Proper Exercise for puppies - Page 4 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #31 of 109 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 10:26 AM
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My pup now 19 weeks loves the flirt pole and chasing his tug. We go into the back yard and he runs up to it right away. He'll play with it for a long time but I worry he's gonna hurt himself because he'll tackle it sometimes and even rolls over sometimes after diving after it.

I try to not overwork him but he doesn't ever seem to want to quit. After he catches it he'll chew on it but if I move it he's right back on it again. I've been making him take breaks every couple of rounds we go. If he doesn't get worn out he'll pace the house and I have to end up putting him in his kennel so he'll chill out.

Is the flirt pole too intense for a pup?
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post #32 of 109 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 11:10 AM
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My trainer specifically doesn't want me to train her to do anything until our classes get started. That won't be for another week though due to the July 4th holidays. That's kind of irritating actually because she is very eager to learn, and the couple of small things he had me work on with her are not very challenging to learn at all. She is going to start on basic obedience work and then once she masters that and is old enough she is going to start training in French Ring.

I am taking her everywhere and socializing her. Stores, walks around the neighborhood, pretty much everything you've mentioned. She's been socialized with everything from baby ducks to black bears and coyote and turtles and squirrels.

Also another thing I did with her when I first got her was taught her to do some stairs. My friend lives in a condo 3 floors up and she did those steps a bunch of times. She's actually quite confident and good at stairs now, though since I've learned better she doesn't get to do them unless necessary.

She gets a lot of off leash play in a field by my house, but I don't have a backyard yet and generally for her to get any real exercise I need to walk her around the block a few times.

I've been very busy until recently and have just now had the time to really start doing research on these forums. I posted in this thread because I read so much about what's good and not good for puppies to do.

What about those people who would say exercising them young is not a problem?

Thanks for your detailed reply! I have definitely started taking it a lot easier on her recently.

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Originally Posted by Dolus View Post
Making her use her brain is much more effective at making her tired than making her use her body. First of all, you shouldn't "exercise" a puppy that age at all - off leash runs are fine as long as you monitor her body language - i.e. don't force her to continue when she sits/lies down etc.

As for making her tired, until she's 16 weeks, socialization will take a lot of her energy. Bring her to all sorts of places and just hang around and let her take in the surroundings. Fields, the city, parks, crowded areas, trains, busses, the subway, introduce her to lots of people and other animals (horses, cats, cows, whatever) - but don't push her, always allow her to take in the impressions in HER pace and make sure she only gets positive experiences with places, peoples and animals.

After the socialization-phase, you can do all sorts of exercises to tire her. Off-leash walks is good - use the time to train recall and contact exercises. Make her use her nose and start doing some tracking foundation work. Make her use her brain with puzzle toys and feeding her in the yard (spread some kibble in your backyard and let her search for it).

All this info is also available on these forums - just do a search on the term "puppy energy" or something like that :-)

Good lucky with your puppy and don't be too hard on her :-)
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post #33 of 109 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 12:16 PM
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This is the first time I have ever heard about the stair issue. I carried Mia down until she was about 14 weeks...she was afraid. I think some of her high reactive response to other dogs is not taking her for walks until 4 months when her shots were done.
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post #34 of 109 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 12:25 PM
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I got my GSD when he was 11 weeks old and he conquered the stairs by the time he was 12 weeks old (though he moved down them rather slow, he didn't need any help) and I had alot of stairs. As for a workout, my big yard was a workout for that little bugger, he ran and chased toys and I had other puppies (they had their shots) and other dogs come over and play with him. I started taking him for 1 mile walks when he was a little over 4 months old.

Lauren

Sinister ~ black male GSD 3.11.09
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post #35 of 109 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 02:42 PM
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My pup turns 10 today and has conquered stairs and has no problem with a 1 mile walk as long as it isn't too hot.

I am mostly just wondering if she is at risk for any permanent joint damage. In my own mind I don't think some hard exercise for a few days spread over a couple of weeks will be a problem (despite her young age), but I don't really know much about large breed joint health.

I really wish she had some puppies her age and size to play with.
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post #36 of 109 (permalink) Old 07-05-2010, 04:36 PM
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That's great :-) Remember to take her through the experience several times and not just once. Also, it's a great opportunity to train focus behavior with distractions (if you prefer to wait until you're trainer has given his/her ok, there's plenty of time).

It's a shame you don't have a backyard - it really makes a big difference. We just moved to a house with a huge back yard from an apartment in the suburbs and our current dog (Sheltie) who is a little bunch of uncontrollable energy transformed into a completely different dog after we moved. It made a huge difference in several aspects of her life, but most importantly she's much more calm now that she get's to go nuts in the yard whenever she pleases. I think it's made a big difference, so that may be part of the reason your dog has a lot of energy.

