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Old 06-30-2014, 11:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How old before allowed to do these activities?

Hello,

We just got a beautiful male GSD named Odin and i had a few questions about certain activities we wanted to do with him. He is 9 weeks old this Wednesday and is my little baby so i am fearful to do anything that will harm him this early in his life. He listens amazingly well for being so young and already learned to "sit" after having him for 3 days!!!!!

My questions are:

1. When can we allow him to go swimming? We live near many lakes and ponds and i would like to start bringing him swimming (if he likes it) to tire him out and provide physical activity. We also plan on buying a small plastic baby pool for him to swim in the back yard and cool off.

2. When can we begin putting a harness/backpack on him to carry things? I don't plan on making him carry anything yet because he is so young but i want to get him used to having a harness/backpack on as soon as possible. Also, when he is big enough we will probably make him carry a small load (water/food and maybe some toys) when walking around and hiking, etc. just to give him something to do (will also be cool if we can train him to bring items to us using his backpack).

I have tons of other questions but will try to keep this post brief. Glad to be part of the GSD club
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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a couple pictures of our little baby
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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He's adorable! At this point I'd let him run around as much as he wants. He'll stop and rest when he needs to. Lucky you for having lots of swimming options nearby. He may not actually swim quite yet but I don't see any reason he can't play in the water if he's interested. Swimming is a great low impact activity, so it shouldn't affect his joints. I would keep leash walks fairly short.

Be careful where you take him until he's had a couple rounds of puppy shots though, since he won't have immunity to diseases like parvo yet. Being around known dogs that are healthy, current on vacs, and good with puppies is fine, (you want all his exposure to other dogs to be a positive experience for him) but at this point I'd be carrying him at the vet, and not letting him walk around in places where there have been a lot of unknown dogs.

I have backpacks for my dogs, and generally, 18 months old is a good age to start wearing one. I did buy Halo's pack when she was a little younger (15 months?) and had her wear it empty for a few months before adding anything to it. I think the empty pack only weighs a pound or two. Keefer was already an adult when I got his pack, so it wasn't an issue. But even then, I worked up to adding weight. Properly conditioned, adult dogs should be able to carry as much as 25 or 30% of their body weight, but mine have never carried anywhere near that - usually more like 15% max since we just do day hikes and are mostly packing water. Keep in mind that if you buy him a backpack too much earlier it may not fit him anymore by the time he's able to actually carry anything in it, which is another reason to wait until he's more mature.

My dogs both have Ruffwear packs, Halo's is an Approach and Keefer's is a Palisades. They're pricey, but the quality and fit are excellent. Ruffwear packs are designed so the dog carries the bulk of the weight across their shoulders rather than on the back, which is much safer. Some of the less expensive brands have the packs further back, which I wouldn't recommend.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the response! We were told to bring him to the vet 3 weeks from when we got him, my fiancee is calling the vet today to book an appointment. I know he already got a bunch of vaccines from the breeder (cant remember exactly what, its written down at home). I think we will probably play it safe and keep him around the house until we see the vet and are sure he has all his proper shots and whatnot. We brought him to petco last week and let him walk around which sounds like it was not the best idea but he seems fine (knock on wood he didn't catch anything).

Right now our main focus is socializing him around people and other dogs so he does not get mean when older. He is GREAT with people and getting better with dogs, he always tries to be a tough guy to bigger dogs and barks at them but they know he is still a puppy and just ignore him. Smaller dogs he will get along with fine, its pretty funny. Also, my parents have a female yellow lab (3yrs old) that he gets to see quite a bit and they get along well, we are really only letting him play with dogs we know and keeping a close eye on him.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you want to take him to Petco, bring a towel or blanket from home, put it in the basket and have him ride around in there. I carried my pups at the vet until they were too big for me to lift. They stayed on my lap in the waiting room, went right to the exam table, and then I carried them out and put them on the counter while I paid my bill.

Usually the puppy series is every 3 weeks, so that sounds about right if he got his first round right before coming home. There are several rounds of shots given because they're only effective after the immunity from his mother wears off. Vaccinations given prior to that won't do anything, but since it's impossible to predict exactly when that window is, a series of vaccinations are given up to around 16-20 weeks. Rabies is usually done between 4 and 6 months old.
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Old 06-30-2014, 04:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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After his 12 weeks shot I took him to my dad's house, we went out into the backyard my pup saw the pool and made a beeline for it and jumped right in he loves the water and I was surprised how well he swam, wears him out. After his Rabies and the rest of his combo shots at 16 weeks old he made his trip to our local 5 acre fenced off leash dog park. He's now 8.5 months old and loves playing with other dogs big and small at dog park. He can now run around for an hour before he poops out, never had an incident and shows absolutely zero aggression.
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I would wait to swim in public areas until all the shots are complete.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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1. If it's an area frequented by dogs, I would wait until the puppy has had his vaccines. If it's like a secret beach, it would probably be OK and I'd take my puppy. I'd try to stick to the kiddy pool at home, or going to a cottage or pool of someone that doesn't have dogs or has adult, healthy (vaccinated) dogs.

2. You can have the dog start practicing with an *empty* backpack but I would not start adding weights until at least a year and not add considerable weight until more like 2 years (I would think a cell phone/small camera, some poop bags, and treats would be fine for a 12-18month old).
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the replies! Right now i think we are going to keep him contained to the yard and limit his exposure to other dogs that are family/friends we know are vaccinated and well behaved. Will probably wait until he is 1yr old to get the backpack since he will grow so much and there is no urgency for it, i just wanted to start putting it on him empty early so he is used to having it on as it took him a while to get used to his collar (he still scratches at it a little bit).
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