The best amount of Labradoodle puppy exercise might surprise a lot of new owners.
Labradoodles are a mix between two very active and athletic working breeds that will need plenty of exercise each day.
But, as a young, growing puppy, over-exercising can have risks, like putting excess stress on developing joints.
And, puppies aren’t allowed to exercise outside until they’re fully vaccinated. So, how can you be sure they’re getting enough?
How Much Exercise Does a Labradoodle Puppy Need?
As a general rule of thumb, puppies should receive 5 minutes of formal exercise per month of age, up to twice a day.
So, if your Labradoodle puppy is 16 weeks old, you can take them for a 20 minute walk, once or twice a day.
Surprised? Well, even if your Labradoodle puppy seems active and hyper, the truth is that they actually need to sleep for a lot of the day at this young age.
Puppies need plenty of good, quality sleep to help their brains and bodies develop.
So, ensuring your Doodle gets enough sleep is just as important as ensuring they get enough exercise.
On average, Labradoodle puppies should be getting around 18 to 20 hours of sleep a day. So, you only have 4 – 6 hours left for your puppy to play, exercise, learn, and eat.
The Dangers of Over-Exercising Labradoodle Puppies
As well as the need for lots of sleep, too much exercise can result in bone and joint damage, or can hinder development and growth.
Labradoodles come from two large and hard working breeds.
But, they are also prone to certain joint issues, including hip and elbow dysplasia, and arthritis.
So, it’s important to do all you can to protect their joints, particularly whilst they are still developing.
What Type of Exercise is Best for Labradoodle Puppies?
Routine exercise can include walking, running, or even an energetic game of fetch in the backyard.
But, throughout the day, your puppy will also get exercise from following you around the house, training sessions, playing inside, and playing with other doggy playmates.
Like all puppies, your Labradoodle explores the world with his mouth and nose. When he first comes home with you, everything he experiences is going to be new.
And, exploring his or her new home will take a lot of energy in those first couple of weeks! So, you might find that formal exercise is the least of your worries in the first week or two.
The best type of exercise for Labradoodle puppies will depend on their age, and on protecting their joints.
Why Age Matters
Most Labradoodle puppies will be fully vaccinated by 12 weeks. But for some, it may be a little later.
If your Doodle comes home with you at 8 weeks, this means you have an entire month where exercising outside is unsafe.
Putting your pup on the ground outside where other animals can go can put your Labradoodle puppy at risk of diseases like parvovirus, canine distemper, and leptospirosis.
So, until they’re fully vaccinated, the best type of exercise for your Labradoodle puppy will be anything you can do indoors.
As they get older, you can not only go outside with your puppy, but also increase the amount of time you spend exercising them.
So, a short walk could turn into a lovely long hike or swim once your puppy is over 6 months old.
Protecting Their Joints
The other factor that influences the best type of exercise for your Labradoodle puppy is the need to protect their joints.
Whilst puppies are young, their joints will be at their most vulnerable, still undergoing a period of development.
Limiting exercise can help to protect your puppy’s joints at this age.
But, the type of exercise you let your puppy do can also have an impact.
For instance, one study recommends that puppies under 3 months of age should not be allowed to use stairs, as this can potentially increase their risk of hip dysplasia.
So, whilst your Doodle is still very young, calmer forms of exercise are going to be best, particularly things that can be done on flat surfaces.
Why is Exercise so Important for a Labradoodle Puppy?
We’ve talked a lot about the dangers of over-exercising a Labradoodle puppy so far. But, this doesn’t mean that you should never exercise them for fear of hurting their joints.
All puppies and dogs need a certain amount of routine exercise, and the Labradoodle is no exception.
In fact, Labradoodles will need more exercise and mental stimulation than some other, less active breeds or mixes.
Exercise is important because puppies are active, playful, and curious.
If they are bored, they can become destructive and get into trouble. Proper exercise will help to reduce problematic behaviors like chewing, potty training accidents, and hyperactivity.
