View Full Version : How much exercise is good for Cav's?

18th December 2008, 02:01 AM
We are new cav owners and I have done *loads* of research since becoming interested in this breed, but I haven't gotten a clear answer on how much exericise is appropriate for cavs. I guess the predisposition to MVA has me worried about working my puppy's cardio system too much. So far as we know, she is a healthy 7-month beauty. She has a tendancy to be obsessive over 'hunting' things... butterflies, shadows and the laser pointer light. She will really run herself ragged tracking these things down, if we let her. I worry about her when she's been running too much... she pants like she can't catch her breath.
We take her on a good 15-minute walk in the morning and my kids, hubby and I give her plenty of play during the day. She takes frequent short trips outside in the back yard, but spends most of the day inside. (It's too cold and wet to go outside much right now!) I'd love to train her to run along with me as I ride my bike, but I'm afraid that would be too much for her.
Any advice??? And how do you know when your dog has been overexerted?


Cathy Moon
18th December 2008, 12:04 PM
Please don't play with laser lights or flashlights with your dog! Many people don't know that this can cause permanent obsessive/compulsive problems. Just the fact that she chases shadows could be a sign that she's headed for trouble, so stop doing that too if you're making a game of it.

Also, do not run your dog with a bicycle - that is way too strenuous and very dangerous.

Teaching her to play fetch in the house with soft toys could be a fun activity for her. You might want to take her to a puppy kindergarten training class for socialization. Short walks are fine if it isn't too cold. After she's a year old you could take her for longer walks when the weather is warmer. Let her run and play in the backyard and in the house; does she get the zoomies? That how my dogs got good exercise when they were puppies!

Puppies getting natural exercise will not over-exert themselves. They stop to rest when they need to. But when they're on a lead for a long walk, or obsessively chasing lights or shadows, they could get too much exercise.

18th December 2008, 02:25 PM
I 2nd that with the flash lights etc..... my inlaws sent their collie mad when he was a pup by throwing stones :eek: into a bush, the bush was taken away after a few years & the dog would stand for ages looking at the spot the bush used to be in - I only met the dog when he was about 9 & he still did it then (& they'd stopped the stone throwing years before).

I warned them not to do this with their new puppy!

18th December 2008, 03:34 PM
NO laser light chasing? Bandit is a natural hunter. He hunts the moths on the porch at night (and looks around all light bulbs to see if there are any), he hunts birds, he even hunts leaves. He fetches. He has loads of energy and will enjoy these pursuits for ages when they present themselves. He really loves playing "red dot" (our name for the laser light). When we play "red dot" it is usually for just a couple of minutes at a time. I had no idea this could be harmful. I've got friends who have a jack russell who loves the game and doesn't have any psychological issues. He will go to the drawer where the pointer is kept, play happily for a few minutes, then go on "being a dog" after they are done. I guess if the only form of excitement and stimulation the dog is given is something like that, I can see how they might obsess because they are bored and they know that brings fun and excitement. I would think a variety of stimulating games would be appropriate.

18th December 2008, 04:04 PM
Those lights are very bad for eyes too.


"The FDA has determined that Class 3a lasers could cause injury to the eye if viewed directly for approximately 0.25 seconds. You'd think this would be enough to ban them, but the FDA cited evidence that exposure to visible lasers is "usually" limited by the blink reflex of the eye, which they have timed at just under 0.25 seconds. Quite a coincidence, I'd say. Be that as it may, the FDA has issued a warning that the pointers aren't toys, shouldn't be used by children except under adult supervision, etc."

"Damage can include, but is not limited to, flash blindness that can last for minutes, partial vision loss that can last for months, permanent damage to the retina"

18th December 2008, 04:15 PM
She has a tendancy to be obsessive over 'hunting' things... butterflies, shadows and the laser pointer light.

Miles is like this too. My fiance used the laser light with him a few times and he would obsess over finding it, staring at the corner for way too long, so he stopped using it. He does obsess over hunting bugs and especially butterflies though. And he needs to make aure we watch him - if we walk away he finds us, gets our attention, then continues hunting. Truman doesn't do this like Miles does...Miles is more focused.

