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That 5-minutes-per-month rule with puppies...

(30 Posts)
Elibean Sun 23-Oct-11 14:20:10

...two questions, please!

a. Does that mean 5 mins per month of pavement walking? Does sniffing around tree off the lead, playing with other dogs, mooching around in woods/commons count? If so, I think we're in trouble blush

b. At what age does it stop applying, if ever?

Our 6 month old lab cross really enjoys his off-lead time, pottering around, playing, snaffling treats doing a bit of training...the actual walk we do takes 20 minutes if I do it alone, but with him its more like an hour!

LeBOOOf Sun 23-Oct-11 14:23:12

I don't know this rule- what is it?

2T2T Sun 23-Oct-11 14:51:25

yeah - what is it?!

Elibean Sun 23-Oct-11 16:41:33

That puppies should be walked for five minutes for every month of their age only, while their bones mature etc.

As per, 25 minute walks for 5 month old pups, 30 minutes for 6 months old, etc?

Or so I've read, frequently, here! smile

3cutedarlings Sun 23-Oct-11 18:57:41

Yes it applies to any type of outdoor exercise be it on lead or off. I personally (and am so not an expert lol) feel that if its soft ground and not hard lead walking than a little more time does no harm, after all getting together with other dogs is also very important to.

You need to stick to it as much as possible for the first 12 to 18 months until they are more or less fully grown.

My lab is now 12mths and is from smaller working lines he doesn't really have much more growing to do, but i still dont give him much more than an hour a day.

Spamspamspam Sun 23-Oct-11 20:30:26

Yes I think it is really important particularly with labradors and I have interpreted as all walking wherever it may be. I know a 10 year old lab who is a right state with arthritic problems and her owner does admit he pushed her too hard on the exercise as a puppy. The other thing is overstimulation, I have an 8 month old terrier who looks like she can go all day but I have generally (not allways and not religiously) stuck to the rules and I have no problems with her whatsoever. She is not a needy pup, she sleeps a lot of the day and all night, she never chews anything she shouldn't and is generally very laid back. Thankfully I got given the overstimulation chat from DaisyDogandGertie (whom I am forever grateful to) when she was 14 weeks old and I was experiencing problems. You only have to read the new puppy thread to see which owners overstimulated with too much exercise/play/attention and the problems they then had. The "rule" is 5 minutes per month twice a day so my pup in theory can have 2 x 40 minute walks but what I tend to do is either one 45 to 60 minute walk and another play session or a doggy play date or one 75 minute walk and no play session - generally she lets me know what she needs, if she has a longer walk she doesn't want to play so much later.

I did once read a thread though from Minimu1 I think who said something about the 5 minute rule being now considered irrelevant however I haven't found enough differing information and for me it has given me an easy laid back calm pup so I am sticking to it!

Elibean Sun 23-Oct-11 22:56:07

Thank you all smile

Our pup is very laid back, really only gets bouncy when hungry - which is about three times a day. He does like to play more now, having learnt how (sadly did'nt know how to play two weeks ago, when we first got him from rescue) but its very low key, and doesn't go on very long.

Half an hour twice a day is about what he's getting, though sometimes we're out longer including sitting in the sun watching the dogs world go by, or just sniffing around one particular bush etc. Definitely don't do more than half an hour of actual walking in one outing.

He's probably half lab, and a bit of this and that...not sure if the thises and thatses have arthritis-y problems or not! (probably 1/4 staffy, and 1/4 ???beagle/hound/pointer/whoknowswhat)

Will keep roughly to guidelines, but not panic if its more one day and less the next from time to time.

Lizcat Mon 24-Oct-11 10:39:49

Please don't shoot the messenger.
I was on a canine orthopaedics course 2 weeks ago with an incredibly well respected orthopaedic surgeon vet giving the course, who had just been to the yearly meeting of orthopaedic vets and the work has just been done - The exercise thing is not true. For the dogs who have a tendency to have hip problems and elbow problems the biggest single thing that contributes to development of the disease is being even slightly over weight.
So yes the 5 minute rule is irrelevant, but please please weight out the food and weigh your puppy regularly. Once you are in the weighing habit do it every day of your dogs life - then I don't need to weep when another 50Kg lab walks through my door with it's big bones.

Labradorlover Mon 24-Oct-11 13:28:21

Lizcat, I'm really pleased to hear that. When I got DLab 1, I lived in a flat up 70 steps. Was told by several people to carry him or I'd wreck his hips. I have a dodgy back so wasn't possible. He's now nearly 12, no joint problems, but has never gone over 30kg.

Elibean Mon 24-Oct-11 14:50:33

Really? Hurrah! Will not feel guilty any longer when clearly un-tired pup does more than 25-30 minutes, then!

Thank you, LizCat. Our x-breed was underweight when we got him, so have been giving extra food but think he looks perfect now - lean, can just see ribs, but sleek and just sort of 'right' looking. Will weigh and adjust food accordingly.

