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How much exercise?

Daisy's Owner
January 8th, 2005, 08:05 AM
I'm looking for feedback on how much exercise Daisy should be getting. Or maybe when has she had enough.

She is a 16 week old amstaff mix. And she could be the energizer bunny in a dog costume. I was taking her on 1/2 - 1 hour walks a couple times a day and she seemed to be enjoying it, and when we got home she was calm enough that we could do 5-10 minutes of training. And of course she plays with the cat ALOT. If I knew we were taking her somewhere, I would walk her a little before, just to calm her down. She really is a hyper puppy.

We had our first puppy class last week and I brought up exercise. Now granted, I probably should have been a little more specific stating that Daisy seems to be a very very peppy puppy, but I didn't. I just enquired on how much exercise should a puppy be getting. Our trainer's answer was walks shouldn't be any more than 15 minutes. Then I froze and didn't really listen to what she said after that. It was something about longer walks would build endurance or muscle or something to this effect.

So I cut her walks down to 10-15 minutes, and it has pretty much been h*ll. Well, not really, but she just has so much energy, we aren't accomplishing anything except getting frustrated.

Have I already corrupted her? Should I keep her walks to 10-15 minutes and try to deal with it? Are half hour walks for a peppy puppy reasonable?


January 8th, 2005, 12:39 PM
Sounds like the trainer isn't that bright. Warning you about building up endurance or muscle? That's a bad thing, because it's a "pit bull", right? This person should NOT be a trainer, because they obviously don't a clue. I would ask them why this is an issue? Because when she "snaps" she might be able to over-power you? I maybe over-reacting or jumping to conclusions, but this I find really irritating. It's bad enough when someone from the public has a misconception, but someone who should know better? I'd by them a copy of "Pitbulls for dummies" and find a new trainer.

Okay, now that I feel better...I don't think there is such a thing as too much exercise. These dogs ARE hyper and LOVE to run. That's what makes them happy. We'll take our Daisy out for a walk up to 45 mins or an hour. She'll let us know when she's had enough. I get home late at night, and I don't have enough time (or energy) to go for a walk, so sometimes I'll just play around with her in the house, wrestle with her, or play with her and her tire. One thing I will say, though, because some will say you should NOT rough house with dogs (pits or otherwise). I make sure she knows the limits, and she knows it's "play time". When wrestling with her tire, I use the "give" command every once in a while to make her give me the toy. This helps me make sure she knows that at the end of the day, I'm alpha, and it lets her know that this is play time, but she still has rules. We also have a "relax" command to calm her down. We use that at the end of play time. Also, she NEVER initiates the play, I do. That way we don't have to worry about her being aggressive with someone who doesn't "appreciate" her playful nature. These are fun loving dogs, and they live for fun and burning off energy. Sometimes we'll let Daisy into the backyard, and she'll just run in circles burning off the extra energy.

As long as you set limits, and train her to recognise those limits, you can't over exercise her, unless you are forcing her to run when she's already tired.
As a matter of fact, I've had to stop her from playing outside because I can see she is becoming too hot in summer, or too cold in winter, because she just wants to play. Last week I took a break for a minute and saw she was shivering because she was so cold, yet she still wanted to play. I practically had to drag her inside from the cold, for her own good.

Look for a new trainer, and let her run to her heart's content. She'll love you for it.

January 8th, 2005, 05:26 PM
There's a school of thought that too much exercise can harm developing joints, though that's usually in relation to the large/giant breeds.
Then there's another school of thought that a tired puppy is a good puppy, and exercise is GOOD! :)

I'd let her wear her little butt out, as long as it's at her own pace....long forced marches on hard pavement regularly not being a good idea probably, but lots of walking & sniffing and playing and getting acquainted with the world is just grand. :)

January 8th, 2005, 05:59 PM
It is said that leash walking is far different than free walking and that developmentally in a larger breed free walking is best for longer periods of activity during growth plate development...

argh, did that make sense?

