Activities For Dorkies

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Introduction

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.

Walk Around the Neighborhood

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Any Day
Free
Easy
45 mins
Items needed
Leash
Harness
Waste bags
Activity description

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.

Step
1
Proper preparation is priority
Load up your items, depending on the weather. You are going to be gone for almost an hour, which means you need to be sure you planned accordingly! If neither you nor Fido are used to this extended exercise time period, you’ll need to be sure you bring plenty of water for you both and comfortable shoes for you. Attach the leash to the harness, stick your doggy bags in your pocket, and away you go!
Step
2
Attach harness
It is better to use a harness with small dogs such as Dorkies instead of a collar, which can cause damage to the dog's windpipe. Make sure to purchase the correct size harness so it doesn't slip off and follow the harness's directions precisely. You'd be amazed how many pups are walking around with upside-down harnesses!
Step
3
Go for a walk
Dorkies don't need a ton of exercise. A walk around your neighborhood or to a local park will give both you and your furry family member the fresh air and exercise that you need. That being said, a 45-minute walk for a Great Dane or a Golden Retriever is different than a 45-minute walk for a Dorkie. If you’re focusing on a distance instead of a time frame, you may find yourself overshooting the mark and carrying your Dorkie the rest of the way home.
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Frisbee in the Park

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Sunny Day
Free
Normal
30 mins
Items needed
Collapsible water dish
Water
Frisbee
Activity description

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.  

Step
1
Load up the car
Do you have to spell certain words out so your dog doesn't get too excited? If so, start planning an R-I-D-E to the P-A-R-K. When you're ready, you can just say these words and Fido will be waiting at the door for you, ready to load up (or be loaded up) for a fun day of play!
Step
2
Plan ahead
Again, planning ahead is crucial, but even more so if you are taking the whole day to play at the park. Pack a picnic for both of you, bring your collapsible water bowl and food dish, and lots of water! Don't forget a comfy blanket or sheet to sit on, and, of course, the frisbee!
Step
3
Play frisbee
Throw the Frisbee a short (or long) distance away and watch in delight as your Dorkie's little legs run after it. Chances are, you will be chasing after it, too, especially when your pup gets tired. Take breaks after every ten minutes or so to avoid your overactive dog getting overworked. Little hearts and body parts can’t handle extreme exertion for extended periods of time!
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Agility Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
30 mins
Items needed
Treats
Tunnel
Weave poles
Activity description

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.  

Step
1
Set up the course
Using household items (or you can go all out and buy agility course obstacles from the store or online), create a course that is right for your Dorkie. Don't make them jump too high, since they will try, and might even succeed, but jumping is bad for their little backs.
Step
2
Train your pup
The first part of the agility course is running through the tunnel. Use treats to lure Fido back out! Then you have the weave poles, which will be a great exercise for both you and your pup. To train your dog to use the weave poles, have them follow behind you as you encourage them with a treat.
Step
3
Treat your pup
You will need a lot of treats to train your Dorkie on how to use the agility course, and then more treats to reward them for completing each course. Use healthy treats like diced or sliced carrots and don't overfeed Fido with other dog treats, as Dorkies are susceptible to obesity.
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More Fun Ideas...

Dog Park

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. 

Fetch

On rainy days, stay inside and throw a ball for Fido to fetch and bring it to you. It's an easy way to get the required exercise for your Dorkie when the weather doesn't cooperate for other activities. Know your limits, though, and watch out for lamps, chandeliers, and other breakable objects — you may cause more damage than Fido!

Conclusion

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.