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Discussion Starter #1
This might seem like a dumb question. And always before, I would have thought the answer was: "As much as he wants..." But I am seeing so much online these days about how too much exercise at a young age might be linked to Hip dysplasia later -- it has me confused.

Our 14 week old pup is a pretty high drive little guy. Most of the time he is great, but every now and then, it's like he takes a drink of "Demon Juice" and just goes bonkers... usually in the early evening. He can be pretty bite aggressive during these times, and doesn't seem to "hear" commands (that he normally obeys just fine.) He can sit, platz, and "shake". Normally he is happy to do these on cue. But not when the "I must attack ankles" switch gets flipped.

It SEEMS to me that he just isn't worn out enough, because earlier in the day, after his walk for example, he is a really calm and sweet thing. But we don't want to over-exercise him now for fear it could cause him problems later.

We read that he can only have a walk equal to five minutes for each month old he is -- which means we are trying to limit him to 15 minute walks... and that seems like a pathetically small amount for him.

We take him outside to play, but there is only so much running we can get him to do. He sort of chases a ball, but not enough to wear him out. He LOVES being chased -- that would work... but we were told by a trainer to NEVER play chase games with him because it will make it harder to teach him to come on command later... that's a shame, because we could wear him out with that.

He plays tug -- but not enough to (again) get him exhausted.

So... how much walking/exercise can he get at this age? And how do you all tire your little monsters out?
 

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You've been given a lot of very bad advice. Exercise will not cause hip dysplasia.

You can exercise as much as you want so long as you don't push your pup to do more than he's readily able to do. Be sure to keep an eye on your pup and slow down if you see he's breathing hard, seems hot, or is breathing hard. Be very aware of the temperature and always check the temp of the surface you are walking on because if you can't walk on it barefoot, he can't either. His feet burn as easily as yours.

Tuggie is a great game and feel free to throw his ball over and over. I agree that chasing him is a bad idea, but him chasing a ball is a good one.

Exercise is a good thing, both for the short and long term, and it promotes good muscle and bone development. Puppies are all different and require different amounts of exercise. Some are good with a walk around the block and others, like mine, can't get enough.
 

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I couldn't imagine only 15 minute walks, I keep a close eye on Gaia and adjust exercise based on how she's feeling (too hot, tired, etc). We walk/slow jog an hour every morning and close to 2 hours at night. The night walk in more of a "let's explore the woods" type deal..mix in some fetch, tug, flirt pole as I like to give her some off leash time outside everyday. Sometimes this still isnt enough for her but the ankle biting attacks are less, I also have a great group of people that I meet up with at the dog park 2-3x a week.
 

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@Elaine: Thanks for the reply. Well, I had never worried about it before, but I am a one-dog-at-a-time guy, and it has been a decade since I went through the pup thing... Leerburg mentioned that he has had a couple of litter where only one pup developed Hip Dysplaisia -- and that it was always the dog owned by a runner, who had his dog out running with him. (There were other places I read about the "too much exercise" thing, but Leerburg is the only one I remember exactly...) To be honest, he may have been talking more about forced runs over long distances... but it made me nervous.

It is a real struggle to deal with my pup when he gets wired, but I would rather do that now than see him suffer with hip problems later. Still good to know that you have never had any issues with it. My instincts tell me that he is good to go for a lot longer.

@gaia_bear: Is Gaia the dog shown in your avatar... because is it is, that is a much older dog than I am talking about. Everyone says that you are good to go with them after they reach a year old... it's just puppydom people are cautioning about.
 

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By that age, my dog goes on about 1.5 hrs daily outings that includes chasing sticks, off leash runs, obedience. On weekends, she may get twice of those in a day. At home, we tug and fetch and play with the other dog. The reason it's limited to 1.5 hrs is because I get tired. She can do more.
 

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Let him play and run. No forced marches though. Also, since you are concerned about hip dysplasia (which every GSD owner should be concerned about) give him raw chicken bones with lots of cartilage from a young age.
 

