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Mastiff puppies and excercise: How much is safe?

Gaz
March 1st, 2010, 12:58 PM
Hi everybody, I'm new to the forum. I apologize in advance if I missed this on the search. I'll be getting an English Mastiff puppy the first of April. In everything that I've been able to find I can't seem to get a straight answer on exercise. It seems that the majority opinion is their walks should be limited to around 10 minutes due to their rapid growth and possible joint damage during development. I've also heard this isn't a major concern. She'll be about 10 weeks when I get her. I'm hoping someone who has experience with this breed will be able to point me in the right direction. I want to make sure she will be properly exercised but not at risk of her health. Thank you in advance.

Macomom
March 1st, 2010, 01:01 PM
Have you also been instructed to carry her up and down stairs for the first several months?
Just curious..:)
And welcome!

Gaz
March 1st, 2010, 01:12 PM
Well...not yet anyway. :) I should have been more specific. I will usually walk about 1-2 miles a day, more in the summer. What I have read says the walks should only last for about 10 minutes. I suppose she will walk more than that on her own. Maybe I'm just overly nervous, she will be the first dog of this size I've had.

Macomom
March 1st, 2010, 01:51 PM
I have not had an English Mastiff myself, but my Rottie was a puppy from a breeder who gave me similar instructions. She was more about limiting the intensity of play and allowing her muscles to develop slowly and evenly.

Longblades
March 1st, 2010, 02:35 PM
I found a general "rule of thumb" that was much accepted on a UK forum I visit. It's meant to be a guideline for any breed. Might help?

Forced exercise, such as leash walking, allowed on a hard surface twice a day for 5 minutes per month of age each time. The hard surface concern is obvious. The leashed restriction is because leashed walking tends to be in a straight line and the repetitive movement is thought to be stressful on young joints.

Off-leash playing and running on soft surfaces like grass unlimited because puppy can change direction or lie down for a rest whenever she wants.

I followed this loosely with my boy, a Lab. He wasn't leashed till 4 and a half months old but our outings were to the bush nearby where we did walk in sort of straight lines and the snow was cold and deep so I figured the time limit was reasonable for him.

Marcha
March 1st, 2010, 02:48 PM
At about 10 weeks old, you don't want to take her out anywhere until she's had the required vaccinations and her immune system is better able to handle what she will encounter on walks later.

Your pup will be mostly sleeping. You'll be taking the pup out for pees and poos on a regular basis, and you could take her into your yard if you have one. But for the first month, don't count on taking her out; *specially* not to areas where lots of dogs visit.

Once your pup is about 14 weeks, start with puppy classes. The puppy classes will give you tools to train your pup, and to keep the pup's mind busy (mental exercise). Short walks are enough. You'll find she's going to be sleeping a large part of the day still anyway.

Don't take the pup running or into areas where she'll need to climb to keep up with you (hikes and such) until she's about a year and a half. Before then, mellow walks, some playtime with another dog, teaching fetch, mental exercise, exploring the neighbourhood or a local forest or lake... all good enough.

Make sure your pup doesn't do stairs, as Macomom said... and take stairs slowly when she's learning to take them once she's too heavy to pick up for it. Avoid stairs where you can.

Don't play 'catch', where the dog is expected to leap up to catch a ball or stick or treat.

Basically, anything that puts pressure on the joints that is NOT on all four legs at the same time, delay that until they are full-grown at about 18 months. In the mean time, walk, explore, keep their mind busy, teach them commands and obedience, etc.

You'll also find that this kind of slow introduction to activity will benefit in another way. You're going to be grateful that your pup is getting a decent mind-workout and obedience training when the pup grows and can dislocate your shoulder. Work on additional commands (beside sit/stay/down/heel/etc); things like 'stop' (pup stops and sits as soon as you say it), 'off' (pup gets off whatever surface or person), 'cross', a command for left and right, and so forth. Anything that gives your pup action without the anatomical intensity. Your arm and shoulder will love you for it when the pup becomes so large it can dislocate your arm if she should want to go do something you didn't want/expect her to do). Right from the start, keep her mind busy and focused on you, and keep walks short but interesting.

Also, make sure that your pup is getting enough food, but not too much food. Slowing down the weight gain gives your dog a better chance at proper joint development. Make her work for her food, and give her more if she's really hungry, but not so much that she's leaving food.

Have you considered yet what kind of food you're going to give the pup? Food with fillers can be hell on large and giant breed pups because they gain weight too fast without the muscles and tendons and joints having a chance to adjust to the increas in weight.

Marcha
March 1st, 2010, 02:53 PM
Forced exercise, such as leash walking, allowed on a hard surface twice a day for 5 minutes per month of age each time. The hard surface concern is obvious. The leashed restriction is because leashed walking tends to be in a straight line and the repetitive movement is thought to be stressful on young joints.

Off-leash playing and running on soft surfaces like grass unlimited because puppy can change direction or lie down for a rest whenever she wants.


Yes, absolutely.

Gaz
March 1st, 2010, 03:19 PM
Thank you every one for the information. A lot of the walking I've been doing has been on grass due to a back injury that makes it easier for me, the also involve a fair bit of photography so its start and stop with lots of meandering.

Marcha as for the food I've done some research and have decided to go with Fromm large breed puppy for now. I'll have to do a search for that in the forum but I'm always willing to listen to suggestions.

Marcha
March 1st, 2010, 03:54 PM
That would be a great fun and a great start for your pup. Walk, stop, sniff, look around, lie down for a bit, start again, etc. You might want to look into umbillical training if that works for you with the back injury. She might not be up for that while she is a wee pup, but I would guess that by the time she is 4 or 5 months old, she'll love outings of a mile in a start-stop fashion!

The Fromm food looks very good, if this is the one you mean:
http://www.frommfamily.com/products-g-d-largepuppy.php

The food forum here will also help you find other brands and options that you could research.

By the way, when you have photos to share, please do. Mastiffs are so very gorgeous and huggable. :cloud9:

Gaz
March 1st, 2010, 04:19 PM
Marcha, thats the food I found. I going to spend more time looking through the forum. I should have a pic the last week of march, she'll be nine weks then. Once again, than you for the advice.

Sheri H
March 4th, 2010, 08:10 AM
I find that play exercise is the best for my adult dog and puppy. They will go at it until one has enough and they both stop until both are ready for more.