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Exercise and the growing puppy

crazydays
July 25th, 2007, 10:43 AM
I attached this thread to this forum because I need to know what is the safest practice re exercise to prevent strain and injury in joints in a young pup.I have a 4 month old Springer Spaniel. I may be giving her too much exercise so I need an opinion. This pup goes to the Dog Park-runs,climbs hill, rough plays for about a hour every other day. She LOVES it, and I love seeing her so happy. On the off days we go for a long 45min walk or a trip to the Lakeshore to swim. Her sister-7y old Standard Schnauzer- is a great source of warp drive running around the back yard.

Yesterday I heard about a 5 min rule for dogs- that for every month the pup can have 5 minutes of active exercise. So that would mean a 4 month pup would be allowed 20 minutes/day.I don't know where this rule came from. I checked out a resource-" My Smart Puppy" by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson. In a exercise section, a canine physical therapist suggests 10-15 minutes walking/month old.

Do you think this is conservative? I want my pup out there socializing and burning energy and building strong bones. Need some opinions and experience. My Vet and my excellent breeder mentioned nothing about restricting time with exercise.

SEVIIN
July 25th, 2007, 10:58 AM
In the case of larger breed dogs this is typically true. They are prone to hip dysplasia. The reason they say not to make your puppy to active is that the puppy needs to grow carefully and slowly because if worked too hard you will loosen the hip bones before she/ he is fully grown. Once that happens the loose hips start to cause problems and can lead to arthritis because the hips are then weak because the ball is not in the socket properly and that will cause rubbing and softening of the joints. Springer Spaniels being closer to a larger breed have been known to be easily prone to hip dysplasia. You don't necessarily have to follow the 5 minute rule. But you DO have to watch how much she exercises. You shouldn't take her for walks any longer than 20 minutes until she is at least 10-12 months old, sometimes longer. Even though it is natural for a dog to run and bounce and play, you should try to control it. Quick movements to her joints can cause problems and hip dysplasia does not show till around 5-7 years of age, in most cases that is but when they do get it, it's very painful for them. Don't let her run up and down stairs and when you are going for a car ride, lift her in. It may not seem that important and a year may seem like a long time to wait but it is EXTREMELY important for her first year to control how much she does.

Good Luck and I hope all goes well with your puppy. :pawprint:

meg4050
July 25th, 2007, 11:13 AM
Hi Crazydays,
My family has had two springers since I was young - our first, Candy was a VERY active dog. My parents had only owned smaller up until her and were unaware of any consequences of too much exercise in large dogs. She had hip dysplasia by the age of 4. She was then only able to go for short walks (about 15 mins) a day. After her passing we got Barkley from a responsible breeder and being aware of Candy's problems, we limited the extremity of his exercise. Until he was about 2 we limited his walks to 15-20 mins tops and made sure he wasn't "springing" too much! He is now going on 9 years with no signs of hip dysplasia or any joint problems. We now take him for two 20 min walks a day and play fetch for about half an hour and he is still as active as he was as a pup! Hope this helps :)

I saw your pictures in another thread and Rio looks just like Barkley did as a pup! He's gorgeous! He'll be just as handsome as Barkley ;)

-Megan

crazydays
July 25th, 2007, 12:12 PM
Thank you both for your posts. I really appreciate it. It just brings up a few more questions-
1) this is a purebred springer who checked out perfect with Board approved
Vets, Cardio, Opthamologist. The hips are approved. Are you saying that she can still get hip dysplasia? I guess if the joints are stressed I can run into problems.
2)stairs- she runs up two flights of stairs all the time- am I supposed to carry her- I do carry her down.
3)She is too small to jump into the car- but when she is able, do I lift her into car until 1yr?
4)She is a flurry of excited energy...loves to go-go-go. Actually she is an amazing little athlete. I am going to have quite the chore of trying to slow her down.

I am going to have to find a compromise for her activity. Stop Dog Park trips for now. I think probably the running exercise with my Cagney is more than adequate for now. I will do walks in a controlled sidewalk setting. I will allow her to swim a few times a week.

You guys have helped me to problem solve this.
Thank you
ps- meg4050 thanks for the compliment-Rio is a beauty with great temperment!

SEVIIN
July 25th, 2007, 12:30 PM
Yes, she can still get it. Some dogs parents etc have it and it is inherited to the young. What genes it's inherited through hasn't been really known yet. Your dog has a good chance of having good hips when he is older provided you follow a strict schedule, what I mean by that is just do what I said before, try not to allow her to do too much Fast movements, like jumping, BOLTING to a run, running up and down stairs, jumping on the couch or even into the car. It's great that she has good genes but it's still very important to keep her mobility limited for the first year because she can still get it. Her being approved with the Board, Vets, Cardio, Opthamologist, still doesn't mean she's safe from getting it, she's just less likely to have it at an older age if she's kept safe from too much exercise when she's younger. Even dogs who are taken care of like this when they are younger can still get it but it is not highly likely and it would take longer for them to get it.