Of course there are ways to compensate, but it's tricky because you can't exercise her, so you're limited to open areas where she can run free and if it's not a yard, you have to be there all the time. Perhaps you can find some other puppies / young dogs in the area and go meet them on a daily or semi-daily basis? Playing with other dogs is great for both socializing and burning energy :-)

As for people saying exercise is fine when they're young, they're probably talking about off-leash exercise. If you exercise them too much while they're still growing, you're risking permanent damage. Still I feel fairly sure that leashed walks is ok as long as the dog doesn't show any signs of discomfort (such as stopping and sitting) or tiredness, but low impact is much preferred. On leash or off leash, just always be very aware of their body language - if you can interpret that, you should be fine.

Most "rules" are just guidelines - for instance, small breeds tend to mature faster than large breeds and as a result can also be exercised more at an early age. Small breeds also tend to show less signals of tiredness, so ironically you have to be a bit more aware of them. But it all depends on the breed and on your specific dog.

And a last comment on the energy issues. Nosework is really good. Even if your teacher prefer you not doing stuff like that, preliminary stuff is great also. Having her search for hidden treats, feeding her on the grass, putting some treats in the bark on the trunk of a fallen tree is all good. Good dog toys also work - make a small hole in a tennis ball and put treats in it, use a kong with some cream cheese and some kibble in. Buster toys are also great :-)

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Originally Posted by Superhero View Post
I am taking her everywhere and socializing her. Stores, walks around the neighborhood, pretty much everything you've mentioned. She's been socialized with everything from baby ducks to black bears and coyote and turtles and squirrels.

She gets a lot of off leash play in a field by my house, but I don't have a backyard yet and generally for her to get any real exercise I need to walk her around the block a few times.

I've been very busy until recently and have just now had the time to really start doing research on these forums. I posted in this thread because I read so much about what's good and not good for puppies to do.

What about those people who would say exercising them young is not a problem?

Thanks for your detailed reply! I have definitely started taking it a lot easier on her recently.

Kind regards,
Dolus


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post #37 of 109 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 03:06 PM
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She was good with fireworks over the weekend.

I think the trainer has a specific way he intends to train focus so I'm going to wait until then to do so. Her natural focus is quite good to start with. Good enough the trainer asked if I had worked with her on it before the last session (I haven't).

I take her out to the field often. It's not really a field, actually. It's about an acre of grass in the middle of my wife's law school. I let her run there as much as she wants, usually in the evenings so she doesn't bug any of the students who are trying to study. We'll have a backyard in a few weeks. Our new house is almost ready to move into.

I've tried finding other puppies for her to play with - no luck so far. My friend has a dachsund/beagle mix that she likes to play with. He was a bit rough with her when she was younger but she's big enough now he can't really pick on her anymore.

I've been tossing her food into the grass to let her sniff it out. I've also been "charging" her marker word the last few days as well. I've got a Kong toy stuffed with some treats she likes but she lost interest in it. Next week I am going to pick up a buster cube thingie for her as well.

What kind of permanent damage are we talking about as far as exercising goes? Regarding stairs: she still has to use them daily, but it's only about 8 steps, and half the time when she doesn't wanna go down them herself I carry her. I don't take her to my friend's house with 3 stories worth of stairs anymore. If I do I'll carry her up and down, but those are the same flights she did several times when we first got her. Obviously, I probably pushed her a bit much for the first couple of weeks I had her; do you think I should be concerned about her joints and have them x-ray'd or something?


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolus View Post
That's great :-) Remember to take her through the experience several times and not just once. Also, it's a great opportunity to train focus behavior with distractions (if you prefer to wait until you're trainer has given his/her ok, there's plenty of time).

It's a shame you don't have a backyard - it really makes a big difference. We just moved to a house with a huge back yard from an apartment in the suburbs and our current dog (Sheltie) who is a little bunch of uncontrollable energy transformed into a completely different dog after we moved. It made a huge difference in several aspects of her life, but most importantly she's much more calm now that she get's to go nuts in the yard whenever she pleases. I think it's made a big difference, so that may be part of the reason your dog has a lot of energy.

