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Great article! I think this is very true for poodles. They are so used to routine and it is easy to end up with a crazy dog bouncing off the walls if they miss their scheduled exercise.
 

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Guilty. Mia's resting heart rate was in the 40s - measured at the vet's office, where she was likely a bit stressed.
 

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Thank you for sharing! That’s a great article!!!
I think we do a pretty good job with Bobby in the exercise department but sometimes I feel guilty when I see people doing all these wonderful, heart pounding activities with their dogs. There are things I wish we could do but can’t because of our location. I’m sure we could always do more but Bobby is a pretty mellow dog most of the time so I think we are doing ok. So many dogs in our neighborhood so I see high energy dog activities daily when we are out and about.

This article really “spoke” that we are doing well enough. I needed to hear that message. When I walk Bobby then stop at the park to watch kids play and ask him to lay down and “settle,” that in many ways, is just as good as the person I see throwing the frisby over and over ( this is not a dog park so people aren’t supposed to be doing off leash activities) as we are calmly walking by. Nothing wrong with either activity but this article gave me some encouragement and the perspective to see that we are doing just fine. Great article and I think I will explore the blog.
 

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Oh my god my family learned this the hard way! Many years ago when I was a child we had a BCxLabrador who was not only a mix of high energy breeds but also came from a farm, so descendant of working BCs!

Every damn behavioural problem that he had people just told us to exercise him more. The poor thing just built endurance but was still equally as confused as to what on earth we actually wanted from him!

I guess we are lucky no one told us to alpha roll him, it was during the high-time of the Milan craze.
 

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I have always thought that brain exercise is way more important than non-thinking running bersekers. When we walk from our house it it is a thinking walk with lots of behavior asks, like sit at stop signs and such, but also "free" time for sniffing in leaves and peeing on trees. No running at all. When we get home everybody is ready for a bit of a nap.

I know of someone with a GSP where the wife used to rid her bike with the dog running beside for at least 5 miles at a time and often more than once per day. The dog was still always hyped up crazy until they started taking him to a canine conditioning class that in the most basic of terms was obedience activities on balance equipment. The dog got physical exercise but also had to think about thigs like how to balance on the inflatable peanut. He turned into a different dog.
 

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I have always thought that brain exercise is way more important than non-thinking running bersekers. When we walk from our house it it is a thinking walk with lots of behavior asks, like sit at stop signs and such, but also "free" time for sniffing in leaves and peeing on trees. No running at all. When we get home everybody is ready for a bit of a nap.

I know of someone with a GSP where the wife used to rid her bike with the dog running beside for at least 5 miles at a time and often more than once per day. The dog was still always hyped up crazy until they started taking him to a canine conditioning class that in the most basic of terms was obedience activities on balance equipment. The dog got physical exercise but also had to think about thigs like how to balance on the inflatable peanut. He turned into a different dog.
Definitely true. Misha can run his brains out playing off leash, but it won't exhaust him as much as a 1 hr agility class. When we get home from class he is out for night. So much thinking. On days when I can't take him for off leash play I take him to my university for a long walk around campus. But it's not just walking. I intermittently practice heeling and I have him navigate lots of obstacles in made-up agility courses with outdoor exercise equipment, benches, and rocks. And we always practice settling calmly in a busy area. Combining different goals seems to work very well for satisfying his needs. I have biked with him as well, but it didn't really tire him out too much. He still required play and training exercises.
 

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As I was walking Bobby this morning, which was a wonderfully good walk filled with his normal daily dog things and auto sits, heeling, sniffing, walking by a few dogs...I was thinking a lot about this thread. I posted earlier some thoughts but it just keeps popping in my head, probably because we are going to be leaving soon to take the CGCtest. 😉We will walk there so that will be his second walk today. When I woke up this morning I decided the best approach was to exercise him but definitely not exhaust him as I have found, when I overdo it with him, it often backfires. I have worked hard to find that sweet spot....enough exercise and brain work to drain the energy but not to overdo things to where he is triggered. I definitely have found with him there is a threshold that if he goes over it, we are done with whatever we are doing. That is why in the classroom setting we practice calming activities rather than keep working and working him as the trainers say to do.

I’m sure every dog is different but calm is definitely something that is so necessary for Bobby in so
many situations.That’s not to say we don’t some of those higher energy things but definitely not everyday and to a limited degree. Yesterday we played ball and he had a great time zooming in our fenced backyard. He gets to go to daycare which does exhaust him but I don’t think it would be wise for him to go daily. He goes about 2 to 4 times a month at most. I see so many people In our neighborhood running dogs as they bike, or playing endless games of fetch or frisby. It would be interesting to know if their dogs are calm or demanding. Anyway, just rambling on. This just really resonated with me because I am always telling myself I should exercise Bobby harder or more but now, I don’t think so. It’s ok. He’s a pretty balanced and mostly calm.
 

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I would argue it's important to do both. Physical exercise builds strong muscles, strong heats, lungs, etc. In humans, regular exercise is associated with a whole host of health benefits, I doubt dogs are any differentm I expect my dog to go offleash hiking with me occasionally- I want her to keep up! Our last hike was 10 km over really unstable footing, and I admit, neither of us was in good enough shape for it to be easy. Dogs need to build stamina, just like humans.

