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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ever since I got my first dog, I've been running them on sidewalks and in streets. Most of the dog owners I know who are also athletic and run their dogs, run them on sidewalks and streets. It wasn't until I joined a sled dog club in Oregon that I was severely warned to NOT run dogs on pavement. They were very nice people, but they seemed to be extremists about not running dogs on pavement or in weather warmer than 50 degrees F. I'd say they were almost paranoid.

Anyways, I've been a runner/soccer player for 35 years (I turn 40 soon), and I've always run (and still run) on pavement for training. I've never had leg or joint problems, even while using this new barefoot technology (Vibrams) that's been popular the last few years. I know my huskies are very swift and light on their feet, and have cushioned paw pads similar to running shoe soles, and their paws are certainly a lot more padded than my Vibrams. I waited until my dogs were old enough to handle longer distances, and we've been running/exercising ever since with no problems, averaging 5-10 miles a day, 6 days a week.

I've been meaning to post on this forum because there are dog owners who know a lot more about dogs, and have owned dogs 2x, 3x, even 5x longer than I have. I'd like to hear from them and anyone who has proof that running dogs on pavement is bad for them and will affect them later in life. This batch of dogs is my first, so I haven't owned a dog who was 10, 12, or 14 years old. Right now Nara and Paw Paw are the oldest at 7, and they can still run as far and fast as they did when they were younger (ok, well maybe not as fast, but definitely as far, if not farther!).

The last thing I want is for these dogs to suddenly develop leg/muscle/joint/bone problems due to all of the pavement running they did earlier in life. I keep them fit and lean and muscular, and would prefer to run them on dirt, sand or grass trails if I could, but there aren't any near me that are as optimal as street running when it comes to distance and (lack of) distractions. I can go right outside my house and start and finish from the same point, doing 6 miles in 40 minutes. To get to non-paved trails, we would have to drive long distances (3 hours total trip) which would make it impractical to do daily or even weekly. It would take too much time and cost too much in gas. These dogs love to run and pull, all of them, to include my 2 GSDs.

I guess what I'm asking/saying is "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!"
 

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pavement is harder then grass, sand dirt etc. it is also rough on the paws. will it cause long term damage?? maybe maybe not. will it cause more wear and tear than running on grass? i think so.
i don't let mu puppies run on pavement at all until 1 year old.
no two dogs are the same, some will run on pavement their whole lives with no effects, other dogs cant walk on pavement at all due to soft paws.
 

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I think it's more of an "on the safe side" things recommendation. LOTS of people cannot run on pavement or hard surfaces. I cannot. I have a history of arthritis and RA on both sides of my family. My joints get inflammed and hurt even when there is no actual injury or trauma. I am otherwise healthy and slim, but I run 40 minutes a day on an elliptical so there is no constant impact on my joints. The problem is, dogs are more stoic and can't tell you "oh my knee/hip/wrist/etc is starting to hurt...." Many owners do not to any baseline screening like x-raying hips, elbows, or spine.

I do run my dogs on pavement, but 1) I wait until they are at least 12 months to start (slowly), 2) even then, they don't run more than 3-4 miles each time, 1-2 times a week (except for one longer run before the AD, and the AD itself), 3) I check their hips, elbows, and spine when they are 6-8 months old and again at around 2 years of age so I am confident that their joint conformation can support that type of training.

I live in the city so if I want to work my dogs to prepare for an AD or an SV show or breed survey, it has to be done on pavement.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
pavement is harder then grass, sand dirt etc. it is also rough on the paws. will it cause long term damage?? maybe maybe not. will it cause more wear and tear than running on grass? i think so.
i don't let mu puppies run on pavement at all until 1 year old.
no two dogs are the same, some will run on pavement their whole lives with no effects, other dogs cant walk on pavement at all due to soft paws.
The pavement has taken a slight toll on Paw Paw's pads, which is why he wears dog booties whenever I run him. That seems to help. The other dogs don't seem to be affected by the rougher, harder surface, but I still put them in booties from time to time to give them a break.
 