As for more exercise, I wouldn't bike with her running beside you, I feel like that can be very dangerous. What about agility? Or having a play date with other dogs? It's about 10 degrees here in Chicago in the mornings and my 2 LOVE being outside and running around in the snow, they stay out longer now than when it's warm out. Especially Truman, he's such a snow bunny, and gets the zoomies around our patio with snow all over his face. We also play with them a lot inside, we have a loft that's very open and they race around and tire themselves out :)

18th December 2008, 04:18 PM
My hubby took my adult cav at 2yrs a short run with him....not a fast pace at all and only a mile or so.....wot a bad idea that was.For the next day or 2 she was wiped out.I even had her at the vet and she found nothing wrong with her at all.
She said she was exhausted and thats all.Prob best not to take her again as short nose dogs shouldnt really be doing marathons.
In saying that we walk trails at the weekend fast pace walk and for 5 miles and she is fine.I had to build the puppy up at that length of walk as she is only 7 mths old at the moment.
So I would personally keep her on short walks and gradully make them longer as she gets older.
As for exercise at home hide and seek is a good idea....but i had also heard about the laser lights damaging dogs eyes.

18th December 2008, 06:58 PM
I second, third, and fourth what the others have said about laser lights. When we first got Dottie, I picked one up at the pet store because it looked like fun. She went absolutely crazy hunting and chasing that red dot around the room, then we even sat out in the yard and ran it around so she could chase it after dark. We thought it was a great way for her to have fun and get some extra excercise. Well.....I too posted about this new game "Laser fun"... and found out that this was absolutely psychologically dangerous around these dogs, as they can become crazy obsessive over the pin light. I was horrified :eek:, and immediately tossed it in the trash. I had no idea at that point, because we were new to Cavaliers then.

It took about a month before she calmed down at night. She would actually run to the yard each evening when the sun went down and hunt the light that was no longer there. She wouldn't come when called or respond to anything, she was so focused on finding it again. YIKES! She is fine now, and it is all but forgotten, and of course will hunt the occasional flying moth or june bug when in season, but it was a good lesson learned, and I would have had no idea except for great advice from board members! :thmbsup:

18th December 2008, 09:10 PM
What are zummies?

19th December 2008, 01:11 AM
What are zummies?
That is when your pup gets a burst of energy and goes dashing helter skelter all over the place (like they do after a bath).

19th December 2008, 09:21 AM
I just take Ilsa to the park with her ball and let her play as long as she wants.

She runs and chases her ball a while and she stops on her own when she's tired.

I don't think running along a bike is good for cavs, their legs are too short to go that fast lol. And if they get overtired they may get injured or just stop and get lost.

You could also get indoor balls, I like the soft furry ones, for indoor play when it rains.


20th December 2008, 01:10 AM
Thanks for all the advice! Based on what I see in Amber, I think I'm going to give up the laser light game. I think she is too obsessive in her 'hunting' to enjoy the 'red dot'. Hmmm... maybe I should start a thread to see how people handle obsessive doggies? Anyhow, I feel better about my choices for her after hearing what other people do with their cavs. My last dog (beagle) absolutely *LOVED* running alongside me on the bike, but... different breed, different rules. I think Amber is content with relaxing daily walks and play time at the dog park.
Take care and enjoy your holidays!

Love my Cavaliers
20th December 2008, 01:58 PM
My two males have gone on 3 mile jogging runs with my husband and have absolutely loved it. Howard doesn't run fast and the dogs have never been totally exhausted after the runs. We didn't let Oz go until this past summer - after he turned one. He has sooooo much energy though. He is my live wire! Madison will come on my 3 mile walks with me and Riley (who has advanced SM) just takes short walks around the neighborhood with me. They also play and run and chase each other in our fenced in yard. Luckily we have an acre for them to run around in. Oz is the only one who fetches and he loves to do it - either in the house or in the yard.

20th December 2008, 02:07 PM
I've seen debate elsewhere over the years about whether it's a good idea for cavaliers to be taken jogging -- general concensus amongst breeders and trainers really has always been no. A three mile walk, no problem. A three mile run in a breed prone to SM (fast movement of the CSF, which happens with activity, worsens syrinxes and can cause them to developin the first place), and which can also have hip, heart and knee issues, generally are the arguments against. Also they are semi-flat faced and some will be at risk of overheating/heat stroke/breathing problems simply from the exertion. A fit dog will have no problems walking many miles though. Puppies are too too young for that much exercise.

Keep in mind that dogs will keep trying to do just about anything they think their owner or they are enthusiastic about doing even through pain. Jaspar once continued to try and chase and fetch a ball after a head on collision with Leo caused a concussion and he couldn't even walk upright. :eek:

In general they aren't fragile, but then again a cavalier is definitely not built like a collie or dalmation or one of the breeds more suitable as jogging companions. Personally, I wouldn't run mine for three miles, not even Jaspar, who is very fit.

Zummies I think is more usually spelled 'zoomies' as in zooming around. :)

Love my Cavaliers
20th December 2008, 05:06 PM
I didn't know all that Karlin. Thanks for the info against jogging.