Poodles – Born to Run
The image that often springs to mind first when people think of poodles is that of one spending the majority of its time on the lap of elderly, blue haired owners.
It’s certainly not what I think of first, though. My poodle pack not only thrives on walks and runs, they demand them. I struggle when I have to tell them that it is too cold, or too wet, or too hot for them to go. They give me “the look,” that sends pangs of guilt throughout me.
I have three poodles, two of which are miniatures, Moby and Bucky, and one toy, Simone. Since there is a significant size difference between the largest of poodles, the standard, and the smallest, the toy, they have large differences in the amount of exercise they can tolerate. I have known people who trained for marathons with their standard poodles. A toy poodle isn’t able to tolerate training for a marathon, but they sure can be trained to enjoy a long walk, and even don’t mind a little slow jogging. Of the many toy breeds, a toy poodle is probably one of the best choices as a walking buddy in the toy breed group, since their legs are a little longer than many of the other toys. A miniature falls somewhere in between toys and standards in their capabilities for duration and intensity of exercise.
Like people, however, dogs need to work up to mileage and speed. They also can get overheated very quickly; they don’t share our body’s evaporative cooling system, AKA “sweat.” It’s important to take water along if it’s very hot, or if you are planning on going very far.
As incentive to take your poodle for a walk or for a run, remember that research has shown that walking may prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease in humans, and the canine equivalent, cognitive disorder, in dogs. How is that for a two for one deal!? If you need further incentive, research has shown that people with dogs exercise more, with obvious benefits for both owner and dog.
Now that you are motivated to adopt a poodle and go for a walk, or take the poodle you already have for a walk, I’d like to share a few things I do.
Simone, my female toy, is around 10, and while her enthusiasm never wanes, she is no match for Bucky, the three year-old miniature. I have a “doggie stroller” that she rides in periodically during our walk/runs. Moby, a mini like Bucky, loves Simone so dearly that he would rather sit in the stroller with her than hang out with Bucky on the road marking every single mail box we pass. When Simone stands up in the stroller, I know she’s ready to walk, so I put Simone and Moby on the road with Bucky and push the empty stroller until I think she’s gone far enough.
I’ve equipped the stroller with a rechargeable halogen light for dark outings, many “poop” bags, a garage door opener, a small blanket, and water for me and the dogs when it is warmer. We have everything we need on board for having a great time exercising together!
Cindy Quick - OOPS Volunteer