Exercise and working dogs breeds as pets

(23 Posts)
foolonthehill Thu 17-Jan-13 23:17:59

just a quick question. many years ago i owned a Border collie: nervy, clever and obsessional...we were advised not to over exercise her as she would "change gear" and need even more stimulation than she already did.

we now have a gorgeous rescue Springer...working type 4 years old who i exercise for at least 2 hours per day, 1 hour off lead at least, most in the morning then a shorter lead walk in late afternoon.

I work from home so she has company but prob. only 10-15mins training as i have to actually work sad (training more fun).

How does that sound for her in your experience?

I have a cocker/springer cross, and he gets about the same. He seems fine with it and spends most of the day lying upside down on the sofa grin He will run all day given the opportunity, and be bouncing off the walls if he didn't get a good run every day, but I think we have a good balance. In the house, he's a lap dog.

foolonthehill Fri 18-Jan-13 08:11:42

grin yup foolish dog prefers to sit on (not at) my feet unless a more comfy option is available. love them they are total softies...always up for cuddles and even loves the millions of children doing random cuddles all day long.

Good to hear this. Our Springer pup is getting lots of stimulation and exercise already (all at his pace!). I have mild concerns that I will end up walking him for 6 hours a day when he's fully grown smile

In reality, he will get a good long walk off lead with me of around 90+ minutes then maybe another 45 minute to an hour with DH later, plus lots of training and longer walks at the weekend.

Is this ok? Quite fancy the good citizen scheme to for starters by the KC.

Mine is a cross, and more cocker than springer, but I find that if we go for a good trek through the woods at the weekend for 2 hours, he won't want to go out again that day. But through the week, I take him on the school run and walk him after drop off and before pick up through woods and across fields for 45 minutes minimum each time, and that is enough. We got in just under an hour ago, and he is crashed out in his bed. He will pretty much stay there until lunchtime, when we'll have a bit of a play, then he'll sleep again until it's time to collect DS. I think he would run all day long, and he will take whatever I throw at him, but he also likes cuddling on the sofa and playing with the DC. Certainly with my dog, he doesn't let on that he's tired when he's out, but I know when we get in if we've overstayed our welcome because he is aslepp within minutes when we get in. He's 18 months old.

belindarose Fri 18-Jan-13 10:21:36

My springer is the same age as Chickens'. He gets a bit less exercise than that - I have babies so it can sometimes be hard to get out. Most days he gets 1-2 hours off lead. Rarely has a lead walk. He would love to run all day, but also seems content to sleep or mooch around the house. He always has a bone on the go.

It makes no difference to his bedtime and night sleep whether he has hours off lead or a quick trot down the road. He asks for bed between 9-10pm and sleeps till breakfast.

I feel terribly guilty that I don't walk him more, but do feel that his off lead woodland walks are good quality at least. He's a very calm and contented dog (indoors!) so I suppose we're doing alright.

Interesting re the woods and thank you for the replies. Of all the off lead pottering through the countryside that we have done so far, the one he has loved the most is when I took him through some woodland the other day. He was clearly dying to explore further but scared to go too far away from me too! My favourite type of walking is in woodland so that's good.

Seems I might not need to do as much exercise as I had thought. Whenever we say we have a Springer puppy, I get the 'gawd - springers are mad, insane, need tons of exercise etc' comment. Not that we are prepared to NOT give him what he needs but he may not need as much as I had imagined.

Sounds like he gets all he needs belinda and he's a happy doggysmile

belindarose Fri 18-Jan-13 10:38:28

Woodland walks have been brilliant for us. We got him at 12 weeks when DD was just 2. I drive to the nearby woods and he has his lead on to the gate. Then I just let him go. He's stick mad so will play if DD lets me, otherwise he'll run and play in the bushes, always nearby. I did lots if random recalls for treats in the first year so he always comes when I call.

Often, DD just wants to play in a puddle or something. We can go that for an hour while DDog happily exhausts himself. Now I have a baby in a sling too.

I have been recalling like mad with him. At the moment, he will always come when I call him wherever he is (garden is massive) and do anything for liver. I can get him to sit wait and then 'come' even if round a corner or in another room, I had planned to use the whistle too but keep forgetting it!! Appreciate this may change but I can only keep working on it. This approach slightly concerned the trainer when she called to say that we had a place at puppy classes, 'you should NEVER let a puppy off lead until recall is faultless', not sure what to make of that!!

In reality, it will be like you - a (very) short lead walk to the fields or woodland etc and off lead.

Spaniels love the woods grin There are squirrels to chase and holes to explore and sticks to run around with....Jas doesn't stop when we walk through woodland. Although, word of warning, even in these temperatures if he sees water he will dive for it. I have to recall quick smart or I end up with a shivering dog looking all sorry for himself. I think that people assume that spaniels need lots of exercise, and they do relatively, but I wonder what they're comparing them to? I find that the 'Cor, got your hands full there!' comments come from people walking small or elderly dogs on a trot around the block.

foolonthehill Fri 18-Jan-13 10:56:12

Faultless recall is something we are working on...we have 90% recall but when she's on tracking mode there are times when she gets close enough to see where i am then moves off on the trail again.

Spaniels love the undergrowth, always amazed when you see dogs in park running around the open spaces..mine's always off underneath hedges, behind the sheds, finding the holes in the fences blush and Yes she is obviously in her element in the woods...or swimming after the water birds.

That is one thing I love 15 mins swimming=about 1 hour of walking in terms of energy expended.

Oh yes, swimming is brilliant for tiring them out. Mine loves to fetch dummies from a local reservoir. He got told off by a very angry swan last summer and practically ran on the surface of the water to escape grin

foolonthehill Fri 18-Jan-13 11:02:28

People round here have huskies and literally seem to spend their whole day walking......

belindarose Fri 18-Jan-13 11:03:39

Oh yes, mine's mad for water too. Loves to swim so I'm avoiding riverside walks in the winter. He had his favourite puddles in the wood that he runs to and lies down in when he's tired. He's perpetually filthy.

foolonthehill Fri 18-Jan-13 11:12:54

Has anyone tried a drying coat? I'm umming and ahing about getting one because I just can't keep her out of the water.

BCBG Fri 18-Jan-13 11:13:45

I have four working dogs (various breeds) but all kept as non working pets. Ours have an hours walk once a day and the grounds to run around in if they want for the rest of the day although only the Parson Jack does that. The youngest working cocker can bounce off the walls a bit if she feels she needs a run but otherwise they are brilliant. We learned the hard way that sometimes, the more they are exercised the more they come to expect and need, so in the last couple of years we have scaled back a bit very successfully.

I've been eyeing drying coats, but have yet to take the plunge. They're quite dear.

belinda, Jas does the lying in muddy puddles thing. They're only happy when they're disgustingly dirty, aren't they? grin

BCBG - thanks, yes - that's what I am a little big concerned about. Given that DH and I love walking and DC's are 13 and 11, so we all have the capacity to provide exercise and stimulation, that we will train him to need TONS. Our friends have a Vizsla, who they give an hours exercise a day and a little more at weekends but who does fine on this and has adapted fine.

Our friends have a 'bath bag' for their Springer, I will investigate this and come back to you. You put the muddy dog in I think and it comes out clean!

Now whenever we pass water on our walks, the fascination from Harry is amazing!!

Love the 'walking on water' story!!!!!

Cuebill Fri 18-Jan-13 11:29:22

With all working breeds it is not so much the exercise (but all working breeds will need a good 2 hours off lead minimum) but the stimulation.

If you take a walk with a gun dog, work that gundog instinct. Get some dummies, work on retrieves, work on directional commands, hide the dummies for them to scent out etc. Then you will have a tired gun dog.

With the herding breed use that instinct so get them herding, footballs, gym balls etc, teach them directionals command and send aways stimulate their walk.

Scenting is great for all dogs and really does tire them out, walk a track for them to follow to find their favourite toy at the end etc

The more brain work you do the less hard core exercise you will have to do. You will have a tired chilled but stimulated dog rather than a really fit manic one grin

The dry dog bag gets good reviews on Amazon for £15 I think!

Cuebill - thanks for the advice. Been doing a bit of scenting already - easy stuff like putting treats and food in egg boxes, cereal packets, once wrapped up in an old 'fitball' that he had already destroyed (outside, took him ages!), under margarine tubs (he's too smart for that now!). Our friends train puppy springers for the police for scent related work (drungs and explosives, sometimes money). We have some good tips.

Really looking forward to the training and working, not that I have a clue what I am doing really but will give it a go and have fun smile

ImNotaPheasantPlucker Fri 18-Jan-13 15:57:26

chickens - do tell more about drying coats.

I have a springer lab x who seems to be permanently soggy and muddy (and so is his owner as a result). I googled drying coats and the first one seemed to be body only - my pup is filthiest on his belly and legs so can't see how that would work.

Any miracle cleaning product advice gratefully received. Although, I know realistically it's going to be a bucket and cloth!

Inthepotty Sat 19-Jan-13 17:26:40

Cuebill how do you lay a track? I usually do a few (small!) send aways with pottypup or formal recalls before we set off around the track but he loves to use his nose?

OP my very 'worky' lab x (most probably with poodle) and my collie x whippet girlie both get half an hour early on at 7am, then about 2 hours at some point during the day. They would both take more I'm sure, but seem satisfied and settle well. Also we've had som truly horrendous weather oop north recently and one day they only had an hour all day and were fine. Agree with Cuebill it's the mental stuff they need.

May I ask a basic question or two with regard to the mental stimulation? If you don't mind?

Currently, we are training like mad (with and without the clicker). It's all the basic commands as he is only 13 weeks, but he will happily respond to 'sit, wait, then go etc' so can understand and respond to more than one at a time. Recall and lead training are a priority and reinforcing the very basic ones continually, plus we have started on 'drop/leave' with some success.

In addition, he has to wait for his food, sit before coming in etc etc and we use Kongs, puzzle balls etc.

We also have enrolled in puppy classes and then the Bronze KC award. I fully intend to do the Gold, truly looking forward to this.

Is this enough mental stimulation for a puppy from a working breed? What constitutes the same for an adult dog? I should add both DH and myself are training consistently and the DC the basics too.

Lastly, we hide treats in boxes, snowballs, bottles etc tooand we are happy to give him whatever would be needed, it's a pleasure tbh!

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