From what you've told me that you do, you can...

1) It's preferred that you let her walk up and down the stairs not run and carrying her down isn't so bad but carry her UP because there is more strength in the hips used while she's going up.

2) YES, lift her into the car until she's about a year even is she is able to jump in.

3) It is going to be a chore slowing her down, I know this all too well :D If she's going to run and be a freak, just let her do it if it's around the house or yard but just limit her and try to get her to be gradual about it rather than bouncy and crazy lol. You'll be fine, it's not too bad :)

mummummum
July 25th, 2007, 12:51 PM
It's all about finding the right balance of getting-the-zoomies-out, socializing her properly and not injuring the growth platelets isn't it ? And we all know what a dawg with a serious case of frustrated zoomies is like :eek:

The dog park is a soft surface so running around like a banshee there for twenty minutes shouldn't be an issue. And a little bit of rough house playing is not only good for the soul it's good for socialization. But I would lay off the steep hill/ rocky surface climbing until she is about 1 year and make her walk up the stairs rather than run (and carpetting on stairs if slippery is a good idea to aid traction). Depending on how high off the ground (1 foot from asphalt to floor ?) the car is and where she settles (floor boards or seat) you can decide how much assistance she needs. Very long walks on hard surfaces (as in hours) can be hard on the joints and should be limited. With that said, most of the time my dogs walk on the grassy shoulder or boulevard while I'm on the sidewalk. Swimming is a great exercize and definitely gets the zoomies out ~ keep THAT up (just watch the rocky shores!).

There are hereditary factors with dysplasia ~ as there are with most musculoskeletal disorders (which is why dogs like yours are screened by a good breeder in the first place !). But dysplasia it is not always congenital (present/ detectable at birth) and a dog can develop musculoskeletal problems such as dysplasia later on in life even though no signs are present at birth and there is no family history.

So, my :2cents: ~ hard surfaces, rapid-fire turns, jumping and climbing: very limited to in moderation. Young puppies tire easily and generally self-regulate by plopping down and going to sleep but if you've got a whirlwind of :crazy: puppy you may have intervene. Ahhh, as much as I loooooooove puppies I do not miss the 24 hour day !!

meg4050
July 25th, 2007, 03:19 PM
As was already stated, yes she can still get it - we asked this when we got Barkley and they told us it's always a possibilty but offered measures to prevent it.
Our vet told us that carpeting on stairs makes a big difference - when he was young we carried him but he's a large spaniel so it's difficult now! Maybe as she gets older you could try training her with a lead to take the stairs slowly.
As for the car, he LOVES car-rides so we've never been able to lift him in because as soon as he sees the keys and we open the door he bounds in, but with treats we were able to train him to just hop onto the floor of the car, so it's more like climbing a stair and then use the raised portion in the middle of the floor to get onto the seat...took a while but it worked! We kept taking him to the dogpark when he was a pup, just kept an eye on him and if he was playing to rough or getting too hyper we put the leash on him and had a time out and then he would settle down.
My sister has a young shepherd cross and she was born with joint problems but is a very hyper dog (ie zoomes atleast 8 times a day! :laughing: )
They live down the street from a ravine so the vet told them to take her swimming to keep her active but to lift her in and out, so as mumx3 already said, keep up the swimming!
Barkley's never been a fan of water...wish he was!

crazydays
July 25th, 2007, 09:24 PM
Seviin,Meg, mummummum,

Thank you all for the excellent response to my question. I have a much more clear idea of when I should put the brakes on with Rio. I was thinking that because she loves the Dog Park so much, and she tends to be in the middle of everything; I will take her during non peak times (when we have the park to ourselves)-that way she can run and explore and have fun off leash, but I won't worry about her tumbling with bigger dogs who she has no fear of. Also instead of a hour there, we will cut her down to half an hour every other day.

VERY HELPFUL:grouphug: :highfive:

SEVIIN
July 25th, 2007, 11:14 PM
Seviin,Meg, mummummum,

Thank you all for the excellent response to my question. I have a much more clear idea of when I should put the brakes on with Rio. I was thinking that because she loves the Dog Park so much, and she tends to be in the middle of everything; I will take her during non peak times (when we have the park to ourselves)-that way she can run and explore and have fun off leash, but I won't worry about her tumbling with bigger dogs who she has no fear of. Also instead of a hour there, we will cut her down to half an hour every other day.

VERY HELPFUL:grouphug: :highfive:

I think that sounds very good. You're off to a great start. I'm sure you will do just fine keeping your bundle of energy safe. Just asking the questions is a start :) Good Luck with your pup! :highfive:

meg4050
July 26th, 2007, 09:56 AM
My pleasure! Good luck with Rio, I always get so excited when someone else has a Springer :)

crazydays
July 26th, 2007, 10:19 AM
Me too...I mean excited when I meet Springer owners, and of course Standard Schnauzer owners. Unfortunately I am not meeting too many Standard owners....yes,yes,yes I'm :offtopic: