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Exercise

Maltipoo Exercise and Activity Requirements

Overview

While the Maltipoo is most certainly an indoor companion dog, you should be heading outside to exercise your puppy or dog just about every day. 

Regular exercise for a Maltipoo has a host of benefits. 

This improves circulation, keeps muscles strong, keeps the heart healthy, gives a dog a healthy appetite, can help a dog release pent up energy that would otherwise be directed in a negative way, and can help a dog sleep better at night.

Exercise also helps ward off certain diseases, and can even help prevent some cancers. 

Here, we'll take a look at what you need to know about Maltipoo exercise requirements, and how to make this both safe and fun. 

Age to Start Exercising a Maltipoo Puppy

Maltipoo puppy 16 weeks old
Oliver, at 16 weeks old, photo courtesy of The DeLena-Fisher Family
If you have a new 8-week old puppy, no doubt you are really looking forward to going for walks to show him off to the neighborhood, or maybe you're even planning a first trip to the dog park. However, this can't happen just quite yet.

A Maltipoo puppy must be 12 to 14 weeks old before he can be brought outside for exercise in any public place, or any place in which there could have been dogs or wildlife, and this includes your yard. 

The only exception is if the dog(s) in question are your own, and they are completely up-to-date on shots including boosters. 

Each veterinarian has their own exact schedule for vaccinations. Yet, in general, puppy shots are complete by 10 to 12 weeks. However, it can take up to 2 additional weeks for a pup's immunity to be where it should be. For this reason, we recommend waiting two weeks passed the final round of shots before starting your Maltipoo's exercise routine. 

Maltipoo Exercise Frequency, Duration and Pace

Ideally, a Maltipoo should be walked two times per day for a total of at least 40 minutes. A good goal to have is two walks of 20 minutes each. If needed, do a 30 minute walk and a 10 minute walk, or another combination that works best for you. Most dogs do best with a walk in the morning, and then another in the evening. 

Keep in mind that a lively walk about 2 hours before bed can help a dog sleep; however, this is the cutoff line, exercise too close to bedtime can cause an increase in adrenaline that can make it difficult for a dog to settle down and relax.

Walks should be at a pace that is brisk for your puppy or dog. It is up to you to control the pace. If it were up to some pups, they'd be dawdling and stopping to sniff every other second. More details ahead on walking tips. 

In addition to these 2 walks per day, most Maltipoo can benefit from a 20 minute outdoor play session, or an indoor one if there is inclement weather. This can take place at any time, and you'll find that your Maltipoo will let you know when this is needed. Typically, when a dog starts to get restless, there'll be excess barking, pacing, whining, or other such behavior. This is often a sign that there's a need to get out and release some energy, and have some mental and physical stimulation.  

Added benefits of this sort of exercise session are that it's a great time to teach commands (come, fetch, give, etc.) and playing one-on-one with your dog helps strengthen owner-to-dog bonding. 

Walking Tips

There are some things that you'll want to avoid, and some things that you'll want to make sure that you do. Here are the top 4 tips: 
1. Time the walks. It's very easy to overestimate how long it takes to walk somewhere. If you're looking down the street at your mailbox, or your neighbor's you might think, 'If I walk down there, that'll be a nice 10 or 15 minute jaunt'; but in reality, it may only take just a few minutes. 

So, be sure to time your Maltipoo's walks. You may be surprised how far you need to go, or how many loops around the block it takes to reach that 40 minute per day goal. 
maltipoo walked on harness
Shiloh, at 4 years old,
photo courtesy of The Perry Family, Raleigh, North Carolina
2. Use a harness, not a collar. If you ever saw a dog suffering with collapsed trachea, you would cringe every time you saw a dog walked on leash and collar.

Collapsed trachea is a terrible condition in which the tracheal rings surrounding the windpipe collapse inward. Weakened rings are an inherited trait, and toy sized dogs are very prone to this. Extended wear on the neck is a contributing factor. And pressure that occurs when on leash and collar is a top cause of this.

Once the rings are injured, there is no turning back, no wishing that you made different choices. 