But, like young children, puppies will try to stay awake if they feel a game is afoot and they don’t want to miss out.
Remember, keeping your puppy well rested is just as important as meeting their exercise needs.
Exercise Can Improve Health
On top of the benefits of exercise listed above, proper exercise will also help to keep your Labradoodle puppy physically healthy.
Exercise will help to:
- Regulate their weight
- Heighten the immune system
- Strengthen bones and joints
- Aid in overall healthy development
Best of all, consistent Labradoodle puppy exercise routines go hand-in-hand with training and socialization.
And, early leash training will help to prepare your Doodle for good manners as an adult, even if they’re too young to go on walks yet.
Let’s take a closer look at Labradoodle puppy exercise in and out of the house.
Exercising Your Labradoodle Puppy Without Going on a Walk
There are plenty of ways you can give your Labradoodle puppy exercise without taking them on a walk.
In fact, since very young Labradoodle puppies need around 30 minutes of exercise a day, you can achieve this by just investing in a few good toys.
Here are some fun game ideas to try out with your Labradoodle puppy:
- Play fetch in the backyard
- Create obstacle courses in your lounge (avoid steps if under 3 months)
- Play tug in the house
- Play hide and seek with some smelly treats
- Teach your puppy some new tricks
Labradoodles are very intelligent and will enjoy learning and exploring.
So, if you can find a way to mesh mental stimulation with routine Labradoodle puppy exercise, you’ll be in for a very happy and healthy Labradoodle.
Mental Stimulation in Labradoodle Puppy Exercise Routines
Exercise isn’t just about keeping your Labradoodle puppy physically fit. It’s also about helping him to develop healthy habits, routines, expectations, and social skills.
So, when exercising your Labradoodle puppy, work to implement structure and rules.
Walk or exercise your Labradoodle around the same time each day, even if the exercises or games are different.
Regulate nap times and prioritise socialization when you take your Labradoodle out, even when you can’t put them on the ground!
But, avoid anything that clearly scares your puppy. Remember that the world around him is new, and every experience can have a major impact on his well being as an adult dog.
It’s a great idea to leash train your Labradoodle puppy indoors as a form of early exercise. Along with some added mental stimulation, this will make future walks much easier and more enjoyable.
Leash Training Your Labradoodle Puppy
It’s never too early to start working with your Labradoodle puppy on leash training. Even if your puppy is waiting on vaccines, you can still begin leash training at home.
Gently encourage your Labradoodle to love the leash and harness by introducing it gradually. Pair it with some tasty treats and lots of praise.
Once your puppy is happy with getting the harness and leash on and off, practice taking a few steps in the home and backyard.
Use treats to keep your puppy’s focus on you, and avoid scolding or punishing him if he pulls, bites his leash, or becomes distracted.
Remember, your puppy is a puppy, and all of these behaviors are normal!
The best way to help him learn as quickly as possible is to keep walking sessions short, fun, and game-like.
You can even start on the basics of heel with a training course.
Labradoodle Puppy Exercise
What’s your Labradoodle puppy’s favorite form of exercise?
Have you already mastered polite leash walking, or is that something you and your Doodle are still working on?
References and Resources
- Dunbar, I. ‘What’s Important to Know Right Away’, Before & After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy & Well-Behaved Dog (2004)
- Farrell, L. (et al), ‘The Challenges of Pedigree Dog Health: Approaches to Combating Inherited Disease’, Canine Genetics and Epidemiology (2015)
- O’Neill, D. ‘Progress in Purebred Dog Health Since the Bareson Report of 2010’, Vet Record (2014)
- ‘Puppy and Dog Walking Tips’, The Kennel Club
- Krontveit, R. (et al), ‘Housing- and Exercise-Related Risk Factors Associated with the Development of Hip Dysplasia as Determined by Radiographic Evaluation in a Prospective Cohort of Newfoundlands, Labrador Retrievers, Leonbergers, and Irish Wolfhounds in Norway’, American Journal of Veterinary Research (2012)