Is Your Cockapoo Getting Enough Exercise?

Jogging is great exercise for dogs and people.
Photo contributed by Jenny.
It is a well known fact that dogs, like their human owners, need to exercise to stay healthyCockapoos in particular have a lot of energy. Any dog can become hyperactive, or develop behavior issues such as aggression, when they do not receive enough exercise. 

Many owners do not have as much energy or time as their dog to go for walks, play, and do all the things their dog would like to do. Other owners (and even some dogs) have physical limitations, due to age, disability, or illness. Still more owners live in an area where exercising their dog is difficult, such as a small apartment in a busy city, or in a very hot or cold climate.

So what is the best, most convenient way for you to work out your cockapoo? And how do you know if he is getting enough exercise? While there is no "one size fits all" answer to the question, there are many things you can do to make sure your dog stays physically fit.

First, consider your dog's weight and age, along with his physical disabilities. Is your dog overweight? Many are and their owners have no idea. In fact, as much as 40% of dogs in the US are obese. Find out if your dog is obese here. The link opens in a new window, so you can do this now if you like, or bookmark the page.

A good rule of thumb is that your cockapoo (and you) should receive at least 20 minutes per day of aerobic exercise. You'll know your exercise is aerobic if it makes you slightly short of breath, to the extent that it would be hard to hold a conversation. Your dog may pant slightly, and will be focused on the exercise. Such activities can include walking, jogging, swimming, running and playing with a neighbor's dog, or playing an active game such as fetch. Don't overdo it: once your dog is tired, stop.

Many cockapoos love to jump and swim!
Photo contributed by Danielle Lazara.
Is your cockapoo too old or unhealthy for vigorous exercise? Consider brief swimming sessions with your dog, or take short walks together. These sessions should not be pushed further than your dog is comfortable with, but even 10 minutes per day of light aerobic activity is better than nothing.
If you cannot walk or swim due to disability, teach your dog to walk on a treadmill. This is also a good tip if you live in a small apartment in a bustling metropolis, work the night shift, or otherwise can't take your dog for walks as often as you'd like. If you have a big yard or dog-friendly park nearby, take him out to play fetch. If you are too ill or busy to do even these things, please have a friend or dog-walker make sure the dog is getting at least one walk every day.

Do you live an active lifestyle? Include your dog! If you like to hike, take him on hikes with you. If you sail, teach your dog to be comfortable on a boat (with a flotation jacket and a leash, please.) Into cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing? The snow is great exercise, just be careful your pooch doesn't get too cold or wet. Consider dog booties if your dog will be walking on snow, hot pavement or sand, or rough surfaces such as scree or gravel.

Fetching balls or flying discs is fun
 and a great energy outlet for dogs.
Photo contributed by Emily Duguay.
If your dog requires even more exercise, due to high energy levels, behavioral issues, consider some of these high-energy exercises. Throw a flying disc specially designed for dogs, like this one made by Kong, for him to run and catch, and make the sessions last until your dog is quite tired. Take him to agility training, a bonding experience where his wits and physical abilities will be tested. Consider going to a clean, well-regulated dog park so your cockapoo can play with other dogs, just make sure he is up to date on vaccinations and that you practice good hygiene (no drinking from other dog's bowls, for instance.) You can purchase an inexpensive portable dog water bottle/bowl combo to keep your pet hydrated. 

Use common sense. If it is hot where you live, exercise your dog early in the morning or after the sun has begun to go down and the weather is cool. If there is any danger to your dog in the are you are taking him, use a leash. Keep plenty of water on hand (for both of you.) 

Follow these tips and you may find that your dog is happier, more well-adjusted, and healthier. You may even find that you are, too!

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