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i have looked online, and haven't beeen able to find an answer for my question: my GSD puppy, Rico is 10 1/2months old. i love to run, and have been taking him with me most nights, we did 5 1/2 miles last night. is this too much for him at his age? i am a first time gsd owner, and if it is too much, when is it okay for me to do distance running with him?
 

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i wouldn't run 5.5 miles with my 10&1/2 month pup. my dog
was 2 yrs old when we reached 5 miles walking. i don't have
any scientific data stating you shouldn't run 5.5 miles with
a 10&1/2 month old pup but i'm thinking let the body develope.
i'm impressed with you being able to run 5.5 miles. if i have to
drive 5.5 miles i have to stop and go to the bathroom and get a bottle
of spring water and maybe a snack.
 

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From what I've heard from vets, that is too much at this age, especially if you're running on pavement. My vet is also a chiropractor and she recommends waiting until the growth plates at the ends of the bones have grown closed before putting that much stress on them. Hopefully some one else will read this and give you a more specific answer.
 

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It depends where you run. Road or trail. If road running that's too far until his growth plates close around 15-18 months. The most I would do on the road is 2-3.

If you trail run, and the ground is fairly soft you may be okay. I still thinks its a bit far for that age. If you hiked that far, it's fine, but the dog is able to go his own pace. It's the consistent pace and pounding that I worry about.

I would probably wait until 15 months.


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I have no experience as my pup is only 3 mo. But everything I've read about forced exercise is to wait until 1.5-2 yrs. so their growth plates shrink. Again still only my research but 'they' say hip displasia primarily comes from over working at a young age.
 

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Due to the threat of hip dysplasia, it really is not recommended that you run a pup until he is at least 12 months (preferably 18 months). I know it stinks because you want to enjoy your pup and include him in your regular routine but until he's old enough long walks are better for him. I think the real problem is that they have to run at a certain gait to maintain your speed and it might not be their natural gait... On the other hand 5.5 mi is a bit long for a puppy.
 

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Have they traditionally limited exercise in pups over in Europe?
I don't have an exact answer for that question but I don't think its about limiting the natural motivations of a puppy to exercise and play but to limit the forced exercises that a handler entices after the puppy would have otherwise stopped.

Think of it as if your dog has a high food drive and you just continually lure him to chase and get the reward. The food lure supersedes the dog wanting to rest, which is good to maintain focus in training, but can backfire if you push the pup too much physically.

Full disclosure: Take all that with a grain of salt, as I said earlier I have a new pup and have no firsthand experience to training, just a lot of reading.
 

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I started running with my male GSD around that age, but we were on a dirt road and I let him be off leash for part of it. If you are running on pavement, it might be hard on your puppy. The maximum we did when he was that old was just a couple miles. By the time he was two years old we had worked up to 8 miles. He is four years old now and can do 12 or 13 miles, and probably more but I don't want to push him.

You didn't mention your pace. If you are doing a slow jog, that of course is going to be easier on your dog.

If you are concerned about putting too many miles on your dog, like I am, you can always do part of your run alone, and then swing back by your house and grab your dog for the second half of your run. This is how my husband and I (who is also a runner) deal with running with Niko. I run in the morning, do the first five miles with Niko and then bring him home and go back out for another nine miles.

My husband runs in the afternoon, and since it is warmer then he will do his five or six mile run, then come back for Niko and do a two mile easy cool down run. So Niko might do seven miles a day, but his run is split up which makes it a lot easier on him.
 

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I think it depends on the dog. Like people, some have the structure and aerobic capacity to handle the distance, some don't. Personally, I have never found a GSD that 'liked' distance and am a little jealous of those who have. It is possible that mine could have gone farther but I never felt it was in their best interests to push them beyond a few miles. When the tongue starts flapping in the breeze is my indication that they are in oxygen debt. JMHO
 

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http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/development-socialization/111084-proper-exercise-puppies.html <-- click that for some great info.

The distance would be no problem for my GSD's at that age. But I only do off leash runs for the first year or so AND not on pavement. That way I avoid the high impact/repetitive activities that we are supposed to avoid.

Off leash means my dogs run/walk/trot/sit/run........... at their own pace. In the woods means the surface is much more forgiving than on pavement.
 
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