Stairs as a form of exercise: too harsh on hips? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Stairs as a form of exercise: too harsh on hips?

Zeeva is going on 4.

It's getting warm here so I've been considering some kind of indoor exercise with her. I've been working on getting her to lose weight for a while now with little success.

I found out today by pure accident that she'll climb stairs when playing fetch for her squeaky turtle. And she'll play till I ask her to stop so it seems great, right?

My question is; is going up and down stairs too harsh on a dogs hips for exercise purposes?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 12:34 AM
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My general rule is; What do dogs do naturally without human influence? Unless they are climbing a mountain, dogs wouldn't really encounter exercise that works the body the way climbing stairs does. Tough to get physical exercise in the house. I have a large carpeted basement I let the dogs play in and wrestle in when the it is raining or the weather is too poopy to be out in the yard.

I'd personally say no to the dogs running up and down stairs for exercise. If you can find a treadmill that might be a better option. The dog would have to be conditioned to use a treadmill safely, of course...

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 12:44 AM
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Zeeva, Molly loves climbing stairs! If your dog enjoys it why not. We do it outside though, the family in the condo next to us wouldn't appreciate it. There are two city hall buildings near us with exterior stairs and large 2nd floor balconies. Molly loves climbing the stairs, walking around the 2nd upstairs floor, looking down below then going down again. We've done this on the weekends when their closed at the City of Santa Cruz and the City of Capitola, right above the police station.

Just remember its an intense exercise so I wouldn't do it too long.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 01:08 AM
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Molly at Santa Cruz city hall:

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Zeeva View Post
My question is; is going up and down stairs too harsh on a dogs hips for exercise purposes?
To me, yes it is. Consider a treadmill but also play games to exercise her brain as this is just as important and maintains your relationship with her and it is plain fun too.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 11:52 AM
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I could be very wrong... been before.. but I wouldn't see why, if it's not high impact, like jumping stairs, etc. their growth plates are set and its a simple movement.. for apuppy.. of course not, but an adult dog who is already set.. I wouldnt' see how that would adversly affect him or her, unless, like I said, it was high impact type of climbing.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 11:58 AM
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I'd get a kiddie pool the 10 dollar kind. Fill it with cold water. Play fetch with the dog and take occasional pool breaks to cool down then to right back into it. Rinse and repeat.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2014, 12:13 PM
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Going along with Baillif's suggestion, take her to a small lake/pond/pool and let her swim.

Being a former NCAA track runner, I've run my share of stairs/bleachers. Climbing up is a good exercise, but running back down stairs can be rough even on two feet. While it probably isn't a problem in general, your dog is moving in a more strained motion, and it won't take much of a slip/misstep for an injury to arise.

I'd look for other options such as water play, or break up your dog's exercise into shorter more often intervals when you are worried about the heat.

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