Can dogs born with hip dysplasia practice agility? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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Can dogs born with hip dysplasia practice agility?

My dog Leonidas is about 20 months old now and was x-rayed and told he has a dislocated hip when he was just a pup. You would really barely be able to tell that he has any issues besides a thundering bunny hop sometimes when he runs hard and the way he sometimes sits on his side with his leg sticking in the air. Whenever he plays at the park he's the first dog to start jumping in the air with other dogs. I do think sometimes his hip gets sore but he just loves running and jumping around so much that it doesn't bother him.

My problem is that he is a really energetic dog. I'm always trying to find new ways to exercise him. I generally take him swimming in the creek every day to keep him strong in a low impact environment, but now its too cold for that. There's an obedience school around me that's offering a beginner's dog agility course and its something I've always wanted to do and I think Leo would excel at it but I don't want to put too much strain on his joints as he ages.

Basically I'm wondering if training him in agility would be a bad idea. He's the type of dog that really tries to push himself past his limits when running around and training to try to please me which kind of scares me. I don't really need to be competitive with him, mostly looking for another place to take him to burn off energy and another thing to add some discipline to his life. If you don't think agility would be a good fit, is there anything else you can recommend?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 10:33 AM
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I would talk to your vet or your orthopedic vet and ask them what the best exercise would be. They have his x rays, etc., and should be able to give you the best guidance for him.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 11:06 AM
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Your dog probably does most of what agility has to offer in his usual more natural setting at the park.What would worry me is the repetitive running and jumping on a cement floor,mats or not.
Ideally if you could round up a couple of friends and their dogs and do "urban agility" or "suburban".Train on softer surfaces in parks,woods,your yards.Happy dogs and less stress on the joints.Something for you to consider anyway
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 11:34 AM
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Are you sure it's dislocated? I had a dog with a dislocated hip and it was so painful he went into shock. His leg was so twisted that I didn't even see it at first.

I agree with the others and talk to your vet to see what the dog can or can't do.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 12:02 PM
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If you want to do agility for fun (not for precision/competition), it could be a wonderful and fun thing to do with your dog.

There's no reason you couldn't lower the jumps or skip the jumps/tire entirely, just run the obstacles that are safe and fun for your dog. There are a lot of foundation agility items - balance disks, body awareness exercises, walking through ladders laid flat on the ground - that a good instructor will teach you how to use, and they aren't harsh impact.

Maybe, call or reach out to the instructor and ask if s/he has any thoughts or reservations. Instructors I've learned from who teach puppy foundation have always been full of low/no impact alternative ideas. Good luck!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know what the exact term the vet used, but she showed me the xrays and the ball socket didn't line up with the femur quite right. I'm sure there's different severity levels of hip dysplasia and hopefully his is just not very severe (but I'm afraid it will get worse with age). The vet told me to keep him skinny and to put him on a salmon oil and glucosamine supplement daily and it shouldn't be much of an issue until later in his life. She didn't really mention anything about exercise that I can recall. His hip hasn't really been much of an issue holding him back from being a puppy so it doesn't really come up much in vet visits.

I'd love to train him on my own to do things like agility in my backyard on a softer surface but I'm afraid I'm just not great at training dogs complex things without guidance from a professional. I try but sometimes I get frustrated and I don't understand how to adapt to a situation like a certified trainer would and then I give up sometimes. It's just a better idea for me to have someone that knows what they're doing help translate the dogs cues for me. Unfortunately I don't have any friends with dogs who practice agility or I would definitely get in touch with them.

I'm thinking it might not be a great idea and I'd be doing it more because I've always personally wanted to get into agility rather than it being good for him. Maybe I'll do a nosework class instead.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 01:03 PM
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I think nosework would be a lot of fun for both of you.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 04:29 PM
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Nose work and tracking are excellent ideas!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-26-2016, 04:41 PM
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I 3rd the tracking and nose work... These skills take an enormous amount of energy and ultimately focus (which is natural for the dog when sniffing a particular odor that they want) and is low impact on the body... My dogs are 2.5yrs and certified SAR trailing dogs.. They are in excellent shape, but I could take them on a 5mile hike with them loose and running playing (so that they end up doing 8miles, lol) and they aren't as tired and satisfied as after doing a mile to mile and half aged trail... Even hot trails can take the edge off on a hyper day..

Tracking /trailing is an unbelievably bonding experience with your dog and is addictive... Nose work (I'm not overly familiar with all the oils used for competitive nose work) is great too... My dogs 'nose work' is for human remains, but even so, the concept is the same and they love it.. It doesn't take as much out of them as trailing, but you learn to read your dog better faster, imho...
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