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you haven't met any runners about 15 or so years that were avid runners and ran on pavement? any aches in their knee or hip area? absolute proof? can't offer any. but risk being wrong and hurting your dog?
 

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Unless the human is sprinting....your GSD is probably at most, in a gait called the suspended trot/flying trot....or maybe for slower runners the dog is just walking at a brisk pace. My observation of a GSD at the pace of the suspended trot can move incredibly smooth without the appearance of any noticeable impact on the joints. The amount of ground a GSD can cover at this pace is most likely faster than most joggers. The smoothness of this gait can be seen in this classic video clearly....plus the amount of impact is minimal as the height of the feet stay so close to the ground at all times...GSDs at this gait use their drive and reach to cover ground so efficiently.....very little stress on the dog's body, so it seems. My opinion is the GSD at this gait is probably doing the least "wear and tear" on it's body.

My only concern regarding a hard surface like asphalt or concrete would be the pads....but I'm guessing they toughen up over time and can handle it on hard surfaces which are not overly heated in the summer...especially asphalt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPJPE9oNN7A


SuperG
 

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SuperG is right about the speed. I used to pay someone to jog one of my young dogs and condition him but she "quit" because she could not keep up. My dog with the bigger gait gets roadworked with me on a bike.
 

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SuperG is right about the speed. I used to pay someone to jog one of my young dogs and condition him but she "quit" because she could not keep up. My dog with the bigger gait gets roadworked with me on a bike.
That's my form of roadwork as well....on the bike..allows the dog to gait at it's most efficient configuration.


SuperG
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We call Nara our "Flying Carpet" when she runs, as it looks like her body doesn't move, just her legs running underneath. It's so funny to see her at that pace. I can't get SuperG's video to work while at the office, but I'm thinking it might be another Flying Carpet! We've noticed that Kaze also looks like a Flying Carpet when he runs. Our huskies certainly do not come with the Flying Carpet option.

When I run with Nara, she stays next to me on the left between me and the curb. We run on the street as we found running on the sidewalk gives us a few less seconds to be aware of and prepare for off leash dogs who might come running out of a house or from the backyard to attack. When I run with Kaze, he is normally out in front of me, sometimes on a loose leash, sometimes not. He's the biggest of our dogs with longer legs, so it's not as easy to keep up with him. I run him with an X-back harness so, if he does any pulling as he forges ahead, it's not with his throat.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The pace you describe is what the videos will show.....and as you know...it's not even the dog's "run" pace.


SuperG
Right! They definitely have another notch or two up, depending on what they see/smell or what they're chasing. Kaze gets so amped up to begin a bike ride that I swear he is running (with me attached) faster than the street's speed limit of 30MPH. It's the fastest I've ever gone while bikejoring.
 

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It would be interesting to see some long term studies on this...

Building on Super Gs comments - I know from my years with the horses that conformation has a lot to do with it.**

Proper angulation in the joints (pastern, knee, hock, hip) and so on help to absorb shock.

So a dog with not enough angulation (upright type of build) will *probably* be more susceptible to joint damage over time then a dog with angulation that acts as shock absorbing suspension, basically. :)

I think Lies idea is great! Monitor the dogs as individuals and if you see negative changes reduce the amount of road work on pavement.

(**example, a line of Quarter horses bred to be Halter Horses (conformation) had developed a tendency for upright pasterns, small hooves and a stocky body. As a result they tend to develop a DJD in their pasterns known as navicular disease)
 

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although a gsd at a trot can be very smooth, you need to use your judgement to either slow or let it rest as the trot deteriorates. As they will put pressure on certain areas which are stronger than others.
 

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although a gsd at a trot can be very smooth, you need to use your judgement to either slow or let it rest as the trot deteriorates. As they will put pressure on certain areas which are stronger than others.
Makes good sense to me.....they tend not to quit when the going gets a little rough.


SuperG
 
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