Because this is such a frequent topic for all new puppy owners. And I see mis-information from breeders going from 'NO stairs for our breed until a year old (?????)' to 'Only short leashed walks around the block for the first year' (?????)
I thought it would be a great idea for the 'truth' to come out from us what a normal healthy pup (of any breed) should be able to do.
I know my pups can off leash hike for miles by the time they are 11 weeks old....
This is going to be an interesting topic. I try to break this into a couple of different topics that have highly varying opinions:
Stress management-i.e. things like the stair issue. what can you do in terms and relation to the development of a dog's growth plates and maturing of their bone structures. For smaller dog breeds the closing of the plates occur much sooner than the gsd or larger breeds. So the gsd/large breed owners need to manage stress induced exercises for a much longer period.
Vaccinations schedules - when during the early vaccination period can you get the puppies out and about and what you need to continue to protect them from. This can go from the (IMO) extreme of "I have to keep my puppy isolated and protected from everything until after they complete their vaccinations and get their rabies shots" to getting out and socializing after the first/second round of shotts. The timing of getting rabies also varies from around four months to six months these days.
My puppy - I allowed to climb stairs from the day he came home but I carried him down the staris to avoid stress on his joints for the first few weeks. And then he went down with a leash for a while to keep him from racing down and launching off the stairs. Next phase was placing obstacles at the bottom to keep him from launching off the bottom of the stairs. He was in a puppy class at about 11 weeks and going to a local park to run and socialize with dogs of owners who I knew but I kept him away from certain owners or dogs who I hadn't known previously. Also kept him in the center of the parks and away from the bushes from areas where the animals were likely to defecate more. He was at the regional parks and hiking/swimming in the lake at 3.5 months.
Agility people know who Silvia Trkman is. She's a top agility competitor in the world. I like to read her web page because it covers everything on dog training, pretty much. Now, keeping in mind that she has a smaller breed of dog (Pyrenean Shepherds), I still think her philosophy on exercising puppies can still be applied. I think it's well worth reading her entire website, even if you aren't interested in agility.
"When people ask me when good old Lo will deserve retirement, I always tell that good old Lo certainly deserved to never be retired. She is in agility since her 7th week, she is over 10 years old now and still easily beats much younger dogs on grass. "
Wow, that video clip was an eye opener.
I had always understood that a puppy should be moderately exercised until their limbs matured.
I had a lab puppy years ago and even the vet told me to do restricted exercise for the first few months. I was led to believe that over exercising contributed to hip dysplasia, if the dog was pre disposed to the condition.
Obviously thinking has changed.
Kerchaks exercise regime is going to alter
Dusty, terrier mix,3 years old approx (Rescue dog)
Kerchak, GSD, born 25th Feb 2009
I exercise my pup who is 5 months now for a 20 min walk in the morning and we go for about an hour at night or spend an hour at the park with the ball and I was always worried that it might be to much. If I didnt exercise him like this he would be running around like a little devil getting into everything.
my puppy came home at 9 weeks old. i think we started the stairs
at 10 weeks or 11 weeks. coming up the steps i would put him
on the 3rd step from the top and let go from there. going down the steps i put him on the 3rd from the bottom and let
him go from there. we slowly starting adding more steps.
his walks were very short. he definitely wasn't going a mile at
10 or 11 weeks old. my Vets office is 1 mile from our house. one day we had to walk home from the Vets office. my puppy just stopped and flopped. he also got a little abrasion on his pad. from that day on i took it very easy on him. my the time he was 6 months old we were walking miles. he's now 2 years old and he can
go 5 miles with no problem. we walk in the woods a lot
so my dog has to jumps over things, crawl under things and climb
some steep inclines.
i don't know when they're able to do what but i
don't push my dogs early on. i let them work up to going