Bernadoodles and Exercise: How Much and What Kind is Best
You’re an exercise fanatic. Or maybe not so much, but you enjoy being outdoors. You love
running. Long walks are your thing. Whatever your preference, we all know that we thrive best
with regular exercise, and dogs are no different. A daily dose of exercise not only helps keep
dogs healthy and strong, but it also curves boredom and aggression, deters excessive chewing
and barking, reduces mischievousness and assists in maintaining a healthy weight that leads to
overall well-being. But also like us, it can be difficult to get motivated and stay interested in the
same activities long term. Whether their personality is more high energy like their poodle parent
or slightly docile like that of the Bernese, all Bernadoodles will typically acclimate to any
activity that you are interested in. Below are some tips for new pup owners for getting your pup
off on the right healthy path and help prevent exercise boredom and burnout as they grow.
How Much Exercise
Sometimes we get overzealous with new pups. We want to show them off on our long walks and
set out on runs with our new companion right away. But taming down excitement can oftentimes
become a “thing” for humans just as much as it is for dogs. Keeping the appropriate amounts of
exercise in mind per age is important. If your dog is over exercised, they tend to become
disinterested in your enthusiasm to spend time with them. 15 min of exercise twice a day is
enough time for new pups up to 3 months of age. After 3 months increase their time to a
minimum of 30-60 min a day twice a day. Behaviors are your best indicator of too much or too
little exercise. Training is an important aspect to remember before deciding upon the type and
amount of exercise that is appropriate for your dog. A hyper dog may simply need more training
rather than more exercise. Over time, as you get to know your pup’s personality, you will also
become the most knowledgeable decision maker for your pup.
What Exercises Are Best
As already mentioned, some activities may have to wait till the appropriate age. Regular running
will require your dog to wait until they are at least six month or older to avoid hurting joints and
muscles. Walks are great for younger pups, but as Bernadoodles grow it can become a greater
challenge to keep them interested and engaged in exercise. Finding new and different ways to
exercise with your Bernapoo will help keep them mentally and physically stimulated. If your dog
seems less than enthusiastic to engage in the once enjoyable activities with you, maybe it’s time
to switch things up and try one of the new activities listed below. These will have your Doodle
exercising without even knowing they are exercising.
Dogs love to explore and hiking is a great way to relish in curiosity. With all the
spontaneity in the outdoors, it best to keep your dog on a leash during hikes though. And
most parks or trails require that dogs are leashed anyhow. Retractable leashes are great
for giving dogs a sense of freedom to explore yet still having control of their boundaries.
Try throwing a treat in your immediate area and having the dog play a game of treasure
hunt to sniff out the treat.
Walks never disappoint. But if this easy and simple task has turned boring, spice things
up a bit. Play a game of red light, green light replacing with the commands of “stop” and
“go.” Or change things up by using the commands “faster” or “slower.” Dogs love
consistency of spending time with you but making regular walks mentally engaging can
help avoid boredom and redundancy.
Bernadoodles love the water! The sooner you get them splashing, the better. But get them
used to the water at their own pace. Don’t have a pool? Baby pools are great for dogs. In
larger bodies of water, pool fetch is always a favorite. Toss the toy in and have them
retrieve. Teaser fishing poles provide a great way to play fetch as you cast the toy and
they swim to catch it. Throw a frisbee, ball or dog toy and see how far they can swim to
get the most amount of exercise. If your dog has mastered the art of jumping through
hoops, the pool is a great place to show off their skills added to a simple game of fetch.
Once your pup has simple commands down, agility training becomes a favorite for
Bernadoodles. A quick google search for agility parks may surprise you as far as what
your town has to offer. These spaces are also great for getting dogs out and familiar with
being around other dogs. Agility training fosters stronger mental attention builds
confidence and is also an indirect way of providing fun exercise. Agility kits can be
bought online for around $50.00, however you can also piece together kits with objects
around your own house. Set up an obstacle course and you’ve got yourself your own
agility park right in your back yard! These agility exercises can be done indoors or
outdoors and treats work best for training these skills.
Hula Hoops: Lay hoop on the ground and reward them with a treat for being curious
about the hoop. Use the command “sit” next to the hoop and if followed, reward with
a treat. Have your dog sit inside the hoop and reward them. Hold the hoop in front of
you, vertically with the bottom touching the ground. Holding a treat in front of your
dog use the command “through” and then guide them through the hoop. Give reward.
Repeat several times. Without holding a treat, use your hand and the command
“through” to guide your dog through the hoop, while phasing out the reward. Make
the jumps more challenging by raising and lowering the hoop. Remember to praise!
Pause Box Jumps: Use a sturdy, brown or plastic box or footstool to perform the
jump and pause. This skill teaches body awareness while also providing stimulation
and fun! Flip the box over providing a flat landing for jumping. Using a treat,
encourage them to explore the box or touch the top with their paws. Use the
command “up” and encourage them to perch onto the top of the box. Reward with
treat. Have them jump off the box. Repeat several times.
Tunnels: Pop up play tunnels work great for teaching dogs to feel comfortable in
covered or dark spaces. Blankets draped over chairs, or empty boxes that form a
tunnel also work. Keeping the length short at first, use a lure, or treat to coax them to
walk through to the other end of the box. Repeat several times. Tunnels are a great
way to play a game of peek a boo as well!
Jumping: A Broomstick balanced on a small stack of books can replace a traditional
high jump. Jumping is an easy skill and one of their favorite agility tricks. Balance a
broomstick on a short stack of books. Use the same technique as the hula hoop trick
but with replacing the command “through” with “over.” As they become comfortable
with low jumps, you can begin to raise the height of the jump creating more of a
Handling: If you’re a runner and have high expectations of your Bernadoodle joining
you, you’re going to want to master handling and getting your dog disciplined. Use
cones staggered in a straight line far enough apart to weave through. Using a leash,
have the dog walk beside you as you weave together through the cones. Turn and
repeat the walk keeping the dog on the same side of you. As they master how to walk
at your side, up the pace of your walk until you are at a runner’s pace.
Try different games and toys to keep your dog engaged and exercise fun. Test out various
toys and objects to see what toys they prefer for fun games. “Hyperflite Jawz Disc” is a
flexible rubber frisbee great for playing fetch. Use treats to lure them back to you after
retrieving or try toys that can be stuffed with treats for them to retrieve. Teaser toys are
always a great way for dogs to play chase. Gas stations or dollar stores oftentimes sell
inexpensive, small laser pointers that make great dog toys. Dogs will be confused yet
quite entertained by a tiny red dog that they can’t ever seem to catch. Ropes are great for
playing a friendly game of tug o war. A simple set of stairs can turn into a fun, healthy
game that is rewarded with a treat. Games are a creative way to ensure they receive their
ample amount of daily exercise.
Bernadoodles ultimately love your attention and being with you, but they are not exempt from
activities boring them. Liven things up by choosing new and different activities and choosing
ways to ensure exercise is always a part of their healthy life!