Safe and unsafe sports - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-27-2012, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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Safe and unsafe sports

With GSD's suppossedly being more prone to bloat, which dog sports and activities are not recommened? Is frisbee throwing safe since a dog jumps and sometimes twists his body to get the frisbee. I know it's best for them to rest after a meal but otherwise, which is safe or not.

I have also read that jumping while the dog is still a pup is not recommended because of bone development. When is he/she old enough to jump over hurdles etc. Mine is very athletic, unlike my other two were, and can jump very high ( tryong to catch flying bugs and such). I know she'd enjoy some agility sports.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-27-2012, 11:05 PM
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Any sport designed for dogs is safe for your dog to participate in.

Do not let the fear of bloat prevent you from enjoying things with your dog. IF your dog does bloat, it will likely have nothing at all to do with whatever activity you decide to go with- frankly, I've always considered blaming too much exercise, or certain types of exercise, to be a major cop out to unfortunate genetics and a crappy diet. Don't do intense physical exercise for about 30mins after your dog eats, and move on with life as usual.

As for the joints, best to wait 12-18 months before starting anything that will involve jumps or an unusually high amount of running (flyball, ect). Too much stress on developing joints too frequently could possibly cause joint problems later on down the road.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-27-2012, 11:15 PM
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I own a Frisbee maniac. MANIAC. He watched me and his mother play Frisbee all the time and one day he decided he wanted in on the action, and never turned back.

Since he has shown his love for Frisbee, I have also learned how to throw it to minimize/eliminate jumping. Years ago I myself was a Frisbee fanatic, so I just had to brush up on some old skills. He is only 11 months old, so I am very careful to throw it as level as possible so he needn't jump for it. I don't even bother on windy days, when I know the wind may catch it and encourage him to jump for it.

He can catch any and every Frisbee thrown something close to well. It's freaky really. With more training, he might be able to give a border collie a run for its money... .. Nah, just kidding, probably not, but he's really insanely good.

I'm up against a rock and a hard place here because he loves it so, so, so much, but I know how hard it can be on them and the risks involved. I don't want to deny him something he loves so much - and is so good at - but I try to moderate it by not throwing as to encourage jumping.

Oh ETA - as far as the bloat risk, I am very careful about feeding around play times. We always exercise first, spend a solid hour or a bit more to calm down, then eat.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSDMUM View Post
Is frisbee throwing safe since a dog jumps and sometimes twists his body to get the frisbee.

.
Only if you don't mind paying for ACL surgery. Mine was not caused by twisting and jumping but by a sudden stop on a wet surface. And since she only displays symptoms after a bit of running, we've had to sit on our hands and wait since last September because it can't definitively be pinpointed to her knee.




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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 01:30 PM
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I'm still trying to figure out what I should or shouldn't do with Koshka. He LOVES to jump for things, like the flirt pole etc, but I worry about the stress on his joints. Even chasing the tennis ball in our yard makes me nervous because it can get muddy and slippery. But I don't want to deny him the chance to wear himself out having fun with it, and to start building him up so he can do the work he's expected to in a couple years. *sigh*

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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Only if you don't mind paying for ACL surgery. Mine was not caused by twisting and jumping but by a sudden stop on a wet surface. And since she only displays symptoms after a bit of running, we've had to sit on our hands and wait since last September because it can't definitively be pinpointed to her knee.
My Frisco had ACL surgery after chasing a rabbit up the hill. He already had DM and severe hip dysplasia but he has a great attitude and plays and plays.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 02:16 AM
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Technically, any sport can be dangerous.

Agility can be dangerous for many reasons. I've seen dogs do some horrid things when break-away tires aren't used. There's a possibility of falling off of the dog walk. There's a possibility of the dog jumping too soon and injuring their front paws or legs. That's why they have contact points, but sometimes accidents happen.

Flyball can be dangerous. At the U-FLI tournament we went to in January, there was a staffie that crossed over into our team's lane. Kya, our heeler was running and they had a bad crash. She hasn't been the same since. They had x-rays taken, and apparently she had mild hip displaysia, but the crash made it severe in her left hip. She hasn't been able to participate in training or exercise much at all lately. She was in so much pain one weekend, they were considering putting her down, if they couldn't ease her pain.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-29-2012, 05:45 AM
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GSD backs are typically longer and more prone to injury so I would not play frisbee - actually I throw the ball in a way that it is well on the ground before the dog gets to it and has to hunt for it because I don't want sudden stopping either. I am also not whipping him around on tug but pulling with steady traction.

Learned the hard way about throwing balls in the woods. Only in a clear area. About $1000 later and minus the whole top row of incisors from hitting a tree not to metion other damage he could have sustained.

Jumping is hard on joints. But so is life. I think the thing to do is enjoy the dog and be sensible. I have a ramp for my truck now but the dog will still be expected to work. Keep the dog in top shape/condition though. Weekend warriors more likely to get injured. Warm up / Cool down.

I usually rest 30 minutes or more before feeding and an hour or more after (usually 2) in the crate. If I know we are going to work that day I feed a small amount but not a full meal (I feed twice a day so meals are not that big anyway).

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-04-2012, 08:32 AM
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I personally don't like all the jumping, twisting, and bad landings watching GSDs play frisbee, but I've got a dog with a back problem (that was aggravated by jumping high for a ball and landing bad).

Many sports can be dangerous for a large dog like a GSD if not trained the proper technique.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 05:08 PM
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Different areas of dock diving may be options for those that like to jump but are worried about the impact on joints (assuming your dogs like the water).

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