January 8th, 2005, 07:46 PM
What a tough question. I wish I used forums when we first got Dalton. I can tell you what our experience was. We took our Rhodesian mix Dalton out for at least one hour walks - or rather off leash runs twice a day when we first got him (12 weeks old). At first he would be tired but then he just seemed to get stronger and stronger. In effect we ended up creating an athlete. Once he started swimming it just got worse. We once decided we would let him tell us when he was done. We tried to wear him down completely on a four hour walk and swim...we couldn't do it.

Now we find that walking him on leash (complete with heeling and sitting whenever we cross a street) wears him out much faster. I guess using his brain is a little more tiring for him. He also always comes home from training classes completly pooped.

I'm interested in hearing some more answers to this, especially regarding developing joints.

Daisy's Owner
January 8th, 2005, 10:43 PM
Thanks. I really do look forward to hearing some more views as well.

hmmm. paws for thought.

Our walks aren't runs. They are all walking and sniffing. The closest she gets to running is when we hurry through a crosswalk.

The school is very well respected within the community, I have seen the dogs that have come out of it, and I only hope that my Daisy is half the dog that I have seen. ETA: I want my Daisy to be 100% just like the rest of them. :thumbs up I know that 99% is the owner, so I do give credit where credit is due, but they are good.

That being said though, Carina's point about too much exercise can damage joints in larger breed dogs does make sense when it comes to this particular school. The school and their dogs are working dogs and I do have to admit that the spectacular dogs I have seen turned out from there are German Shephards, which sort of makes sense from the trainers point of view. Maybe they can only relate to a larger breed dog.

I will have to keep that in mind while we are there. Obviously I am not going to pull out, because regardless they know more about dogs than I do, and I have paid my money, but I'm gonna walk my little girl 'til she's done. And when we are done our 8 weeks I may reconsider our school depending on how things go.


I still would like to hear what others think.

January 9th, 2005, 09:01 AM
Now we find that walking him on leash (complete with heeling and sitting whenever we cross a street) wears him out much faster. I guess using his brain is a little more tiring for him. He also always comes home from training classes completly pooped.

Bingo! :thumbs up Exercising the brain wears them out too.
Over the years I have raised three Rottweilers from 8 week old puppies (the others have been adult rescues.) Within reason, I let them have as much exercise as they wanted, took them for lots of walks, etc.

I don't think doing dog sports like agility, or allowing tons of running, jumping and long, long walks on pavement is a good idea for large fast growing pups. Because these activities can stress immature joints...and pups tend to be a bit less co-ordinated, so more likely to pull a muscle. In which case you've got a hyper energetic puppy that has to be very restricted while she heals!

But a well conditioned muscular dog is going to be less likely to have accidental sprains. And in the event of some sort of congenital joint problems (eg mild dysplasia) strong muscles will compensate for the joint weakness.

January 9th, 2005, 07:58 PM
Well, I apologize if I misunderstood. I took the trainer to have issue with your particular breed becoming strong, not doing damage to her joints. I've never heard of that, and I'm of the opinion if the dog is determining the exercise, then it isn't too much. But I'm not a trainer nor an expert, so I'm open to other opinions to change my mind.

January 9th, 2005, 08:56 PM
When my GSD's where pups,I never over exercised them or made them climb up and down the stairs alot.This suggestion came from my breeder.With this breed,they are prone to Panosteitis.Which my cousins GSD ended up with when he was a pup.Yes pups need exercise,but no need to over do it.As their bones and joints are growing,and they can be sprained or pulled.

What I have heard is long jogs and runs should be done between the age of 12-14 months of age.This is when the dog has more or less reached adulthood.And the bones and joints are much stronger.

January 10th, 2005, 01:17 AM
I've always let them play and run as much as they want! As for leash walks, I wouldn't run until she's older but walking should be fine. I just babysat my friends young pup and I took her to the off leash park with us, she played forever! When she was looking pooped I would pick her up and carry her until she was frisky again! LOL I have a Dobermonster that I let exercise as much as she wanted to and she's fine! The breed you have is tough and hyper! I had a pit pup years ago and he would zoom around the park for a good 15 minutes before he would slow down!

Exercise her and do the training, it's great. Also find some things she can do in the home that will also drain energy, like those toys you put treats in and she has to get them out etc...

Enjoy your pup!