I see overweight labs all the time on the Common near us, not a good look!

daisydotandgertie Mon 24-Oct-11 15:01:01

The five minute thing is definitely no more than a guideline - and something I have roughly stuck to with my labs for more than one reason.

As Spam said blush up thread, I do work hard to ensure my puppies aren't overstimulated and are encouraged to learn to self settle from the day they come home. Exercise is one form of stimulation I regulate carefully because puppies have no off switch. At all. They honestly look and behave as though they could go on all day long.

And I imagine, a lot like children, the more they wind themselves up, the less hope they ever have of behaving as I'd like them to behave. They stop listening, can't concentrate, belt around the house, hang of sleeves and trouser legs, jump up and nip ... I could go on and on.

By managing a puppy - their sleep, training and play behaviour improves a thousand fold and you end up with a rational pup who is still able to control their instincts and behaviour which in my book is something to strive for. It guides them with no real effort towards becoming the adult dog I hope for.

Lizcat - it's really good to hear about up to date veterinary opinion. What did they say about dogs who have never been overweight and still go on to show problems with hips and elbows? Are there any other contributory factors?

Lizcat Mon 24-Oct-11 15:08:48

Daisy certain dogs are genetically prone to hip and elbow problems these can be reduced by adhering to the BVA/KC schemes, but will never be completely got rid of. Some of these dogs will develop the problems regardless of what we do. What we do know is that weight is the single biggest factor that causes genetically prone dogs to develop the disease.

Skyrg Mon 24-Oct-11 15:09:35

Surely the 5 minute thing doesn't make sense, given that the puppy will presumably be let out in the garden anyway? Ours will quite happily wander/run madly around the garden for ages, in addition to the walks he's given.
I would assume that it's a matter of common sense, let puppy walk at their own pace and don't keep going if they're obviously tired.
Our puppy is calmed down by longish walks, lets him get rid of some of that energy.
Be interested to know if vets advise to stick to it, I have to say we haven't.

daisydotandgertie Mon 24-Oct-11 19:14:45

It's fascinating to hear of the latest veterinary information which I am quite, quite sure is right. I am not at all surprised to hear that weight is such an influential factor in damaging joints.

But. And it's a worrying but, I have known of a number of labs who have been bred for many generations to be the best they can be by truly dedicated breeders adhering to BVA/KC schemes and yet they can still throw a puppy with poor scores in either hips or elbows or both. Almost without exception I can say these pups have never been over weight - they are all bred and used for working or trialling - and yet they have still suffered the agonies of hip or elbow dysplasia.

My ill educated, but (I hope grin) common sense theory on my running my puppies is pretty much as I put in an earlier thread ...

I do agree that if a puppy has absolutely sound joints then exercise is going to do no harm at all. But there is no way of knowing that your puppy actually does have sound joints. Good health tests and hip scores from parents give us a good head start but are no guarantee of a sound pup.

IMO, the long and the short of it is that good joints are hard to damage, but weak ones are extremely easy and as there's no way to ascertain what sort of joints your puppy has until it's possibly too late, I always, always err on the side of caution and go for about (and it is very about) 5 minutes per month of age.

I'd do anything. Absolutely anything necessary to avoid my dogs damaging their joints. And add to that my hobby horse of overstimulated puppies and I stick to the 5 ish minute rule. And the exercise that applies to is forced - eg lead based, led by us - which prevents them slowing down or stopping when they feel they need a rest. It doesn't include playing in the garden or house when they are free to monitor their own activity levels.

Elibean Mon 24-Oct-11 20:42:37

Absolutely makes sense to me to treat puppy as I do my children - ie keep eye on their energy levels, not let them overdo it till they drop exhausted, respond to their individual needs instead of having a strict rule.

Which in our pup's case, seems to be a couple of good walks per day - nearly entirely off lead, and pup-led: when he wants to stop, we stop. When he wants to play, he plays. We do'nt cover much distance, but he plays a lot, chases leaves, other pups, and sticks.

He's a chilled boy at home, very laid back for a pup - and judging from the 'happy ending' reports on the rescue's website, so are his litter mates!

Skyrg Mon 24-Oct-11 21:17:46

daisydotandgertie, does your rule apply for non lab type dogs? Just curious as, afaik, my puppy is not a type that is likely to have joint problems (to be honest if he was at risk walking would be the least of his problems compared to the way he leaps off things).

The 5 minute rule would be impossible for us to follow unless we completely changed the way we walk him. We treat it as an opportunity to meet new dogs, sniff around, learn road safety, have a mad run around etc. He's still very young so I can't imagine a forced 20 minute dragging him round the block grin

daisydotandgertie Mon 24-Oct-11 21:49:42

I would stick to it with pretty much all dogs - not as a rigid rule, but as a helpful guideline.

I honestly don't think that puppies need the legs walked off them - it isn't necessary to physically exhaust them to burn off excess energy. The excess energy often burnt off is the adrenaline fuelled, hyper behaviour brought on by too much of everything.