Of course there are ways to compensate, but it's tricky because you can't exercise her, so you're limited to open areas where she can run free and if it's not a yard, you have to be there all the time. Perhaps you can find some other puppies / young dogs in the area and go meet them on a daily or semi-daily basis? Playing with other dogs is great for both socializing and burning energy :-)

As for people saying exercise is fine when they're young, they're probably talking about off-leash exercise. If you exercise them too much while they're still growing, you're risking permanent damage. Still I feel fairly sure that leashed walks is ok as long as the dog doesn't show any signs of discomfort (such as stopping and sitting) or tiredness, but low impact is much preferred. On leash or off leash, just always be very aware of their body language - if you can interpret that, you should be fine.

Most "rules" are just guidelines - for instance, small breeds tend to mature faster than large breeds and as a result can also be exercised more at an early age. Small breeds also tend to show less signals of tiredness, so ironically you have to be a bit more aware of them. But it all depends on the breed and on your specific dog.

And a last comment on the energy issues. Nosework is really good. Even if your teacher prefer you not doing stuff like that, preliminary stuff is great also. Having her search for hidden treats, feeding her on the grass, putting some treats in the bark on the trunk of a fallen tree is all good. Good dog toys also work - make a small hole in a tennis ball and put treats in it, use a kong with some cream cheese and some kibble in. Buster toys are also great :-)

Last edited by Superhero; 07-06-2010 at 03:08 PM.
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post #38 of 109 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhero View Post
I take her out to the field often. It's not really a field, actually. It's about an acre of grass in the middle of my wife's law school. I let her run there as much as she wants, usually in the evenings so she doesn't bug any of the students who are trying to study. We'll have a backyard in a few weeks. Our new house is almost ready to move into.
No problem then - trust me, you'll appreciate that! :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhero View Post
I've tried finding other puppies for her to play with - no luck so far. My friend has a dachsund/beagle mix that she likes to play with. He was a bit rough with her when she was younger but she's big enough now he can't really pick on her anymore.
I guess that stuff is region specific, but try googling puppy play classes in your area. You may want to try area-specific web forums also. Alternately you can also stalk popular dog-walk areas - parks etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhero View Post
I've been tossing her food into the grass to let her sniff it out. I've also been "charging" her marker word the last few days as well. I've got a Kong toy stuffed with some treats she likes but she lost interest in it. Next week I am going to pick up a buster cube thingie for her as well.
Charging marker words sounds like Ellis/Leerburg stuff :-) I really like Ellis system (I'm not really into aversives, but apart from that I think Ellis is really great). Is your trainer using his system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhero View Post
What kind of permanent damage are we talking about as far as exercising goes? Regarding stairs: she still has to use them daily, but it's only about 8 steps, and half the time when she doesn't wanna go down them herself I carry her. I don't take her to my friend's house with 3 stories worth of stairs anymore. If I do I'll carry her up and down, but those are the same flights she did several times when we first got her. Obviously, I probably pushed her a bit much for the first couple of weeks I had her; do you think I should be concerned about her joints and have them x-ray'd or something?
To be honest, I'm not sure. It's something about growth plates and the way joints develop, but if you want a more professional answer, you'll have to talk to a vet - that goes for the x-ray stuff as well (although I'm pretty sure x-rays aren't needed). A lot of people over-exercise their dogs and they go on to work out just fine - AFAIK it simply increases the likelihood of damage, it's not a sure thing by any means. Unless you've noticed any irregularities with her, I wouldn't be too concerned (but again, consult a vet if in doubt) :-)

Kind regards,
Dolus


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post #39 of 109 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhero
What kind of permanent damage are we talking about as far as exercising goes? Regarding stairs: she still has to use them daily, but it's only about 8 steps, and half the time when she doesn't wanna go down them herself I carry her. I don't take her to my friend's house with 3 stories worth of stairs anymore. If I do I'll carry her up and down, but those are the same flights she did several times when we first got her. Obviously, I probably pushed her a bit much for the first couple of weeks I had her; do you think I should be concerned about her joints and have them x-ray'd or something?
ARE YOU KIDDING? You are carrying her?

If our 'working' breed can't do 8 steps then there is seriously something wrong with our breed. You don't need x-rays to know a NORMAL puppy should handle this. It's a great lesson in their learning body awareness and coordination. Which learning you are STUNTING by not letting them work it out and use their brains to figure it out.

We do NOT want repetitive exercise (jogging on pavement) or jarring exercise (jumping on and off the bed 100 times a day). But NORMAL is what happens in our day...

This is my 'normal' puppy and what is NORMAL exercise (off leash is best):





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Last edited by MaggieRoseLee; 07-07-2010 at 05:54 PM.
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post #40 of 109 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 06:00 PM
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Oh, and also, what she'll do when left to herself (so to speak) is a good indication of her limits - off leash walks can work as an indicator of what her comfort level is :-)

Kind regards,
Dolus


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