A dog will be in pain, and have an awful cough, as he struggles to breathe. Medications will be given, including anti-inflammatories, and in severe cases, surgery is needed.

This alone is reason to opt for a harness when you walk your Maltipoo. However, other bonuses including the important aspect of having more control. 

Why is this important? Because when a dog is allowed to walk ahead of his owner, this sends the wrong signal. It gives the dog the role of leader, literally leading the way. When you want your Maltipoo to behave nicely and listen to you, it's essential that you are seen as leader. So, when walking, have your puppy or dog to your immediate left, with just enough slack in the leash to keep him there.
In addition to this, a harness will allow you to better control your Maltipoo if your puppy or dog tends to jump or otherwise go astray while being walked. 

The reason why a harness allows you to do all of this is because it distributes pressure over the chest, back, and shoulders, where there are stronger muscles, and not the neck, which is a very vulnerable area of the body. 

One of the most comfortable, easy to put on, and cute harness are the Puppia Dog Harnesses; these come in a range of sizes, colors, and patterns. There are also various fabrics, including mesh for a cool fit in the summer.
These walking harnesses can be seen below. On mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4. 
3. Visit the bathroom area before a walk. It's so common for dogs to pee and poo along the walking route that owners never give this a second thought. However, if you are housebreaking a puppy, allowing this is a huge missed opportunity to teach the rules. And even for adult dogs that are already trained, allowing this is a missed chance to reinforce lessons learned. 
4. Keep a routine. It's easy to let the day run away... work, errands, cooking, cleaning, that show on TV that you just can't miss... And then before you know it, the day is over and exercise needs were not met. 

But, when you have a set time to exercise your Maltipoo, you'll be more prone to stick with it. It takes just about 3 weeks for something to become a habit, so after that, it'll seem odd if you don't head outside. 

In addition, having specific times to exercise gives a dog something to look forward to. Canines have amazing inner clocks; when given a routine, they will know when it's time to go for a walk or have a play session, and will be meeting you at the door. 

Outdoor Playtime Exercise

Maltipoo posing on a tree
Teddi, at 1 year old,
photo courtesy of Hannah Birke 
The #1 way to add in extra exercise is to play a lively game of fetch. It is the quintessential game for owner and dog to play, and for good reason.

It's super easy to do, it can be done in just about any yard space, and it offers quick bursts of cardio that benefit physical health and endurance. 

In addition, if the weather is bad, and you have a large room or long hallway, you can play this inside to help prevent an entire day of staying sedentary. 

There are even more pluses to adding in a supervised outdoor play session to your Maltipoo's regular exercise routine:
  • Playing a game with a dog is a wonderful way to strengthen bonds. It helps establish you as leader, since you'll be directing the game, but is also requires good teamwork. 
  • It can boost a dog's self-confidence. Each time that a dog fetches a ball and each time he brings it back for more play, it is a small victory. Repeated small victories over the course of 15 or 20 minutes means one huge success. Dogs finish feeling good about themselves
Here's some tips to help these activity sessions be as fun as possible: 
1. Your Maltipoo's level of enthusiasm will match your's. If you halfheartedly throw the ball, your dog will halfheartedly chase after it. But, if you are psyched up and act genuinely excited, your Maltipoo will be more than happy to join in. 
2. If you don't have an enclosed yard, have your Maltipoo on harness and extra-long leash. One like the Spanky's Stuff 30 Ft Long Leash is sturdy but lightweight, and allows a small dog to run quite freely, yet stay safety tethered to you.
3. Use the right type of fetch toy. You'll want the fetch toy to be properly sized so that it's easy for your Maltipoo to mouth, and something that either bounces quite well and/or is attention-grabbing when thrown. 

The most common toy to throw is a regular tennis ball; but many Maltipoo are just too small to easily mouth these. However, something like Zanies Colorful Mini Tennis Balls for Dogs offers a pack of 6 brightly colored tennis balls that are ideally sized for small dogs. 
And, you just can't beat a Kong Wubba; this has two balls (a tennis-type ball and a squeaker ball), wrapped in sturdy fabric, with trailing tails that flutter when it's thrown.
The outdoor exercise items that we've mentioned are below. On mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4.

