Puppy walk/length

(18 Posts)
Whitepots Sat 13-Jun-20 09:01:38

I know the guidance for walking puppies is to only walk them for 5 mins for every month of their life. We certainly stuck to this in the beginning but in the last few weeks I've noticed that we've been increasing the length of the walk beyond this.

Our puppy is five months old (so in theory he should only have a 25 min walk) but sometimes we end up walking him for up to 40 mins.

He seems fine with is, but we obviously can't rely on him to self-regulate, and I wondered what others do/have done.

We obviously don't want to risk over-walking him or damaging his joints etc. but equally want him to have the exercise he appears to need.

OP’s posts: |
SkeletonSkins Sat 13-Jun-20 09:05:17

There’s actually no scientific evidence behind the ‘5 minute for each month’ thing. No one actually knows if it makes any difference - consider a sheepdog pup, I’m sure that they don’t stick to that and collies are known for joint issues!

That said I thought a lot of it is about the context of the walk. 40 mins walk on lead on pavement I would say isn’t good - it’s a hard surface and the dog is not able to rest if they want to, they have to walk continuously and keep up with your pace. 40 mins mostly off lead time on grass or sand or forest floor, fine as it’s soft, the dog can go at their own pace and settle as needed. I’d say things like jumping off beds and sofas during a ‘mad half an hour’ would have a much greater impact on joints than a walk like this.

SkeletonSkins Sat 13-Jun-20 09:06:13

By my sheepdog example, I mean that many sheepdog pups will be out and abojt almost continuously from very young get don’t all develop joint issues.

Pipandmum Sat 13-Jun-20 09:06:29

I never heard that! When my dogs were young (say from four months) they got a 40 minute walk to school and back. Then another much shorter walk later. They are medium sized dogs and get the same now at age 8 and 10. Unless you are forcing a young puppy to walk when it obviously doesn't want to I think what you are doing is fine.

dontdisturbmenow Sat 13-Jun-20 09:07:05

Same here. Puppy is 15 weeks, been walking since 12 weeks, but he certainly want to walk much more than 20mns. I have a pouch which I've used since we got him at 7 weeks. If we go on long walk, I take it and she can go back in it whenever if he's tired. It works well, he will ask to be carried for 10 mns and then be off again. The other day, he walked for almost an hour with a couple of 5 mns in the pouch. He would be very unhappy if restricted. He doesn't seem to have any issues at all with it.

Like everything, this is a recommendation, it doesn't mean that it applies to every dog.

Whitepots Sat 13-Jun-20 09:27:01

Thanks very much for your replies. That's really helpful/reassuring.

We do very little pavement walking. We are mainly walking in fields/heathland with a long line so he largely has control of the pace of the walk.

The 5 min guidance was news to me too. I don't remember being aware of it with our family dogs.

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Sat 13-Jun-20 11:33:19

We roughly stuck to it - it might have no real founding in science but young puppies don't have fully formed joints and it's easy to over-do it. The guidance is there to remind you that they're young and don't need long walks just yet.

Lots of joint problems won't become apparent for years and years. You won't know you've done the damage until it's too late. As you only "have" to limit walks for a year or so, for me it wasn't worth the risk. There are better ways to tire a dog out than long walks.

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frostedviolets Sat 13-Jun-20 11:38:58

consider a sheepdog pup, I’m sure that they don’t stick to that and collies are known for joint issues!

Ahem, I have a border collie, technically she would be classed as a ‘Working Sheepdog’ not Border collie as she isn’t registered and she is from strong working, not pet, lines.

I stuck to 5 minutes per month of age.

And all puppies need a lot of sleep else they get overstimulated and unpleasant, if they won’t sleep by themselves you put them in their bed and force them too.

Collies are no exception so no, she absolutely wasn’t ‘out and about’ continuously either

vanillandhoney Sat 13-Jun-20 11:43:31

We obviously don't want to risk over-walking him or damaging his joints etc. but equally want him to have the exercise he appears to need.

Dogs, especially puppies, don't need loads of exercise. Brain games and training are far more effective ways of tiring your dog out, and they won't cause long-term injury either.

Short training sessions each day, giving them kong wobblers/frozen kongs etc. will tire them out just as much (if not more) than a walk. You can also do things like scattering food in the grass for them to find, or make them work for their food by teaching them tricks.

All long walks will do is create a dog that needs long walks before they're tired out. We have a working breed (beagle) and he only gets an hour a day as a grown adult (he's 2.5). Most working dogs are not running about and working all day long - yes, they have jobs but a lot of the time they're sitting/resting/watching what's happening.

Sheepdogs don't herd all day long, for example. The ones I dog-walk spend most of their time sitting about keeping guard. They might go with the farmer a couple of times a week but they're certainly not walking/running about for hours all day, everyday.

PuppyMonkey Sat 13-Jun-20 11:47:28

It’s off-lead walks that are different isn’t it? If they’re running around a field, they can lie down have a rest, recover their composure etc at their own pace, so it’s totally different to bring walked for 40 mins. If yours is on a long lead, I’m not sure that’s proper “off lead” tbh.

SkeletonSkins Sat 13-Jun-20 12:20:53

frostedviolets

*consider a sheepdog pup, I’m sure that they don’t stick to that and collies are known for joint issues!*

Ahem, I have a border collie, technically she would be classed as a ‘Working Sheepdog’ not Border collie as she isn’t registered and she is from strong working, not pet, lines.

I stuck to 5 minutes per month of age.

And all puppies need a lot of sleep else they get overstimulated and unpleasant, if they won’t sleep by themselves you put them in their bed and force them too.

Collies are no exception so no, she absolutely wasn’t ‘out and about’ continuously either

I also have a border collie, I mean an actual sheepdog brought up on a farm to work, not all border collies.

SkeletonSkins Sat 13-Jun-20 12:21:47

A farmer won’t be sticking to 5 minutes per month. I know as I actually know very many who have the dog they’re bringing on our and about with them the majority of the day.

SkeletonSkins Sat 13-Jun-20 12:25:09

Also would be hugely interested in seeing the scientific evidence behind the 5 mins per month thing, if it’s not just something someone made up. I agree that puppies shouldn’t be walked for hours, I agree with the importance of brain training, and I agree with puppies needing to sleep, but I can’t get upset about a 40 min walk for a 5 month old puppy unless it was pounding concrete.

dontdisturbmenow Sat 13-Jun-20 13:23:15

Puppies like kids are all different. Some will need more sleep, some less, some sleep longer at night but less during the day. Some will be able to do more walking and want to then others. It's not a one way fits all.

Wolfiefan Sat 13-Jun-20 13:27:36

It also depends on the breed of puppy. Some breeds are particularly prone to damage.
My 8 month old is not having regular road walking. Lots of play and training sessions too. But then she’s a giant breed.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sat 13-Jun-20 13:51:13

Skeleton, I've asked many times and have also looked, and never seen any. The science I have seen indicates that stairs aren't great, but free running on grass is good.

BiteyShark Sat 13-Jun-20 15:12:42

I generally stuck to that rule for road walks but tbh we did very little of them. For off lead walks it was on soft forest floor and I was much happier to do more because he could rest when he wanted to.

I think the 5 min per month rule is really to get you thinking about what is best for them. Dragging them on an hours walk on the pavement isn't good but ambling about off lead on soft ground where they can sniff and walk at their own pace is very different.

midnightstar66 Sun 14-Jun-20 08:55:07

What breed is your puppy. This makes a massive difference. Vet told me for my small JRT that half an hour twice a day was fine - low risk, light etc. The advice is different to my parents Bassett hound when she was a pup who is heavy and prone to joint issues.

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