A good balance can be achieved by moderate exercise, lots of bonding games at home and plenty of short, positive training sessions.

I try to visualise the adult dog I'd like to end up with and set it as a standard I work towards. As an adult dog, my dogs need about 2 maybe 2.5 hours of exercise a day so I work towards getting them to that by somewhere at about 18/24 months ish . Once adult, all my girls will happily work all day - but importantly to me, they don't demand that much exercise every day. They're content with 2 hour ish long walks every day which means my life easily fits around them and we're all happy.

What breed of dog have you got?

Skyrg Mon 24-Oct-11 22:50:57

He's a cross. He's going to be a small to medium dog, he's 4 months old.

Our walks can take ages, but that's at his pace and with lots of stopping to sniff and meeting other dogs. He's quite nervous around other dogs and the local field is the only place we can really meet them, so I think that's important. Walks are a little longer at the moment because we play a few games in the field to get him ready for being off the lead.

Today is the first time he's seemed tired on a walk (was dragging on the lead, and sat down eventually and refused to move!) but that was after getting out of the vets (only about 10 minutes away) and to be honest I think he was just a bit freaked by the experience. He usually sleeps a bit after a walk, and then will be ready for a game of fetch. I'd actually compare our walks with his behaviour in the garden, a bit of running around, lots of sniffing... quite a lot of wandering aimlessly.

daisydotandgertie Tue 25-Oct-11 12:03:10

Sky - the walks sound perfect to me - you've got just the right idea. And make sure he learns to entertain himself with toys and stuff at home.

Socialisation is the most important single thing you can do for a dog so the more he sees and does now, the better it'll be. Does your vet do a puppy class? That's usually a really good place for socialisation.

Oh - and get him off the lead now! Don't wait until he's confident and will belt away from you. While he's this age, he will naturally want to stay close to you which of course you can build on every time you take him out - lots of treats, games, high value toys will all help him learn that you're the most exciting and important thing in his world. If you leave the off lead stuff until later, trust me, you'll have a hell of a time. At 4 months he'll also be easy to outrun or head off and scoop up. At 6 months, it'll be impossible.

Skyrg Tue 25-Oct-11 12:14:32

Oh he does entertain himself at home. He's ripped the stuffing out of two of his toys already (taught us not to buy teddy type toys!).
I'm not sure about puppy class, I don't think the local vet does one. He loves other dogs, will be really interested in them, then will run behind me whimpering and crying when they sniff him. I'm going to see if I can invite one of my friends round with their dogs, I think he needs longer exposure to a dog to have a chance to interact, rather than a quick sniff on the field.

He went off the lead for the first time yesterday smile we were a bit nervous about it but had treats ready for bribery and chose somewhere far away from the road. He did stay close, we played a few games and he was extremely well behaved. We did put the lead back on when there was another dog though, since he's still unpredictable around them.

Easy to outrun? He's only the size of a cat but he moves like a rocket!

daisydotandgertie Tue 25-Oct-11 12:24:30

The other dog thing - getting other dogs over would be brilliant. And if you can manage it, completely ignore him while he's with other dogs - not a word, nor a gesture. If he wimpers, ignore. If he comes over to you, ignore. Try really hard not to soothe, act or comment on his behaviour because he's likely to take that as positive affirmation that you would like him to continue to behave the way he just did - iyswim?

The only time I intervene in puppy socialisation is if one of them looks as though it's not going back for more of whatever's gone on. They make the most blood curdling noises and hang off each others faces - but it's all goes towards dogs learning to speak dog nicely.

I still buy teddy type toys for our girls. And they still murder them. But they love them so much I can't help myself.

Skyrg Tue 25-Oct-11 15:13:17

I don't mind him killing the toys, it's finding the stuffing everywhere for ages afterwards that's the problem. I mean, how does it get in my hair?!

I do try to ignore him while he's with other dogs, and talk to the owners, but he leaps about on his lead, tangles us up etc. Be easier when he's off the lead, but I don't want to have to deal with a chase all over the field smile That's why inviting dogs over seems like a good idea, he'll be confined to a certain extent but will know he can run away or hide if he needs to.

SouthernandCross Tue 25-Oct-11 15:29:00

Lizcat, who was the course with? Would be fab to be be able to tell all my clients the 5 minute thing is complete bullsh*t!

Lizcat Tue 25-Oct-11 15:46:15

I did the course at CPD solutions and Mike Farrell from Fitzpatrick Referrals was the course tutor - as we know Fitzpatrick is at the very cutting edge of veterinary orthopaedics.

daisydotandgertie Tue 25-Oct-11 16:54:16

Just to make you laugh/despair/swear I saw a different vet when I took my youngest pup for her first jabs (only 4 months ago) and she told me in very serious tones that I wasn't to exercise my puppy AT ALL until she was at least a year old.

That really shocked me. I even argued with her, but she was quite, quite certain.

I can't imagine how anyone could take that seriously - or even try and carry it out.

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