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Exercise and the young dog

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  • Exercise and the young dog

    Hey all, just looking for people's opinions on exercising young dogs. I was originally thinking about a 6-8 month old spayed labrador, but other breeds and age guidelines are helpful too. Thinking about jogging/running versus playing fetch, agility, anything really
    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I dont really understand your question - but yes a 6-8 month old lab will want plenty of exercise!


    • Original Poster

      Ok sorry! I was just curious about how much running is okay for a large breed dog who hasn't finished growing. I think I've heard of people wanting to wait until a dog is a year old for impact activities like agility, but how much distance /frequency of running is okay for a young dog?
      I have an acquaintance with a 6 month old lab mix who posts about running 4+ miles with her at least once a week. The rescue group I volunteer with is having a 5k fundraiser and the friend asked (via general fb status) if there were any dog friendly races coming up. I want to suggest our 5k,but only if that amount of running she's doing with her dog is advisable in the first place for a physically immature dog.


      • #4
        I was told by the vet that you shouldn't be running or jogging with a young dog under a year old. It's ok if they are off leash and running on their own because they have the ability to stop and rest when they need to. The surfaces makes a big difference too. Pavement is much harder and worse on their joints if you are running them on roads or paths compared to them running around a field of grass. It also depends on the size of dog. A large dog will be much slower to mature so you should wait longer for running and intense exercise while a small dog will mature faster and be able to do more sooner.


        • Original Poster

          That's what I was thinking but wasn't sure if i was imagining that guideline. The girl mostly posts runs in the 3 mile range, but said the dog is clocking 7:30 miles, which seems pretty strenuous, but I'm no runner so anything sounds like a lot, lol!
          I don't know if she knows that young dogs shouldn't be running partners but I don't really feel like wagging my finger at this girl I barely know anymore.... and I'm not so great at wording my concerns without seeming like a buttinsky.


          • #6
            Originally posted by stargzng386 View Post
            I was told by the vet that you shouldn't be running or jogging with a young dog under a year old. It's ok if they are off leash and running on their own because they have the ability to stop and rest when they need to. The surfaces makes a big difference too. Pavement is much harder and worse on their joints if you are running them on roads or paths compared to them running around a field of grass. It also depends on the size of dog. A large dog will be much slower to mature so you should wait longer for running and intense exercise while a small dog will mature faster and be able to do more sooner.


            • #7
              Agree with the vet statement, but a 1-mile EASY jog once of twice a week would probably be okay. A 7:30 mile is NOT easy at that age.

              Can the dog to hiking with you (is that an option in your area?)?
              "IT'S NOT THE MOUNTAIN WE CONQUER, BUT OURSELVES." SIR EDMUND HILLARYMember of the "Someone Special To Me Serves In The Military" Clique


              • Original Poster

                The area definitely has hiking and trails opportunities. The dog isn't mine, I only very loosely know the owner (we are Facebook friends, which is how I know the dog's exercise). I'm not sure if they run on roads or cross country.

                I suppose I was mostly curious because it didn't seem right to me, but then I started thinking about how much we run our weimaraner (now 1 year) and how much we ran our other high energy dog who we got as a puppy (golden mix). The point about playing fetch (which is how both weimaraner and golden girl get all their running) being largely governed by their own pace, taking breaks and different paces etc, is valid. The weimy's sole running source has been fetch, and let's face it, he has many mental and physical "commercial breaks" during that!


                • #9
                  I was advised to do 'Long and Slow' exercise. It really worked for the dog and me. We walked 1 mile AM before work and 2 miles PM after dinner 5 days a week. On week-ends a 3-5 mile hike Sat. and Sun. Best shape I was ever in. You can do more obedience type games at a walk, which is better for their mental developement than run...run...run... Go for it!


                  • #10
                    Ok, there's a difference between YOU running and the dog running. Most dogs can do an easy trot while you jog.

                    If you are jogging and the dog is at a trot - that's great. You can do that. Don't go insane, if a dog is sore, cut back, be sure to check pads for wear, etc, etc - but lots of steady trotting will actually help a dog a lot - it will build supportive muscle tissue for the joints.
                    I've had 2 mildly dysplatic dogs and easy trotting really helped them stay fit and pain free.

                    The exercises you want to avoid are running (the dog at a canter or gallop), jumping and twisting.
                    Agility, flyball, frisbee, etc can all be far too stressful, hurt a dysplatic dog and set up arthritis in an otherwise healthy one. An easy game of fetch in the yard is all in good fun, but when a dog is regularly asked to run, jump, twist and make hard stops and turns - that is very stressing to developing joints. Just like a horse, you want to bring them on slow and steady till their joints are ready to take it.


                    • #11
                      Chris Zink, a noted performance dog vet, says you should avoid "forced endurance exercises" until the dog's bone growth plates close, which is around 15 months for a larger breed dog. This would include taking the dog on jogs or running the dog off a bike. Puppies are best exercised by letting them set the pace and alter their gaits often- walking them on leash, basically forcing them to walk for long periods- is no good, as is making them trot steadily for long periods of time as you jog. The best exercise for a young dog is for you to walk or jog while the dog runs around off-leash adjusting their gait often from walk to trot to full on gallop. Unfortunately the current PC of opposing dogs off leash prevents many from doing this.

                      other things to avoid are neutering before full maturity, and locking the dog up in crates for many hours a day. Puppies need to move around often and frequently in order for their bones to develop properly.


                      • #12
                        I think strenuous exercise with puppies is a lot lot strenuously exercising a 2 year old horse. Plenty of them end up just fine with no repercussions and some suffer long term damage as a result. Since a pet owner shouldn't have any pressing competition deadlines for a puppy it seems like an unnecessary risk. Hopefully it won't end up hurting her dog in the long run.


                        • #13
                          Thanks for clairifying the question!

                          I think its essential they get exercise, but agree that running alongside human on a paved road for a long distance is not ideal (for ANY age dog). Sprint activity I believe is ok, as is slow and long. Good sprint activities are chasing a ball, frisbee etc. for 10 minutes. Dog will tire easily, and then you let it rest. Slow and long would be something like an hour hike at a walk, or slow trot for the dog.

                          That being said, many labs are lemons and have orthopedic issues that are already present but may not show up until they are a little bit older. It has nothing to do with the amount or type of exercise, just good old lemon lab genetics.

                          Labs can be destructive in the house, chew things,bark and be anxious unless they get some form of exercise.

                          Its finding the fine balance, and remembering that mind and body have to be balanced together. For a lab though...food and treat rewards for "tricks" usually take care of the "mind"