This '5 minute rule' myth; can I access the new evidence to 'refute' this guidline?

(32 Posts)

I know that newer thinking exists ref the above, essentially showing that genetics and weight are the main contributory factors in the development of hip dysplaxia (sp?), and over exercise at a young age is not.

The '5 minute rule' for each month of age seems deeply ingrained, I wondered if someone could point me in the direction of the newer evidence please?

Not that I am saying it's fine to walk the new pup to exhaustion, and of course common sense must prevail anyway, but it would be good to access the new guidline/thinking

incogKNEEto Wed 22-Jan-14 15:59:44

Thanks for posting this, I have been looking for this information too, hope someone more knowledgeable can help smile

NCISaddict Wed 22-Jan-14 16:08:09

Hopefully one of the vets who post here will be along soon, I think Lonecat ? mentioned it a while back but I can't find it. Would be interested to find some research, my five month old Border Collie would be climbing the walls if he only got 25 minutes exercise per day. I do quite a bit of training too but he really needs the off lead walks to enable him to focus on the training.

fishybits Wed 22-Jan-14 16:12:34

Isn't it 5 minute per month on lead walking and as much off lead (free running not ball chasing) as you want?

That's how I've always understood it. 5 minutes per month full stop would be ridiculous.

Yes, fishy, I think that you are correct, but, then again, someone will think 5 minutes in total. Seems theres so much confusion around this topic and it would be great to have some clarity in this regards.

Seems so general doesn't it? 5 minutes to a collie in insanely low, 5 minutes to pug not so much?!

tabulahrasa Wed 22-Jan-14 17:02:08

It's 5 minutes per month of age of anything where they can't or won't rest by themselves or set their own pace at a time, not a day.

So you're building up muscles on shorter more frequent walks rather than big ones... and for breeds especially large ones prone to things like hip and elbow dysplasia.

and yep it was Lonecat that mentioned it being refuted - I'm pretty sure if you did an advanced search you could find it.

I have done an advanced search and found it, it just doesn't mention the specific evidence or person that was at the forefront of the new thinking iyswim?

ender Wed 22-Jan-14 17:26:47

I don't see how there can be any definitive research. There's such variation between breeds.
The 5 minute rule was "discovered" by JohnW, a gundog trainer who posts on the Lab Forum scroll down and you'll see his explanation. Its really just common sense and not set in stone, mostly for gun dogs such as labs and golden retrievers.

I can't help with the reference to the work but I have been worried about this myself and had the opportunity to check with several vets over Xmas as my puppy had Giardia so I felt we became frequent visitors!

By that time our puppy was 5 months and each day doing 15min on lead to school drop then 20-30 min off lead, home through the woods. All 3 vets said this was fine - one vet felt his leg muscles and said he was in really good condition and as we'd built up to that level gradually (by taking bus to school until 4 months) it was ok. But that vet said not to increase it for a few months as that was a good level till 9 months ish. So I suppose it's gradual build up and using that nebulous concept of 'common sense'!

Your new puppy sounds fab needs!

NCISaddict Wed 22-Jan-14 19:38:46

I'd never heard of the concept until recently and when I had a Springer she were exercised as much as I could manage, mostly off lead and never stopped. Mine lived until she was 14+ with not a hint of any joint problems so I think in the absence of any real researched evidence I'm going to carry on with as much as we can manage and reap the benefits of a reasonably calm Border Collie at home.smile

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 22-Jan-14 19:50:25

There had been a paper published I believe in one of the American journals of vet med. I will try and do an advanced literature search at work for you tomorrow. These journals are peer review and 'good science'.

NCISaddict Wed 22-Jan-14 19:52:50

Does it err on the side of short walks Lonecat? I really hope not, Finn has taken himself off to bed after his walk today so peace reigns.

Does Finn struggle to settle if he hasn't had a good walk in the day? Maybe that's the collie influence? Interesting how different breeds are, I keep wondering if our old English sheepdog will 'need' a walk on those horrid wet days when I don't feel like it but he shows no signs of being bothered either way. Seems unusual to me having grown up with a collie/whippet cross, who was manic, but our OES puppy doesn't seem to mind not walking, and his hyper evenings are no worse without a walk.

NCISaddict Wed 22-Jan-14 20:29:05

He's not completely manic but will be constantly dropping a ball or toy on your lap and looking pleadingly at you (disturbing my MNing) if he's had a decent walk then he'll just lie and chew the edge of his blanket or a toy in a slightly spaced out way.smile

Mint - he's ace, and really easy, but boy, has some energy! He will keep up with the Springer and some more I suspect, which is mildly concerning.....

Said Springer is ok without a days exercise and even went about 4/5 after injuring his paw and also having a hysteocytoma removed, and also after having his eye injury, all respectively. But, is far better for exercise, both mind and body.

Lonecat. Any paper you might be able to locate would be gratefully received. It's no means urgent though. I can only think of the 'drink 2 litres of water a day' idea for humans, which folk generally accept, but I don't think that's ever been based in science!

When our pup was young I'd assumed it was as fishy said "5 minute per month on lead walking and as much off lead (free running not ball chasing) as you want"

Then I was speaking to someone - desperately wracking my brains to remember who, think it was either the vets behaviorist or dog trainer, either way, someone knowledgeable - who said actually lead walking is BETTER at a young age because it builds muscle evenly, rather than canonballing about like lunatics and potentially injuring themselves. Which when I think about how you bring horses on also makes sense, but is also quite maddeningly contradictory.

Would be interested to know what the latest advice on it is.

Funny you say that about the 2litre of water - it was, as you suggested, completely taken out of context! The original paper said something about how the optimum amount of water a person needed was 2litres - and then said "of which the majority will come from food eaten" !!