And next, we will cover seasonal exercise tips. 

Cold Weather Exercise Tips

It's freezing outside, or worse yet it's snowing... the wind is blowing, you're cold, your Maltipoo is cold... must you really take a 20 minute walk? Wouldn't it just be better to curl up on the sofa together? 

Though it it tempting to stay in, stopping walks based on weather, and in particular the winter when it may be cold for 3, 4 or even 5 months, can have drastic effects on your Maltipoo's physical health- both now and in the future, and his emotional health. 

Days and weeks of skipped activity curtails the maintenance of lean muscle and reduces a dog's endurance level for when exercise is reinstated. On the emotional side of things, dogs can get cabin-fever, and this often leads to frustrated feelings that manifest either as barking, jumping, pacing, or otherwise acting hyper inside, or can manifest as depression. 
So, have the goal of exercising your Maltipoo year-round; there are some tips that can help: 
Maltipoo dressed for cold weather
Bella Donna, at 3 years old, 
photo courtesy of Keane Nelson
1. Dress warm yourself. Even if your Maltipoo is super comfortable, if you're not, you'll be much more prone to want to cut the walk short. So, be sure to dress for the weather with boots, hats, gloves, and an appropriate coat. 

2. Keep your Maltipoo warm. It is very common for toy sized dogs to have trouble regulating body temperature. And this is particularly true for breeds with hair, as opposed to fur. So, a Maltipoo may shiver and/or be resistant to go outside when it's cold out. 

This is why dog clothes are more than just trendy ways to make a pup look cute. Offering an added layer to a dog's core body can make a huge difference. Often, a knit sweater or a sweatshirt like the Zack & Zoey Hoodie can do the trick. If there's precipitation, you may want to opt for a waterproof jacket or coat (recommendations ahead). 

3. Protect your Maltipoo's paws. In the winter, ice melt chemicals, road salt, and frozen walking surfaces can really do a number on a dog's paws. In addition, dogs often need help with traction over icy areas.
While you can slip doggie shoes on your Malitpoo, these are not always well tolerated. A great method of protecting the paws is with a quality paw wax. One like Musher's Secret (see below) will add a breathable layer of protection from outside elements, and as an added plus can heal dry paw skin. 
4. Know when to say no. Though your goal should be to take your Maltipoo for walks twice per day, there will always be some exceptions. If there are blizzard-like conditions, severe heavy rain, or other sorts of weather that has you questioning your puppy or dog's safety, stay inside. 

There are some indoor games you can play that can help keep your Maltipoo active; while this is not as good as purposeful, brisk walking, or running outside during a game of fetch, it is better than staying sedentary (more details ahead). 
Below are some super cute, yet comfortable, outwear for dogs; these all come in both Small and Extra-Small sizes. In addition, is Musher's Secret, which is the #1 most effective paw wax to use (both winter and summer). On mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontal to see all 4 images.

And next, we'll dive into important summertime tips. 

Hot Weather Exercise Tips

Summer is a great season to spend extra time outside, but in the worst case scenarios, dogs can become dehydrated, suffer from heat stress, and/or receive burns. So, there are some steps you should take to ensure that your Maltipoo stays safe and comfortable. 
happy maltipoo playing outside
Coco, at 4 months old,
photo courtesy of Elisa Perez
1. Bring along water. Whenever you head out, whether this is for your Maltipoo's daily walk or out to play at the park, bring along fresh water. Stop at the halfway point of a walk to take a break and offer this. When out and about at a park or other outside area, have your puppy or dog take a break every 20 minutes or so to have a rest and take a drink. 

One of the easiest ways to bring along water for a dog is in a canine portable 2-in-1 container like the H2O4K9 Dog Water Bottle and Travel Bowl; the one item serves both purposes.
2. Avoid activity during midday; take your Maltipoo out for walks early in the morning and then later in the evening. 
3. Know the signs of heat stress. Often, dogs start to overheat, but keep pushing themselves. If they're having fun, they don't want to stop. So, things can become serious by the time a dog does slow down, and you notice. Always be on the lookout for signs that point to developing heat exhaustion. 

