Pet's Corner: How do I help my dog release his pent-up energy?

I have an 8 week-old labradoodle puppy. He is full of mischief. I was wondering how long can I walk him for? Is there any other way of releasing his pent up energy? Thomas Hill, Sunderland

Congratulations on your new puppy! And you're right. They really are little bundles of naughtiness. Weeing, pooing, biting... Why do we have them?! Simply because they're cute. Besides, first time puppy owners don't know how hard it is and people who had puppies before forget how hard it is. The first thing to know is that your pooch cannot go for walks before it has had all his vaccinations. This does not mean that he cannot have early socialisation. If you take him out to new places and where he can have new experiences, this will give him mental stimulation, which will tire him out. Car journeys are also great for this purpose. As for the exercise, you need to be very careful with your puppy because of the size of the breed.

Larger breeds can get damage to their muscles and joints by over exercising them. A rough guideline to stick to is five minutes for every month of your puppy's age. If he is fed on dried food you could try putting some around the garden (if you have one) so he has to forage for it. Labradors are well known for having eyes bigger than their bellies. This should keep him busy for hours! Also observe your new doggie. He should tell you when he is tired. Remember: puppies are like toddlers. If you get them over tired they can become irritable. In your puppy's case this could be biting, barking and not being able to settle.