Exercise rules with puppies

(22 Posts)
Notrusthere Mon 25-Mar-19 22:03:02

I know the 5 minutes per month rule with puppies. I didn't stuck to that with my previous dog as simply wasn't aware of the guidance (this was 10 years ago) and he never had any joint problems.

So just wondering who is following this, who isn't and how following this guidance or not has effected your dogs.

Would be interesting to hear from those who have and those who haven't (see keep it civil 😉)

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BiteyShark Mon 25-Mar-19 22:08:58

I tended to stick to it when waking on lead on pavements but we didn't do much of that type of walking.

Off lead in the forest I was much more relaxed about the 'rule' as I figured he could stop if he needed to.

My dog is only 2.5 years old so I presume he is too young to show any long term damage from the exercise we did as a puppy. However, he has had lots of injuries recently which I suspect would contribute more to joint problems later on than the exercise we did when younger.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 25-Mar-19 22:29:36

What breed is your DDog? It's more of an issue for larger breeds.

Pringle89 Tue 26-Mar-19 06:51:38

I was told by our dog trainer that the 5 min rule only applies to lead walking, they can be off lead as much as you want - apparently walking on a lead changes the way they walk in an unnatural pattern which is why it can cause joint problems? No idea if this is correct but we are relaxed with off lead walks across fields etc x

adaline Tue 26-Mar-19 06:55:20

It's only for on-lead walking as you're controlling the pace and distance so even if the puppy is too tired or sore, it won't stop because you're telling it to go and it's following you around.

We followed it for on-lead walks up until about ten months of age. Just because your previous dog was fine doesn't mean all dogs are - isn't it worth limiting walks for the first year if it stops your dog getting arthritis or hip dysplasia?

Nothingoriginalhere Tue 26-Mar-19 07:07:41

We followed the 5 min rule for both lesd and off lead exercise. Our breeder was very insistent we should and our previous dog ( ssme breed) had bilateral hip dyspasia resulting in 2 hip replacements.
Would do anything to avoid thst sgain so listened to the expert advice. Also didnt allow pup to jump on furniture, go up stairs or jump into car.

Notrusthere Tue 26-Mar-19 07:20:18

I've not actually said whether I'm following it or not, I wanted to gauge whether others are following the rule or taking it with a pinch of salt.

And of course my previous dog being fine doesn't mean another will, and likewise my in-laws followed the rule religiously with their dog and she had a hip replacement at 18 months old.

I'm honestly just curious, especially about people who had puppies before this rule was common knowledge, did you walk more and end up with a dog with joint problems?

OP’s posts: |


BiteyShark Tue 26-Mar-19 07:39:36

My own personal view is that I went for a balance. Minimise the risk without minimising the fun. I still follow that now he is an adult as we let him chase balls which a lot of people won't but we limit the time to not over do it.

Notrusthere Tue 26-Mar-19 07:45:59

Thanks Biteyshark, how did you manage to find that balance as a pup?

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tabulahrasa Tue 26-Mar-19 07:48:05

The thing is, you’re not likely to really get any information that means anything because it’s not really a “rule” it’s just a reminder to build up a puppy’s fitness gradually.

My understanding of it from the ortho specialist is that if a dog is never likely to develop joint problems or has no chance avoiding them it really doesn’t make a difference, but for dogs whose joints are somewhere in between building up the muscle tone gradually by doing little and often can make a difference and protect their joints.

Wolfiefan Tue 26-Mar-19 07:49:21

I stuck to it. But I have a giant breed. I would say play in the garden as much as you like but on lead pavement walking kept to a minimum. And the odd longer walk shouldn’t do an awful lot of harm.

Girlintheframe Tue 26-Mar-19 07:57:30

We don’t really stick to the rule but are mindful of it. We tend to walk miles and miles but have never gone over 3 miles with pup. This is all off lead, with lots of stops and starts.
If we are walking him on a lead we generally stick to the rule of 5 mins per month. He is a medium breed and 9 months old

BiteyShark Tue 26-Mar-19 07:58:30

By a balance what I did was mostly off lead over varied terrain which I had read was good for building up strength. So whilst I 'ignored' the rule for offlead what I did was gradually build up the time when he was a youngster so he naturally got stronger and fitter so he didn't go from zero to full on hour walks as it was built up over weeks. The time we did though was over the rule and we let him run around as much as he liked on the walks.