This includes heavy panting, excessive drooling, and reddened gums. 
Without intervention, this can quickly worsen with signs including little or no urine output, and/or rapid heart rate. Soon, there can be kidney failure, organ failure, fainting, coma, and death. 

If you suspect that your Maltipoo is getting too hot, immediately seek shelter in an air conditioned building; if this is not possible seek shade. Offer water.

If your Maltipoo is in distress, place cool wet towels on his body, and place fans around him for air circulation. Give water.

Most veterinarians recommend stabilizing a dog before trying to transport him for help; but do call your vet for instructions. 
4. Be very aware of hot walking surfaces. At 120 F, a dog reaches his pain tolerance. At 125 F, burns can occur. At 140 F, blistering and permanent scaring can occur in under 1 minute.

A study run by a Liberty Home and Pet Services tested the temperatures of various walking surfaces in Florida during the summer. Cement reached 125 F at 2 PM, red brick reached 125 F at noon and shot up to 130 F at 1 PM and then 135 F at 2 PM, and blacktop pavement reached 130 F at noon and a shocking 140 F at 2 PM, not becoming safe again until 7 PM. 
You can help protect your Maltipoo's paws in the summer by applying a quality paw wax like Musher's Secret Paw Wax once per week, avoiding walks during the hottest times of the day, and staying in the shade and/or on the grass when possible. 

Indoor Exercise and Games to Play with Your Maltipoo

There will be some days when outdoor activities are not ideal such as sub-freezing winter days or blazing hot summer days. But, you'll still want to offer some sort of activity for your Maltipoo so that your dog can burn off build-up energy, release some frustration, and cure some boredom that may be settling in. 
two Maltipoo dogs in the winter time
Otis and Zoe,
photo courtesy of Olivia Petch
Here's some ideas:

Hide and Seek - This is a game many dogs love and look forward to. It is best to play this with a new and special toy that is only used for this game and put away when the game is over.

Begin by making sure your Maltipoo is paying attention to you. Have the special toy in your hand and be sure that your pup sees where you hide it. Begin with an easy spot, such as under a sofa cushion that's left partially up or under a pillow that is placed on the floor. Encourage your dog to find it; you can do this by pretending that you are looking for it as well.

Since your Maltipoo will know where the toy was hidden, it should only take a moment to locate it. 

When it's found, be sure to act very excited with happy words and praise. This will prompt your Maltipoo to want more.

Then, it will be time to make the game more challenging. If your dog has not yet learned the 'Sit' command, this can be a great time to introduce it as you command a 'Sit' as you hide the toy in a slightly more challenging location. 
If you have a pup that is too young to be patient enough for command training while playing, simply move around quickly and slip the toy between cushions, around a corner, or other hiding spot. As the game progresses, you can put it in another room and encourage your Maltipoo to run around and search.

When played enough, dogs can learn to survey entire houses, room by room. Be sure to supervise. 

When it is time for the game to end, mark this by giving praise and a tasty treat. This will be the signal for your Maltipoo to understand that the treat means that the game is over until the next time.
Slippery fun - Another great way to provide a fun indoor activity is to simply offer an ice cube to your Maltipoo on a floor that is hard, such as a kitchen linoleum or tile floor. Your pup will be very amused, trying to hold on to the slippery cube as it slides across the room. This is also a wonderful aid for teething puppies as the cold cube will give relief to sore gums.
Indoor fetch - As we mentioned earlier, fetch can be played inside if you have a long hallway, or can clear a room enough to toss a ball or toy and and have your Maltipoo scamper after it. Even if you have to move some furniture around, if you're snowed in, it is often worth doing this in order to provide activity. 
You May Also Like: 
Maltipoo Allergies - The steps you should take to finally fix allergies for good; covers both triggers and at-home treatment. 
The Best Treats and Snacks for a Maltipoo - How often to give these, the 3 types and when each should be given, and top recommendations. 
See Also: Maltipoo Q&A Blog > Can a Maltipoo be walked too much?
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