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MarkJoel60;2568745Leerburg mentioned that he has had a couple of litter where only one pup developed Hip Dysplaisia -- and that it was always the dog owned by a runner said:
Just a heads up, take anything you see on Leerburg with a grain of salt, like you would anywhere else. A lot of what you see on there, especially from Leerburg himself, is very old school, even though he tries to update some of his training. That's why most of the training videos are done by Micheal Ellis.

I was running my dogs a slow 3 miles a day by the time they were 6 months and that wasn't including the 1.5 mile walk when I got home from work, the chuckit time, and all the training time I put in them. It all depends on the dog how much they need and the common sense you use when exercising so you don't push them.

To this day, I can't exercise my dogs fast enough or far enough to make them happy or to wear them out. I look at it as taking their edge off.
 

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My vet who specializes in large breed dog says HD is from genetics not exercise. Be careful of what you read on the net. Everyone has an opinion and that's all it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK... thanks everyone for the responses. (@MaggieRoseLee, no I hadn't see that thread, but it made for interesting reading...)

Follow-up Question: How do you get your pup to run? I guess everything is great if I have 2 hours to walk through the woods and let him be a wide rover... but if I only have an hour or so, and I want to let him get good and worn out... What games do you play with your GSD pups to get them really going?

This one has all kinds of drive... but he is only so-so interested in chasing a ball at this point. A toy on a string, where I make it leap like a rabbit gets him excited... but that seems like a very small area that he runs around in...

What do you do? And is there any step by step procedure to get him chasing a ball? Because when I throw a ball now, he sort of looks at me like: "Look what you did... you going to run after that now...?"
 

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My dog learned to fetch / chase sticks before all the man-made toys. She likes to pick stuff on the ground already so chasing a stick from the ground that I find on our walks just made it double good. Couple rounds of chasing the sticks I throw tires her out well while I don't have to move too much. I hold couple sticks at a time so I can keep her running for a while. Sometimes I do this on an incline, to make her run up, although I felt she didn't notice there's an incline by the way she runs.
 

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You can always learn to start jogging. Your pup won't go very fast or very far at this age, but it's a start and you can get more exercise in in a shorter period of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We're finding that a combination of things are working... I put the toy on a longer lead, and I can really get him chasing it... in fact, I have to be careful because I think I could run him too much with that silly toy.

I almost feel like a falconer! But it is fun watching him go after it. It's an art to let it "run" along the ground, and the "leap" forward just as he gets close... Of course, if he misses too much, I eventually let him win... but He actually has gotten really good at a burst at the end to get it before it leaps.

Kind of fun!

We've also learned that his biting our ankles when we are out and walking with him is usually a sign that he is either tired and wants a break or (if he starts biting when we get close to home) that he thinks the walk was too short and he wants more.

We don't give in to the the "Hey, lets walk some more" because we don't want him to think that he's calling the shots. But we will remember that and try to get him out on something else later. But we always stop when he is telling us he needs a breather.

Smart pup... too smart sometimes... but over all, pretty darn smart...
 

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yeah I was wondering how long I should be playing with an 8 week old for ? She plays beyond when shes tired and doesn't show it until I pick her up then she yawns. Some days she doesn't want to play as much and other days she wants a marathon. Ever since she found my cats toys she plays so long I get concerned. It's this little mouse with a very long tail she goes for hours running with it in her mouth. She has her own toys but likes my cats toys more. I constently watch over her but like i said she doesn't show herself being tired and shes my first puppy I've ever had and i want to do the best for her. I dont want her to over do it. Is there a general amount of time she should play in one day ?
 

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Next time you should start your own thread rather than hijack someone elses because you will get more responses to it.

No, there's no time limit for playing as it varies widely from dog to dog. You have to learn to watch your pup for signs that she's getting tired and back off at that point.
 
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