What do you get when you cross a Dachshund with a Yorkshire Terrier? A Dorkie hot dog! Designer dogs are two dogs from different breeds bred together to capture the best qualities of each breed. For Dorkies, that means they are an intelligent, stubborn, semi-active big dog in a small dog's body. Both breeds individually suffer from "small dog syndrome" where they are under the illusion that they can take on the bigger dogs, which means socializing them off-leash can be tricky. Their small size doesn't mean they are completely inactive. They may be prone to sleeping most of the day away, but Dorkies also require about 30 to 40 minutes of daily activity to help keep them healthy and happy.
Small dogs such as Yorkies and Dachshunds are prone to collapsing windpipes and should be walked by harnesses instead of collars. Dorkies are content to loaf around the house, but exercise is important for all types of dogs. Once you get Fido on the leash and out of the house, they will love sniffing every blade of grass and marking every tree, if they can lift their itty-bitty legs high enough. A brisk 45-minute walk around your neighborhood should be more than enough to fulfill your Dorkie's daily exercise quota. You can walk in any weather, obviously, but plan accordingly. If the weather is hot, bring water for both you and Fido to share as their little bodies overheat quickly. In the colder months, make sure to dress Fido in a warm coat and boots to protect their sensitive paws from frostbite.
It may seem odd to play Frisbee with such a small dog, but if Fido can't jump up to catch the Frisbee, they can still run to retrieve it. Okay, waddle. Before loading up your dog for a fun car ride, be sure to double-check that the park you are heading to is pet-friendly. Also be sure to find out in advance if dogs are allowed off-leash. It might not be a great idea to let your Dorkie off-leash with other unknown dogs because of their small size and fearlessness when it comes to bigger animals, so scout ahead! Playing Frisbee is a great way to provide your Dorkie with a new way to exercise so they don't get bored with the same routine walk every day.
If you don't have access to agility classes near you, you can easily set up a small agility course in your house or yard. Given their small size, Dorkies won't need an elaborate course to tire them out. A simple course with a tunnel and weave poles should be enough to start with. You'll need treats to encourage Fido to go into the tunnel and to lead them through the weave poles. As your dog gains more experience, you can add more activities to the course, such as jumps and balance beams. The pricing for this activity is moderate if you choose to enroll Fido in classes. However, if you set the course up at home, it will be much cheaper. You can buy agility kits at any pet store.
Many off-leash dog parks have a separate area for small dogs and it is best to use that area for your Dorkie, no matter how friendly the other owners claim their large dogs are. Dorkies don't know how small they are and might instigate a fight with a much bigger dog before you can intervene.
Dorkies are content to be lapdogs or just snooze the day away. The adage says to let sleeping dogs lie, but all dogs need some exercise, and that goes double for Dorkies. They are prone to being overweight due to inactivity and overfeeding. Walks around your neighborhood, fetch in the park, or dog agility classes are great options for getting Dorkies outside and exercising.