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Too much exercise?(11 Posts)
Our Eight month old pup is so active, he will play with a ball forever, runs fast all the time he’s off lead and loves to play with other dogs.
I’ve heard he shouldn’t be allowed to get tired or jump until he’s a year old but we can’t stop him. He’s a small terrier, not a big breed with vulnerable joints.
Today we’ve been out and he’s swum in a pond and raced around all day with kids and dogs. The five minutes per month rule seems impossible for dogs like ours.
The five minute a rule per month is one of those rules that really has no evidence. A bit like 5 a day of vegetable.
However exercise that’s not appropriate for a puppy’s age and development can cause significant and irreversible damage.
I would not be ball throwing for any dog ever but definitely not a puppy. You can play ball eg catching it or sniffing it out, maybe running to a still ball.
I would be encouraging interaction with other dogs and children but again I would restrict it. Partly to stop the puppy from getting over stimulated but also to stop it damaging joints etc.
You will find that training and brain games will tire a puppy more than exercise which can just increase adrenalin levels and actually make the puppy more hyper and then you think it needs more exercise and the cycle continues.
The first consideration with puppy exercise is the growth plates. They are soft areas that sit at the ends of the long bones in puppies and young dogs. They contain rapidly dividing cells that allow bones to become longer until the end of puberty. Growth plates gradually thin as hormonal changes approaching puberty signal the growth plates to close. In puppies, this closure is normally completed by approximately 18 months old. As ligaments and tendons may be stronger than the growth plates and so they can actually cause damage to the growth plate.
However puppies do need exercise to develop just not excessive exercise and not endurance as their cardiovascular system is not fully developed.
So free play is great, if he flops then tries to get going again intervene and encourage rest. Not too much lead walking just enough for a burst of training but no long lead walks.
Absolutely no jumping on furniture or jumping off furniture (It can cause horrendous back injuries).
He sounds great
“The five minute a rule per month is one of those rules that really has no evidence.”
Well no, it’s a rule of thumb to remind you that you have a baby dog that needs to build up it’s muscle strength gradually rather than allowing themselves to overdo it while they’re still growing.
I tried not to worry about this rule but apply common sense. So if we were playing with a ball then we timed how long and stopped even if he looked like he could go on for much longer. If we were off lead I would let him do his own thing but on lead was kept to a sensible time. We did make sure he had timeouts to rest though.
We didn't allow ours to go on the sofa as a puppy until he looked like he was fully grown but honestly for jumping he would see a fallen tree or a big dip in the forest and launch himself across so you can only do so much to stop them unless you put them in the equivalent of a doggy straight jacket
He's a small terrier, so fully grown by now anyway I wouldn't worry about the amount of exercise he's getting.
Bitey that makes me feel a bit better. Our pup launches herself off our step in garden when she's having her crazy bursts and I am really worried she's damaging her joints.
Chimpd0g it's so hard to stop them isn't it. Mine is almost 2 years old and when we got him as a puppy I worried the same but then came to the conclusion that he would have a bloody miserable life if I stopped him doing everything by the book on the off chance that he may have arthritis/damage later that could be down to as much as genetics than environment. After that I tried to adopt a more relaxed approach so limited the obvious whilst still letting him enjoy being a daft dog
I read an interview with three of the top canine orthopaedic surgeons and they were asked about this subject. Without totally dissing the 5mins rule they did say there had never come across any study/evidence backing it up.
I wish I could find it again or remember it in more clarity but I think they went on to say that in their experience many/most injuries came about because the puppy tried to do things they did not have the muscular fitness to support and that muscle strength should be allowed to build up naturally.
I too have taken a similar approach to Bitey in that I have never forced Battendog to exercise (so we never did long on lead walks on pavements) but never really stopped him being a puppy and running around for an hour if that's what he wanted to do. Lots of his walks were and continue to be off lead and he is free to plod or run as he wishes. We walked for longer than the 5mins/month rule but always at his pace and on soft ground (grass and woodland) rather than hard concrete.
“that muscle strength should be allowed to build up naturally.”
That’s exactly what the 5 minute thing is for though...
It’s to make you think, my puppy is only 6 months, I want to make sure it’s not doing more than about half an hour of stuff at a time that’s actually not at it’s own pace and that he’s unable/going to be unwilling to stop doing.
I agree tabulahrasa that may have been the original intention.
I've seen the 5 min rule latched onto by some many organisations etc. and explained in so many ways that it's just become a source of confusion instead (imo). e.g.
- only 5mins 'enforced' exercise
- only 5 mins of any exercise
- only 5 mins hard exercise, like running or walking at pace
- only 5 mins on hard surfaces
- only 5 mins on any surface
- only 5 mins per day
- only 5 mins per session
-only 5 mins, twice a day
- that the intention is to stop joint wear
- that the intention is to stop muscle strain
- that the intention is to stop broken limbs
I understand that people want a clear, easy to remember message but sometimes I think that by taking it down to such a simple level they make it more complicated because there is room for people to fill in the gaps as they think best, making it more complicated and confusing the issue again.
I agree MissBattenburg
Kennel club say "A good rule of thumb is a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is fully grown"
It is clear that different types of exercise for the same length of time will have different effects on a puppy. 20 min ball throwing for a 4 month old dog would be damaging. 4 month old puppy pounding the streets on lead for 20 mins twice a day is not the same as the puppy have self managed exercise a day.