The water companies just used the first bit of the sentence, omitted the second bit and years later the 2litre thing it taken as a given!

fishybits Wed 22-Jan-14 22:28:19

I think it's just common sense. I have a lab and although she's working stock and both her parents were hip and elbow scored before breeding, I erred on the side of caution when she was young. Building up muscles (any species) before the bones are ready to take the strain doesn't seem too sensible to me particularly with a breed prone to joint issues no matter how cautious the breeder has been.

But ultimately each to their own and basing your decisions on research and other people's experience sounds sensible to me.

The five minute rule was never something set down in law, but more of a common sense guide aimed at not over stressing the developing joints of puppies, regardless of breed. The detail of on or off lead is less important than keeping that principle in mind.

It is also a very useful guide for ensuring we remember that a young puppy doesn't have an off switch. They are not terribly good at self control, and will continue to function on adrenaline for HOURS. The risk of that will be that there will almost certainly come with that a worsening of behaviour, an inability to hear/pay attention/keep their teeth under control and an increase in likelihood of accident or injury.

I don't stick to the guide in a demented, absolute fashion, but it is a very useful reminder not to over stimulate young puppies.

I have found some photographs of developing hip joints in young labrador puppies which very clearly shows how unformed the joints are when they're young. It is common sense to me to avoid stressing those joints while they are still closing; bearing in mind that there will be many years of walking for hours at a time with my dogs, I think restricting or managing exercise for the first few months is no great sacrifice. I also know that despite every precaution taken by breeders and owners, it is impossible to know whether your puppy will have good or bad hips and elbows and while it is far less likely that we can damage good joints - it is very easy indeed to damage bad ones. I err on the side of caution every single time and keep in mind the long term good of my dogs by keeping the five minute guide in my head.

And don't forget, most dogs will take all the exercise you can throw at them and then still come back for more...

noddingoff Wed 22-Jan-14 23:09:38

What fishybits said.
If the pup is on its own, mind.
If they're raking about with another one they'll go on longer than is good for them (though I much approve of pups raking about with other dogs in general - you just have to step in and stop the party earlier)
I would apply the 5 minute rule more tightly to large breed dogs..common sense as you say.

NCISaddict Thu 23-Jan-14 06:58:12

I do enforce naps with my pup, he's generally crated after his meals as if he's not he would never have a deep sleep. far too much going on. I think they're rather like toddlers, you have to catch them before they become nightmares and put them to bed or they become unbearable.
Mine, at six months, is just starting to take himself off to his crate in the kitchen if he's really tired after a walk but still needs to be made to have a nap before walks. He goes to sleep straight away in his crate but in with us you only have to move a foot and he's up!

tabulahrasa Thu 23-Jan-14 08:54:36

The thing is it's just a rough rule of thumb to help you remember that they're still growing and might need to be made to rest. You don't need to be out there with an alarm clock, just keep in mind that tehy're not sensible and won't rest by themselves.

The way I understand it from the ortho specialist that treated my dog's elbow dysplasia is that it'll make no difference at all to a dog with good joints, barring actual accidents they're not going to have a problem, but if you have a dog with a problem already then things like too much exercise and letting them jump out of car boots will make it worse. How much arthritis damage is present in the joint will then affect how successful surgery is.

The problem is that you don't know if they have bad joints until it actually affects them.

ender Thu 23-Jan-14 08:58:00

The trouble with leaving it to "common sense" is that everyone has different ideas about what this is. For the past few weeks on dog walks, along a riverside path, I've been seeing a woman running with a very young lab puppy, looks about 3 months old, woman in full running gear looking very focussed and not about to stop for a chat. The pup is off lead and running flat out whenever I've seen it, which it would do as at that at age it would be worried about letting owner out of sight. The path is 3 miles long and I see them at various places along the path, always running, so they could be running for miles.
I'm biting my tongue every time I see her. If I stopped them and tried to explain why so much running might not be good for the pup she'd probably think I was mad, her "common sense" would be that the pup wouldn't run if it didn't want to. It's probably chewy and excitable at home, as all lab pups are, and she might think he'd be worse if he didn't get all this exercise.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 23-Jan-14 09:32:32

I have found the information:
C.L.Fries and A.M. Remedios. The pathogenesis and diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia: a review. Can Vet J, 1995;494-502
R.D.Kealy, S.E.Olsson, K.L.Monti, et al. Effects of limited food consumption on the incidence of hip dysplasia in growing dogs J Am Vet Med Assoc, 1992;857-63.
D.C. Richardson. The Role of nutrition in canine hip dysplasia. Vet Cli North Am Small anim Pract, 1992;529-40
There is then a large unpublished study following pair litter mates of various large breeds where one pup remains with the breeder and the other went to a pet home, this found that in breeder establishments the puts had long periods of free play in large paddocks, but they grow more slowly as their food intake is more tightly controlled, they rarely suffer injury and even with shallow (dysplastic hip sockets) their hips are symmetrical. Pups in pet homes grow, very large, very fast as their food is less controlled, their exercise tends to be confined to short periods of intense activity each day, they often suffer injury and they frequently have assymmetrical hips making expression of hip dysplasia more likely.
All of these studies whilst not 'new' have lead to the opinion that the way we feed are puppies is far more important than the amount of exercise. But the very best way to exercise your puppy is lots of free play during the day rather than set walks.

tabulahrasa Thu 23-Jan-14 10:06:37

But that doesn't refute the 5 minute thing at all...that's actually the point of it, that they're better setting their own pace. Free play isn't restricted, just frantic or enforced exercise.

Standard advice for large breed puppies is feed food that promotes slower growth, don't overfeed, don't overdo enforced exercise but allow plenty of opportunity for playing and don't do anything likely to cause accidental damage like jumping in and out of cars or running up and down stairs.

To me what you've put there backs that up?

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