My Pup's Story and A Warning About Forced Exercise
I'm new here, so I'm not sure where to post this. I hope I'm in the right place.
I've seen some people asking about jogging with their puppies, so I thought I would post our guy's story.
I found him on Craigslist. One of those ads that makes you concerned for the fate of the dog. Those we-have-to-get-rid-of-him-as-soon-as-possible ads. I wasn't particularly looking to get another dog. We had suddenly lost a wonderful 3 year old female to cancer a few months before and I wasn't sure I wanted another dog. But I wasn't happy about this ad, so I pursued it. My husband and I met one of the owners at a gas station that was about half way between our homes and we bought the dog, who was 6 months old at that time.
He's long-haired and we didn't realize how thin he was until we got him home. We also didn't realize he was totally nuts about water, and that he was lame, until we got home with him.
I tracked down the breeder, who was livid at the situation, and found that he is very well bred, his mother being imported pregnant from Europe. I wanted to know if any of his issues might have been genetic, since our vet had diagnosed him with diabetes insipidus, which turned out to be incorrect. His issues, however, were all man-made.
We learned that this little guy was owned by a couple who were totally clueless about this pup, and who didn't seek the help they needed. They never increased the amount they were feeding him from the time they got him at 9 weeks. They also didn't know how to housebreak him, so they severely limited his water intake. To add more insult to that, they jogged him 2 miles a day.
After getting his diet and water issues straightened out, and watching him continue to limp, we finally found a vet who specializes in lameness in dogs. We found out that his joints had survived the exercise program, thank goodness, but his tendons hadn't. He has serious soft tissue damage to one shoulder and less soft tissue damage to both elbows. That shoulder is noticeably smaller than the other, with very little muscular development. He's been protecting it for most of his life. The only treatment is rest, and it's very challenging to keep a young dog quiet, as you can imagine.
He just turned one year old and he's still limping with most every step. There has been some slight improvement, and we are holding out hope that he will eventually get over this, but it will take months more.
He is a wonderfully happy dog, except when we have to restrain him from playing with the other dogs. It's heartbreaking, and we feel he is being deprived of his entire puppyhood. Hopefully, he will get through this and can some day run and jump with the others.
I wanted to post this to let others know that it's not a good idea to force your puppy to exercise. There is a chance that the nutritional condition he was in at the time contributed to the damage this puppy is dealing with, but I would not take the chance of jogging with any young dog. It's just not worth the risk.
Thanks for reading this saga, and please wish us luck with this much too long confinement for an incredibly forgiving puppy.