have knowledge about the difference........ I too am surprised her patellas were not checked, as that is always part of an physical exam of most any of the smaller breeds (and some of the larger ones too!) The only thing to be careful with is slippery floors .....losing traction and legs sliding out into awkward/over extended positions can be damaging to legs. Non-slip throw rugs are advised .
Otherwise if you want to get really active, try Agility, Rally, Tracking, Parkour, there are so many things for you to try with such a well mannered girl!! I'm sure there are many dog training clubs to join in dog loving Florida too, LOL!
 

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Jessie is a very beautiful girl! I too would be interested to find out why they re-homed her.

Next time you go into the vet you should remind them to check her petallas. I made my vet check Miracle's (my 7 year old rescue) knees this last visit and she has no issues as of yet. I also started her on Cosequin (joint supplement) because she is older and loves to run and jump. I agree with others that there is no way to stop the running and jumping with an active dog!
 

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I would even consider a different vet. I would think of a mini the same way I would a jack russell terrier or a working cocker. They're small but they're built for activity. Even toys excel at agility, but so do many toy breeds. The vet may have no idea what he's talking about. He should definitely know to check the patellas and hips, but if they seem good then there is no reason to restrict activity.
 

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I agree with Raindrop's suggestion and would consider looking for a vet who has more poodle experience. A vet who's familiar with poodles would naturally check knees, at the least, with any general exam. Knee and back issues are not uncommon in poodles, but I think exercise is actually beneficial. I walk with my boys close to a mile daily (weather dependent), and they run and play with abandon in the yard. They run up and down steps, and jump on and off furniture (carpeted surface to land on). One of all my poodles did injure a knee rounding a corner on the wood floor when she was a young adult, and as an oldster had occasional back issues, but fortunately wasn't disabled by either.

Poodles are NOT hothouse flowers. They love physical play and exercise. I've had a few mini poos in my life and would only restrict their activity level as puppies and as older poos. All the years in between, we were as active as we wanted to be.
 

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I agree, I think I am going to find a different vet. I wasn't impressed with his front office staff either.

It was a hard decision for her owners to rehome Jessie, but they have recently had a baby and with some unpredictable work schedule changes and 5 other dogs, they felt the need to downsize. Jessie didn't enjoy performing as much as the other poodles- she acted like it was more like work than play- so they thought she would do better as a family pet.
 

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I agree, I think I am going to find a different vet. I wasn't impressed with his front office staff either.

It was a hard decision for her owners to rehome Jessie, but they have recently had a baby and with some unpredictable work schedule changes and 5 other dogs, they felt the need to downsize. Jessie didn't enjoy performing as much as the other poodles- she acted like it was more like work than play- so they thought she would do better as a family pet.
Sounds like she came from a loving and thoughtful home.
 

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Sounds like a good situation and she has a great new home! I ended up choosing to go to a new vet when I got Misha because the vets I knew in my area weren't as progressive as I wanted. There can be a lot of variation in what they recommend. Sometimes you can get an idea by looking at their websites. I look for a vet that uses the most current science in what they recommend, as many vets are more old school.
 

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That's great that they let her retire then. I watch the show America's Got Talent and there is a poodle act on the show this year. The poodles are beautiful and very entertaining, but as I watched them I wondered how happy all of them are.

As for the vet, never feel bad about looking around for the right one. A great vet is priceless for a dog.
 

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Unless there is something amiss with back, hips or patellas, your vet doesn’t know much about the breed to recommend containing her natural enthusiasm at 1 1/2! I'm glad you are considering another vet. Congratulations on your girl. She will provide plenty of unscripted entertainment and not just at dinner:)
 
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