Exercise – both physical and mental – is essential to Bernedoodles at all stages of development. They are generally lower energy dogs than other breeds, and regular exercise can help keep them that way. By regularly exercising them, you will help them maintain a healthy weight, lower their chance of developing various medical conditions, and keep them happier.
When you keep your pooch’s mind stimulated, they will feel more content. This has obvious benefits for your dog but can have significant benefits for you, too: content dogs are less likely to engage in destructive behavior such as digging and excessive barking.
The best way to implement exercise is to find options that your dog enjoys. If your dog loves running, take them to the dog park and let them run free for 30 minutes a day. If your dog loves playing catch, get a ball and let them run out their energy. Below you will find more specific information on exercising a Bernedoodle, but know that the most important thing is regular exercise doing something the dog already loves.
Bernedoodle Puppy Exercise Requirements
You might assume that the extra puppy energy of young Bernedoodles means they need more exercise than they will when they are older, but the opposite is true. They have lots of energy, but it is used up in bursts rather than extended periods of energy. They are in it for the dash – not the sprint.
Remember that puppies sleep about 18 hours per day, depending on their age. This is necessary for their safe growth. In fact, exercising a puppy too long at too young of an age can actually inhibit the growth process and cause issues as they age.
We recommend exercising your Bernedoodle puppy twice per day for five minutes for each month of age they are. For example, our six-month Bernedoodle gets 30 minutes of exercise twice per day. For her, this primarily consists of running around in our backyard and pestering her older brother, but for your pooch, it could mean a long walk, a trip to the dog park, or anything active that they are interested in.
Proper Exercise for Your Bernedoodle Puppy Can Prevent Destructive Behaviors
The idea that all puppies will chew and destroy things is a myth. When dogs are properly exercised and have plenty of approved toys to play with, their destructive behavior should be minimal or non-existent. Couple with this with the physical benefits of exercise, and it is easy to see that this is a crucial element of caring for your puppy.
Adult Bernedoodle Exercise Requirements
Once a Bernedoodle is one year old, you can consider them an adult for purposes of exercise. At this point, they should get about one hour of exercise twice per day. Adults enjoy the same types of exercise as puppies, but remember that they are half Poodle and Poodles are water dogs. If you live near a lake or other body water that’s appropriate for your pooch to play in, take them for a swim when you can.
Adult Bernedoodles can also keep up their stamina much longer than puppies can. If you are a hiker, take your dog hiking. If you like to take long walks, bring your pet with you. Around one year old is a great time to get into the habit of regular exercise with your dog.
Signs It’s Time to Exercise Your Bernedoodle More Often
When a Bernedoodle does not get enough exercise, it can begin to show undesirable traits. A combination of these signs can point to a Bernedoodle that needs more exercise:
- Gaining weight. If your adult Bernedoodle is gaining weight for no obvious reason, a lack of exercise is likely the culprit.
- Aggravating behaviors. When a dog is not getting the exercise they need, they can become frustrated. This can turn into aggravating behaviors such as not following training exercises, following you around, bringing you toys over and over again, or pushing you with their nose or paws. These are signs that the dog wants to play and get some exercise.
- Likewise, when a Bernedoodle wants to exercise or play, they might start acting restless by pacing, whining, or barking. These are signs that they are trying to tell you something.
- Excessive roughhousing. If your Bernedoodle is laid back like most are, and they suddenly want to roughhouse much more than usual, this is a sign that they are trying to work off excess energy.
Signs It’s Time to Cut Down on Exercise for Your Bernedoodle
Just as there are signs that you have not been exercising your Bernedoodle enough, there are also signs that they have been exercised too much. As is true with a human, if you exercise a Bernedoodle that is not used to strenuous exercise, they can overdo it and injure themselves. Signs you might need to cut down on the exercise include:
- Sore muscles. This is a sure sign that your dog has overextended itself or otherwise been injured. If they have a hard time getting up or whining when they sit up or change positions, they likely have sore muscles.
- Injury to the paw pad. When a dog gets too much exercise, it can show on the paw pads as damage. They might look red and inflamed, or thinner than usual. This can be a considerable issue in warmer months when hot pavement can burn their feet.
- Injured joints. Bernedoodles put more than half of their weight on their front limbs, so their front joints are generally the first to be injured in the event of an exercise injury. If you notice that their toes or legs seem stiff or injured, it might be time to back off on the exercise.
- Avoidance of exercise. If your Bernedoodle has historically liked the exercise you do with them but suddenly does not want to go, then this is a sign that something is wrong.
Remember that Bernedoodles do not need excessive exercise. They are just fine with a few walks per day.
Mental Exercise for Bernedoodles
Bernedoodles tend to be very smart dogs. The more intelligent the dog is, the more mental stimulation they need. With our puppy, we give her consistent physical exercise, but that in and of itself is not enough – she also needs mental exercise.
We achieve this in a few ways. First, we feed her kibble in a food puzzle. She loves these food puzzles and has figured them out very quickly. The puzzles we’ve chosen can be adjusted to be very easy to use at first, and we have now set them to be more difficult. As an added bonus, they turn feeding time into a fun, extended event that keeps her busy so my husband and I can have some much-needed time to relax.
Another way to get your dog mental exercise is through games. We play hide-and-seek with her, which involves one of us holding her while the other hides. Once we’ve hidden, we start to call her, and she runs through the house trying to find us. When she finally does, she gets lots of praise a special treat.
We also keep our puppy stimulated with regular training. She loves learning new tricks both because it’s fun for her and because she gets lots of treats. As with other types of exercise, it might take you some time to determine which types of mental exercise your Bernedoodle likes. Have fun in the process and try out a few options until you’re both having a great time.