I really do think it's down to how you feel as an owner. It really wouldn't surprise me if we did have issues later but I think that would be down to his injuries. Whilst we have removed one walk where he tends to get overexcited and more likely to injure himself we still let him run around with other dogs at daycare because I feel that removing risk too much would affect his enjoyment in life given his personality. For me that's the balance ever since he was a puppy. For other owners they might feel that a risk from over walking is too much for them and follow the 'rule' more closely.

missbattenburg Tue 26-Mar-19 08:55:06

I remember reading an interview with 3 of the leading canine orthos who agreed they didn't know where the 'rule' came from but they suspected that joint issues were influenced by the puppy doing movements that he didn't have the muscle to support (over and above the multiple other influences such as genetics and nutrition). Therefore, they thought that just a balanced approach was ok - such as not letting the pup play madly on stairs or jump off sofas etc. I often wish I could find it again to link to.

I did similar to bitey in that I limited walks on lead and/or on hard surfaces but was more relaxed about off lead walks across fields which were up to about 45-60 mins by the time Battendog was about 5 months old. As long as he wasn't shattered by the time we came back, I allowed it.

He was allowed to go up/down stairs but not at will - just when accompanied by someone. He was not allowed to jump on/off sofas at will but we did put some strategically placed foot stools around that he was encouraged to use as steps, if he'd been allowed on the sofa and wanted to get down.

All that said, Battendog is a springer whose parents had very low hip scores. If he'd been a bigger breed - even something the size of a Rottie - or the hip scores of the parents were higher, I'd have probably been even more cautious.

JaneEyre07 Tue 26-Mar-19 09:41:54

I've got a sprocker pup who's nearly 6 months and we don't do a lot of lead walking... she has around 30 mins off lead in the morning and about 10 minutes in the afternoon but she's never ever tired hmm

We did an hour long walk by accident the other weekend, had to go back on ourselves as a footpath was flooded but she was fine even though we watched her closely.

I always assumed it was lead based exercise on roads, not off lead on soft ground.

tabulahrasa Tue 26-Mar-19 10:26:55

There’s also other reasons you don’t want to over exercise a puppy anyway...

Crabbit overtired puppies are a PITA, lol.

Notrusthere Tue 26-Mar-19 10:50:45

Some very interesting responses thanks everyone.

It seems the majority vote is for being aware of the rule, following it for on lead walks but relaxing for/not counting off lead exercise. Also being more strict for giant breeds, those with known hip issues (GSD etc) and dogs whose parents had high hip scores.

I have a Golden Retriver pup. Hip scores of parents were low. Very experienced breeders and their vet have said not to take the rule too seriously (not those exact words)
We have been doing more like 30 minutes than 15 on lead, but allowing up to 45 off lead.

OP’s posts: |
tabulahrasa Tue 26-Mar-19 11:57:01

Slightly on a tangent...

Why when people talk about joints is it always hips?

If you’re going to go by scores, surely it’s hips and elbows?

JaneEyre07 Tue 26-Mar-19 12:57:26

My fear is always cruciate ligaments, after our lab tore both of hers in later life.

Boatsnack3 Tue 26-Mar-19 13:20:53

I have a 4 month old border collie, I am aware of the guidance but don't really follow it. He's mostly walked off lead and can walk for miles, I haven't managed to stop him jumping off the sofa or the stairs yet but I am trying. I do try not to overwalk him because he doesn't listen if he's over tired but it takes a lot more than a 20 minute walk to tire him.

geekone Tue 26-Mar-19 13:55:02

I pretty much did what @BiteyShark did with my giant puppy. Even in woods and field we kept the route short but we sometimes stayed out for ages. He now does loads of off lead walks for long distances 10k and he is fine he is 13 months. However I took him a walk on lead on pavements a week ago as I had to go somewhere and we did 7k and he was a bit stiff that night so we won’t do so long on lead till he is a bit older.

geekone Tue 26-Mar-19 13:55:52

When he was tiny we did 10/15 minutes 3 times a day and we were lucky to get any distance at all lol

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