But, there needs to be a balance. I am finding crazy running 2-3 times a week (an offleash hike or a trip to the dog park or running with family member's dogs), and more thinking walks /classes the other days seems to be the right balance for Annie at this point. And yes, a 1 hr class can tire Annie out as effectively as a 10 km hike!
 

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Thanks FWOP. To be fair, the choice isn't between "non-thinking running bersekers" and "brain exercise." Agility friends have always been envious of Mia's fearlessness and fitness, all honed on the trails. Even at an agility class a couple of years ago, people who didn't know her age literally gasped at her speed. What she learned on our hikes transferred well to other sports (especially agility and scent sports), but if I had to do it over again, I'd hike less frequently with a friend's PWDs, who encouraged the extra long romps.
 

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Good point, Liz. I would agree - offleash (and even onleash to some extent if the leash is long enough) hiking is excellent brain work. Lots of sniffs, obstacles, check ins to find the human, following and finding the path, etc. If I am feeling well, it's my favourite form of dog exercise.

Probably fetch, biking, running and hours at the dog park are the best examples of mindless exercise/exercise that ramps a dog up. But even fetch can be made a thinking game. Ours is how I taught Annie an awesome down and sit at a distance, long stays, etc.
 

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I think for many of us the joy of a poodle is that they are both highly intelligent and highly athletic. The article is really aimed at people who rely on tiring out their dog through physical activity to control unwanted behaviours and inadvertently ramp up their dog's exercise needs/expectations without addressing the problem behaviour.
 

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If you have a fit/conitiioned dog you need to be able to keep up with that daily!

My pup is a perfect pet weight with a little extra muscle. Just from daily walks,Agility, occasional ball tossing (on his terms :l) and brain games!
 

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Oh yes physical exercise is important for both mental and physical health for humans and dogs. But its just not a solution to every behavioural problem.

I have been much more productive at work for the past few weeks as we are doing a little bit of fostering while we wait for our poodle to cook. For the past 3 weeks I have started every morning with a 30 to 40 min walk with a little chihuahua. Its a fantastic way to start the day for both of us but it doesnt make his frear aggression of other dogs magically disappear. I will miss our little morning walks, he left for his new home yesterday.
 

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Agreed, @For Want of Poodle. This is definitely not an anti-exercise post.

From the introduction:

Unfortunately there are two extremes when it comes to doggy exercise. On the one hand we have dogs that obviously do not receive sufficient mental and physical stimulation and challenges. These dogs are bored, destructive, often over-weight, engage in behaviors like excessive digging or shadow chasing and would certainly do a lot better if they had more activities with their owner.

On the other hand however are the dogs that have plenty (and by plenty I mean too much) physical exercise, as it turned out to be the only way to keep their behavior manageable. If you feel like your dog is going to bounce off the walls if he doesn’t get his daily 2 hour run, this post is for you.


I was lucky to come across a similar article when Peggy was just entering adolescence. I'd already suspected that fetch and frisbee weren't having the desired effect on her behaviour, but didn't understand why. And my gut feeling seemed to run counter to what I'd learned from shows like The Dog Whisperer, where dogs are put on a treadmill until they're practically gagging on their own tongues. I'd come to believe that was a "happy" dog.

Now Peggy's primary activities are mental, but she has her one playdate per week, on fenced acreage, where she can really stretch her magnificent spoo legs. And if I sense her battery needs draining on the off days, I give her a 5-minute backyard zoomies session, but with some "freeze" games thrown in at the end, to help throttle her down and keep her oriented towards me.
 

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Well I guess I was not terribly clear if any of you read my post to be that I think those two extremes are the only options. Frankly if that is what anyone thought (and I am a little put off by that) then I will clarify here. There does need to be balance, but I favor thinking about 60/40 over running out of control. My dogs are in excellent physical condition and maintain very healthy weights and always have excellent physical exams so obviously they are not just couch potatoes with big brains. Lily has such great core conditioning that she can turn herself around on the top board of the dog walk and has kept herself from falling off the dog walk when most dogs would have crashed off with only 3 feet in contact with the board.

I met a private client for the first time today. The dog is a nine month old very poodley doodle and has over an acre of fenced yard, gets tons of running in the yard, but has poor impulse control and zero recall. He also will run the fence line and bark at passersby. He spent over 5 hours last weekend (when his owner contacted me) running the yard and ignoring every attempt to get him to go back in the house. He is a nice dog, but I think most of his problems arise from too much freedom to run like a goofball. My plan is to really install some tough love based impulse control so we can get him to understand that the order to come isn't an ask, but really is an order. If his lovely owner can get a good recall then I think running the fence line and barking at everyone will fade away pretty easily.
 

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He spent over 5 hours last weekend (when his owner contacted me) running the yard and ignoring every attempt to get him to go back in the house.
Oh my goodness. Just reading that made me feel tired! Lol.

I hope you see some good results with him. I'm sure you will if the humans get fully onboard with your training plan.
 

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My plan is to really install some tough love based impulse control so we can get him to understand that the order to come isn't an ask, but really is an order. If his lovely owner can get a good recall then I think running the fence line and barking at everyone will fade away pretty easily.
Once they're in the habit of ignoring recall, and if they don't care about reward treats, what can be done that might work? I've seen this with stubborn, impulsive teens, you can take away everything they own but they'll still skip classes or climb out the window at night to run off and party. Some dogs are the human version of this.
 
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