How much exercise is too much? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-05-2012, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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How much exercise is too much?

Another thread in a different forum has me wondering. How much exercise is too much for a GSD? The reason I ask is couple of friends of mine would run their Golden Retriever 30-40 or more miles a week. They loved it, the dog loved, everyone was happy. At around 7 or 8 years old, the dog became crippled with major joint problems. The vet said the running caused the damage, which devastated my friends even more. What is a reasonable amount of running, at say between a 7 and 8 minute mile pace, depending on the length of the runs?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 02:43 PM
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My Grandmother passed away from lung cancer and she never smoked. My point is, I don't think you can just say, you run a lot, the dog has joint problems... must be the running. Especially just running. 5 miles at a human joggers pace is barely a trot for a dog. Lots of jumping, running down hills, etc... is a different story.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 03:39 PM
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It completely depends on the terrain, the age the dog was started, how the dog was conditioned and most importantly GENETICS!

A lot of people recommend only free play, with small walks for puppies, to keep the stress on their bodies down. As they age, you slowly build up endurance and types of activities(hiking, swimming, jumping, running, biking etc). Waiting until joints are fully formed before repetitive activities are practiced is also key, young dogs need diversity in their exercise routines, to break up repetitive stress on joints (swimming being one of the best!). But one of the biggest components is going to be genetics. Having dogs bred from dogs that have low incidents of joint issues/malformations, is the best way to reduce your dogs chances of having them.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 11:22 AM
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We have an 11 month old GSD. Her main type of exercise is ball retrieving and walks. I am concerned that we may be over doing it with the ball. We use a chuck it and throw the ball as far as we can, she will fun full out to get it and run back to us. She really loves it. We will throw the ball for about an hour interspersed with a few periods of a moderate walk. We have done this since she was about 5 months. Recently we have also taken her to a parking lot to throw the ball.(after hours- no cars not near any roads) when it is too muddy or icy to go to the park. She comes from a good line with no hip or joint problems, but now I am concerned that we could be causing joint damage. is offline  
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 01:25 PM
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As noted, it depends on what type of exercise, what intensity, and what terrain. One good way to resolve it with an active dog is swimming. It's pretty hard core cardio, but without the risk of joint and other types of damage...
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