When to start going the distance - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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When to start going the distance

When is it safe to walk a significant distance with your dog? Josh will be 18mo on 2/10/12 we walk 1-2 miles a day now. I'd like to work up in distance and maybe start hiking. He's tall and lanky now (27.5" roughly 80lb), did you have to increase your dogs food to prevent weight loss?

Judy
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 12:19 AM
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Yeah, go ahead and start increasing your walking distance and hiking. Yes, you'll probably need to increase food by 1/2 cup or so on the days you go far.

Check out Walnut Creek and Turkey Creek parks for offleash hiking in the Austin area. Turkey Creek is a 3 mile loop. Walnut Creek is a few hundred acres with trails cut all through it. I used to get lost there nearly every weekend. Literally lost. One day it took me 6 hours to find the car.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 12:22 AM
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Keep em thin! If he's okay with that weight keep him there, no need to fatten at all. Any weight you can keep off is that much kinder to the joints.

As to distance-
Gonna get a lot of conflicting info there. Ramp it up and keep an eye on him after a long walk, make sure he's not sore. His growth rate bone wise has really slowed at 18 months, it's mainly filling out muscle now so increasing the length of walks should be okay.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 12:42 AM
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Halo was going 3-1/2 to 4 miles several times a week on rolling hills at 7 months old. I think you can start dong more now!

I've never had to increase my dogs' food for increased activity, but I tend to adjust it frequently based on their condition anyway, so I wouldn't feed more simply because you're hiking a few more miles than usual this week, I'd do it when he starts feeling a little ribby.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 07:19 AM
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by the time my dog was 18 months i think
we were walking 5 miles (a nice slow 5 miles,
with stops/water breaks). at 18 months
i was feeding my dog 1 cup in the am and
1 cup in the pm. my dog weighs 88 lbs.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
Halo was going 3-1/2 to 4 miles several times a week on rolling hills at 7 months old. I think you can start dong more now!

I've never had to increase my dogs' food for increased activity, but I tend to adjust it frequently based on their condition anyway, so I wouldn't feed more simply because you're hiking a few more miles than usual this week, I'd do it when he starts feeling a little ribby.
Hm............. Couldn't have written that better myself!

This is my puppy by 12 or 13 WEEKS! Key is off leash and going at the pups speed.





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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 03:51 PM
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I think it is all about building up to a certain distance and pace. I have a 18 month GSD and we run 4-8 miles, twice or three times a week. On "rest" days we might not do anything or go on 2-3 mile walks. On weekends, we might do a 8-10 mile hike. We're very active.

Some might feel this is too much, but I know he enjoys it and he's very capable of doing it. It's about listening to his body, seeing if he's keeping pace and building up to it gradually. When we first started, he would lag and lay down when he was tired, even in the middle of the run. So I knew we had to walk or give him some time to relax. He never does that at this point. In addition, he doesn't get "growing pains." Some dogs have these up to 2 years or only up to 12 months, every dog is different. Once your past that stage, I feel that you can really start good physical training if you want to.

As far as food, I feed 5-6 cups a day of high cal kibble. 30% protein and 20% fat. Your dog may or may not need that, but my dog does. We are now moving toward RAW because it's just the same or cheaper for me because of the amount of kibble he goes through.

Good luck! Listen to your dogs body just like you would listen to your own!
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brembo View Post
Keep em thin! If he's okay with that weight keep him there, no need to fatten at all. Any weight you can keep off is that much kinder to the joints.

As to distance-
Gonna get a lot of conflicting info there. Ramp it up and keep an eye on him after a long walk, make sure he's not sore. His growth rate bone wise has really slowed at 18 months, it's mainly filling out muscle now so increasing the length of walks should be okay.
TOTALLY agree. Keep him THIN. Especially at that age. Some ribs showing is normal at 18 months. Better thin than fat.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 05:19 PM
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*Shrug* on the days we're going to be covering 4-6 miles I give my dogs a little extra food. You can still see the pup's ribs. I know *I* need more food on a day that I'm hiking 5 or 6 miles than on a day when I sit on my butt.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-20-2012, 07:06 PM
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A 2 mile walk was nothing for my puppy. Often, it just seemed like a light warm up. Gracie is nine months and she can do a five mile hike with swimming...and still have lots of energy left over.

I would not hesitate to bump up the mileage.

Gracie - GSD - May 3, 2011
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