Walk your poodle multiple times a day. Poodles don’t need as much exercise as some other energetic breeds, but you should still strive to walk them at least twice a day for no less than 20 minutes per walk. This is particularly important for standard poodles, as they are the largest sized poodle and the most active. Toy and miniature poodles require less physical activity, but you should still make sure they get enough exercise to maintain a healthy cardiovascular and digestive system.
- A standard poodle can develop superior endurance and speed—some people have even trained for marathons with this boisterous breed! But, you should amp up activity gradually in order to avoid overheating.
- Backyards can be a great resource to let the poodle run around and play, but, since poodles are highly intelligent and crafty dogs, make sure the yard is well-equipped with tall, durable fences. Scan your fences carefully for any holes or weaknesses before letting your dog run around, and don’t let your dog be outside when you’re not home to supervise.
Do activities like field events and tracking. Poodles were originally bred in Germany to be trackers and water retrievers, so they have innately excellent senses of smell and intelligence. Field events, hunting, tracking, and agility exercises are all excellent options which let the poodle use these natural skill sets and interests while keeping it mentally engaged and physically active.
- Tracking training involves getting the dog to follow a tracklayer’s scent over an extended distance, navigate obstacles in the terrain, and find and retrieve an object such as a glove or hat carrying the tracklayer’s scent. If you’re not familiar with the procedure, you can get help with this kind of training through local poodle organizations, obedience classes, or American Kennel Club chapters.
Make your poodle a member of the family. Poodles are loving, giving dogs, but this also means they need tons of attention in return. They prefer to be with you at all times, so include your dog in anything you can. For example, take it with you to your kids’ baseball game, out on your morning jog, and to your friends’ barbecue.
- Since poodles don’t tolerate solitude very well, you should provide them with a distraction toy such as a Kong-type food delivery toy when you must leave them alone. Otherwise your poodle will act out and keep its mind occupied through other, often destructive behaviors, such as chewing on furniture or shoes.
Use reward-based training methods to teach obedience skills. Most experts agree that the best way to train a dog is through positive reinforcement—that is, rewarding behaviors you want the dog to do instead of punishing negative ones. In this approach, you give treats and/or verbal praise when the dog does something good or follows your commands, such as “sit,” “stay,” “look,” or come.” Just make sure that you give the treat and praise within a few seconds of the correct behavior, as otherwise your dog won’t understand what they’re being rewarded for.
Treats should be small, easily chewed, and healthy, so don’t use human foods which get the dog used to salty snacks and can encourage begging. Using individual kernels of your dog’s normal dry food can be a good option.