The guidance re 1 minute walk per week of age for larger breed puppies seems......a bit OTT?(16 Posts)
I do understand it is to prevent joint damage......
But 16 minutes for my 16 week flatcoat retriever seems so little. I barely get out of the car and get going before it is time to turn around and go back.
I can't help thinking that the advice is simplistic. I am guessing it is to prevent silly people taking a pup on a vigorous 5 mile hike .....but when my pup gets walked its more of a gentle amble and a sensory experience than exercise. Minutes can go by as he paddles in the water, eats some horse poo and sniffs every blade of grass. In that context (a gentle walk rather than a good stride out) would it really hurt him if his walking time was extended to half an hour?
Well you wont know if it will 'hurt him' till it's too late so why take the risk?
It's not as if he can tell you after the walk that it was too long. You'll only know if you've done damage when he develops joint pain.
It's not exercise...it's exercise that they can't set the pace themselves or won't stop by themselves...so on lead walking, things like fetch and playing with other dogs.
Sniffing or off lead ambling where they're setting their own pace and can rest if they're tired aren't counted.
There's a vet that post in here and she says keeping weight down is much more important than watching exercise, but as the owner of a large breed dog with a joint problem which has gone on to contribute to some pretty major behavioural issues - I'd always be a bit over cautious when it comes to exercising tbh. Obviously on top of watching their weight.
It's much better to cut your walks a bit shorter than you'd like until they get older and do more of them than to end up with a dog who will have to be put to sleep fairly young has had to go through surgery at a young age and has problems with socialisation because it wasn't able to walk at all for months on end.
I agree with tabulahrasa.
I have two large breeds and have had large breeds before and the advice we were given is to keep lead walks, ball throwing and chasing around with other dogs short/to a minimum, but off-lead snuffling, ambling and self-led running about is ok. Pups tend not too venture too far from you anyway and most - but not all - will self-limit exercise as long as it's not being driven by a game of chase or retrieve etc.
I always err on the side of caution though and would prefer to wear mine out with clicker training etc than risk their joint health. Plenty of time for lovely long walks when they're fully grown.
So the studies show that where exercise is unlimited, but is always steady and controlled it does not impact on joint development.
Where there is limited lead exercise and then madness off lead with leaping and jumping this does cause joint problems though mainly with shoulders and cruciate ligaments.
The biggest factors to preventing joint disease are buying puppies where parents have received the correct testing for their breed and the scores are well below the breed mean average and then keeping weight under control. Being overweight is the single biggest cause of joint problems in dogs and over 50% of the UK dog population are obese.
Reading back, my post makes it sound like I restrict lead walks and then let my dogs have their head off-lead. That's not what I meant. I just meant that we don't pound the pavements for hours or repeatedly throw tennis balls or frisbees etc, but do let them off-lead for a calm tootle and snuffle about when appropriate.
My pup is 10 months now and has reached the stage where he does the mad leaping and jumping Lonecat mentioned, as well as repeatedly barging our older dog if I let them off-lead at the same time. So, I let them off individually instead and then he tends to just pootle around following us about.
I find training, particularly clicker-training/shaping behaviour etc, wears him out far more than exercise does. I use walks to do lots of training, particularly as there's the opportunity to proof against distractions. This helps build a strong bond and remind my dogs that it's highly rewarding for him to pay attention to me the whole time we're out.
The advice we got from our pup's breeder (medium not large breed) was to be sensible! Not too much exercise in the first six months then gradually increase amounts from 6 months to a year and then after that he'd be fine to do whatever we needed him to do as long as he'd been conditioned to do it i.e. It wouldn't be reasonable to expect him to cope with a 4 hour hill walk on his first birthday
He's 9 months now and has two shortish walks a day - the things he loves most in the world are playing with puppies and chasing a ball so we let him do both of those things but not too much and not every walk plus we vary the ball games so sometimes it's just bouncing the ball for him to catch, so no running needed
Oh and his parents were both extensively tested and he's lovely and lean
Basildon the really important thing about the tests is that people understand what the results mean as there is no pass or fail. So a breeder can have a dog tested it can get awful scores and the kennel club will still register a litter from that dog.
Anyone reading this who is thinking of getting a puppy please research what the results mean.
I know lonecat - dpup's parents have fab scores for his breed
It's also important with tests to verify what your breeder is telling you on the KC website - ie is the breeder telling the truth, and to double check what tests are recommended for your breed. All that information is available on the KC website, along with an explanation of what the test is for, and how to interpret the results.
On a personal note, I would not consider buying a puppy unless ALL relevant tests, both recommended and additional had been done.
And with regard to the OP, yes, the advice is simplistic - and is intended to be so really. It was broadcast as a rule of thumb, rather than 'the law' as a useful reminder that puppies are not designed for monstrous hikes.
Let's be realistic - if you walked for half an hour one day it wouldn't be the end of the world or even an hour one day probably wouldn't either BUT that relies on it being a one off event - something which is counterbalanced by the more usual shorter walk and it is that 1 minute per week or 5 minutes per month advice which reminds most of us to temper what we would like to do for the good of the dog.
It is no guarantee that problems won't occur - single handedly it will not solve the inherited problems in some breeds but keeping it in mind, along with responsible, considered breeding using EVERY healthtest available for the breed and keeping your dog in good condition during its life will go quite some way towards avoiding problems with a dogs health.
We have petter dale and follow the guidelines on this site...
Although he is not a large breed,nor overweight, this thread has worried me that we are storing up problems.
We heard of the five minutes per month rule but then found the above site and have been following that. Can anyone please advise?
Ok thanks all.
His walks are all off lead (we are in the New Forest) so it isn't forced lead walking - and whilst we do fetch and retrieve it is always fetch from water so we stand at the edge of a pond or stream and throw the ball in for him to wade in and retrieve so it's not about him hurtling along at break neck speed.
Thanks for the advice
StampedLetter, just looked at the site, that does seem a lot of exercise. Would be way too much for a lab or golden retriever puppy. 30 mins fetch for a 1 - 4 month puppy .
Perhaps there aren't the same concerns about joint problems with terriers
but it might be better to follow your breeder's advice rather than that site.
I have a golden retriever and have kept to the limits. I really don't understand why you wouldn't. Problems won't show until they are older, I did let him have time in the garden for him to have a change of scenery. I know it is hard when they are super energetic and it seems they could use a good walk to wear them out, for me it just wasn't worth the risk.
And yes to healthy weight and getting low scores (and paying for a healthy puppy from a good lineage) for me it is about investing in our new family member so he can have a long comfortable life as nature allows, I can't imagine the guilt if I were to have caused damage by over exercising him.
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