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Discussion Starter #1
I tried searching for this but came up with way too many hits to wade through...

My puppy is 8 months old, and I have access to a sort of dilapidated set of agility obstacles - teeter trotter, some tunnels, a ramp that is flat in the middle, and a ring to jump through. And my pup does all of these pretty well, and she really seems to enjoy it.

My question is, she's very tall, and loves to jump while playing ball or just running, but she's not very vigorous going through the hoop, so I was thinking of building some practice jumps for her in my back yard to build her strength. But I'm not sure when she's old enough to work on jumping a little more seriously. Is 8 months old enough, or should jumping wait a bit longer?
 

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Her growth plates won't be closed until between 18 mths and 2 yrs old.She shouldn't be doing repetitive jumping or anything that really stresses her joints.Low to the ground and an easy pace,no fast twists and turns is a good rule of thumb.
 

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I wouldn't be jumping a dog that age. On walks, jumping over logs and what not on her own is one thing. Asking her to regularly and repetitively go over jumps isn't. Messing up a pup's joints not will affect them for the rest of their life. Hip dysplasia isn't all genetic. I error on the side of caution with a large slow growing breed like a GSD. Exposing her to various surfaces like the dog walk, teeter, and tunnels are okay and good for building confidence and body awareness, but don't over do.

If you are interested in teaching her to jump look into Susan Salo's Foundation Jumping DVD's. Very informative and will show you how to teach your dog to jump correctly.
 

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I think it is a personal choice you have to make, we have our pups doing all kinds of agility work at a young age.

Our Vet is one of the few in B.C. that can actually do proper x-rays for OFA and he has seen all of our videos, he
has no problem with what we are doing.

He does have a problem with Breeders that breed dogs with poor hip and elbow ratings.

Obviously you have to be cautious and not push you dog past its limits.

This is Ace as a pup, he is now 16 months old and pre-lim X-rays have been rated as excellent by the Vet.






This is his brother Dante







A well bred GSD can do a lot more than you think. Just my opinion for what's its worth.



Kim
 

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You can do a bit of introductory work in short sessions. Avoid long sessions and high amounts of repetition. At 8 months I wouldn't be jumping the dog over agility jumps higher than the height of its hocks. Around 10 months I start to go up, but still not above elbow height until past 12 months, probably longer for a bigger dog, and still keeping the sessions and sequences short. I think Chandra was 14 months before I moved her jumps up to 20", and she is 17 months now and it will still be a few more months before I take her up to her competition height of 24". And FWIW, I prefer Linda Mecklenburg's jumping foundations over most of Susan Salo's.

If in doubt, certainly find a qualified and experienced agility trainer to work with. They can guide you through age-appropriate training.
 

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Dante also does bite work training, scent detection and is preparing for his first obedience title. And hopefully some TV/Film work like the rest of his family.









A well bred GSD is not a China Doll


Ultimately, you will only get what you put into the work, again this is a Personal Choice that you have to make.

No one knows your dog as wells a you do, and only you know what your truly prepared to do.

Good Luck and have fun with your dog....Because it is Always About The Dog!


Kim
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you all for your comments and pointers. Here's the thing, at home I have a deck that spans the entire width of the house, and it's two tiered, with a set of two steps between the upper and lower sections. Since she was about 6 months old, a favorite game of hers, when she got the zoomies, was to race from one level to the other as I sat on the steps between levels, and she jumps over me, clearing me easily. Then she'll race around again and repeat several times. So she's literally jumping 3 feet in the air and leaving the ground for around 8-10 ft. She's never shown any discomfort or anything afterward, and it's a game that she devised, not I. So, as part of the obstacles I have access to, there is one tunnel that is only about 4 ft long, but it's maybe 2 1/2 or even 3 ft in diameter. She's been jumping over that for awhile now. First letting her body sort of just roll over it, not jumping hard enough to clear it. Lately she's been jumping higher and landing on all four feet on top of this barrel then sort of hoping off the other side. So she's already jumping way beyond what seems to be recommended...And again, she does this stuff for fun, not because I'm directing her to do it.

She is large though, 27.5" at the withers, and 75+ lbs, so I don't want to push her beyond her limits. But honestly, if I asked her to jump over stuff that was the height of her hocks, she'd get bored and wonder if I was crazy!

At any rate, I think I'll work on building muscle without focusing on jumps for now, as it seems that would be the safe route. This is a dog though, that I believe could easily clear a four foot jump currently...And probably will be jumping through much higher windows in the future?

Pirates Lair: loved the last video on your pup's reaction to 9mm gunfire. My pup is equally non-plussed. I had her out walking through crowds during the 4th of July at 6 months, and firecrackers and other fireworks didn't phase her at all?
 

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I deleted my entire response after reading that she's nearly 28" and close to 80lbs at only 8 months old. I'd be incredibly conservative with her. She's larger than many adult males.
 

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I deleted my entire response after reading that she's nearly 28" and close to 80lbs at only 8 months old. I'd be incredibly conservative with her. She's larger than many adult males.
Maybe...... She is just a full figured muscular Bitch!

It happens, maybe the OP can post a picture or video of her dog before anyone cast out judgement.

And that includes myself.




Kim
 

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OP - She is gorgeous! And by the looks, she is obviously in awesome shape!

Be careful, some people may tell you she is underweight.

Work that Bitch! And have fun doing it together as a Team.



Kim
 

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Do any others have a change of opinion after seeing her picture? Fodder in particular, because now I'm curious as to what you deleted?
 

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What a gorgeous girl, Tim. I love that she looks so athletic and yet so feminine too. Just perfect! Bet she'll have a lot of fun on the obstacles.
 

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You can do a lot of foundation work that doesn't repetitively bang the joints around.

Introduce wobble boards/teeters (they shouldn't be jumping sideways off of those anyway), directional cues, different types of footing, inflatable discs/peanuts. If you search for "rear end awareness" you will find a lot of videos and ideas. You can start training a two-on/two-off command, and then make games out of it.

I don't believe in bubble wrapping puppies, but I wouldn't do jump grids or actual bar jumps with a puppy. JMHO.
 

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Do any others have a change of opinion after seeing her picture? Fodder in particular, because now I'm curious as to what you deleted?
What I said earlier about the growth plates in a dog's joints wasn't an opinion it was a fact.Any sort of repetitive high impact activity often results in damage to muscles, ligaments,and the joints themselves.Kim has lots of great videos of things to do with puppies and young dogs.Lots of fun and low impact agility foundation and conditioning.Of course our breed are not 'china dolls' that should never run,climb,and jump:)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I certainly wasn't questioning any part of your comment on growth plates Terri, and thank you for pointing that out, I wasn't sure of the age! She's so big I sometimes forget how young she is still...

And I have intentionally kept Nyx on the lean side just for that reason. She is so athletic, I have been worried she'd hurt herself!

But she runs miles daily, and is in really good physical shape. Hence the question about jumping.

My comment regarding people's opinion was more directed at what seemed like an abrupt change in perspective when I mentioned how big she's getting. She is definitely over standard. But she, at least in MHO, is more lean and muscular than many other dogs out there.

Still, I was definitely asking for advice, and I appreciate everyone who took time to share their thoughts with me. For the next several months we'll just keep up the strengthening, balance, and spatial awareness stuff.
 
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