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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi ya'll,
I've been taking G on a daily run, we go 5 miles every day 5 days a week. The weekend we rest completely, he will lounge around in the yard but nothing more. For the most part he has been doing amazing on the runs, leading the way most days (which I like and shows me he has good energy) and we play ball in the middle for a little bit. This morning we woke up, he was energized, ready to go waiting by the door. The first half of the run he was leading the way, super excited... we got to the park, played ball for a bit and then headed home and he just completely pooped out. Dragged the entire way back home.. ended up walking it since he seemed so exhausted. I just dropped the leash and he followed behind me for the 2 miles back home, didn't even look up at the other dogs we walked by. Checked his paws and everything looked good. At the park we get water everyday and I make sure his inner thighs and head is wet so he isn't getting too hot we are also running at 6 am and the temps are usually still in the mid 70's. He ate his breakfast fine, a little peckish but he did finish it and he inhaled his afternoon snack.. he also inhaled his dinner. Poop was perfect... His weight is back where it should be and has been stable. The rest of the day today he slept like he was beat. I'm kind of at a loss here what I should do with him. My last shepherd was a working line and he could out pace me for miles, we would run 12 mile days in a row and he never grew weary even when he was older. I'll be honest I have a hard time leaving Gandalf at home..... I really enjoy running with him. It wouldn't be the same without him, he is totally my little running buddy.... I have been contemplating this for a while though.. if perhaps he just isn't cut out for it and shouldn't run period. He seems as healthy as ever right now yet is struggling occasionally with just a few miles on some days. I feel like we aren't running too fast. I'm actually getting a bit bored with the distance and would ideally like to run further but refrain because of him. Other days he is full of energy and I can barely keep up with him. I have a hard time telling what the run will be like because mornings like today he was ready to go and seemed healthy! It seems like we have 1 or 2 days like this per month and I can't figure out what is causing it. I don't want to hurt him and push him more than what he can handle but at the same time I do also feel bad leaving him home, he seems to really enjoy our runs too when he is feeling up to it and he can't wait to go. We run on mostly soft surfaces (grass & dirt) but have a little section through the city. Do your dogs have days where they just don't feel like doing much? I can't tell if something is wrong with him since he seems happy, is eating well, and his poops are good... I don't want to just leave him out from living life because of his past medical history, especially since our regular vet told us he seemed healthy enough for exercise and to manage his flare ups as they happen. Exercise is also supposed to be so good for your health and healing. Is this just normal for a showline? He is mellower than my WL in other aspects.... Just his personality? I wish they could talk.
Thanks :(

PS here is a picture of him I shared on here the other day, this was an average run for us at the 3 mile mark going through the short city part. To me he looks energized and happy, he didn't lag that day but also wasn't leading. Am I missing something? I know sometimes when we look at our dogs everyday we don't see the same thing as someone else might. The only thing he carries in his sack is 2-3 little plastic poop bags and my medicine, it's super light.
 

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Maybe he just isn't a running dog. Have you thought about not running him in the summer? Even early morning or late in the evening when it should be cool may be too hot for these guys. He may just need to take a summer break and start up again in the fall. Also, could you go on a couple runs? One with him where you don't go super far, then go by yourself and go as far as you want? Could the pack be causing him to overheat, even though it is very light? I don't particularly want things strapped to me when I'm running in the heat.

Just some thoughts!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Maybe he just isn't a running dog. Have you thought about not running him in the summer? Even early morning or late in the evening when it should be cool may be too hot for these guys. He may just need to take a summer break and start up again in the fall. Also, could you go on a couple runs? One with him where you don't go super far, then go by yourself and go as far as you want? Could the pack be causing him to overheat, even though it is very light? I don't particularly want things strapped to me when I'm running in the heat.

Just some thoughts!
Thanks for your input Pytheis!!! I have thought about the heat a lot........ my WL dark sable shepherd would run with me in the middle of the afternoon here in the summer and have no issues... Gandalf is white so I've thought he should be cooler. Although he does have a long coat and my sable did not. When we go to the club here all of the other shepherds are dying in this heat and generally Gandalf seems to be tolerating it better. Could be he is just better conditioned than those dogs (not sure what they would do on a 5 mile run after all?). He is a different dog, with a different personality, so perhaps it is just that, he may not like running in the heat! It isn't fair to compare him to my old dog. I did feel today was slightly warmer than the other days this week, but wouldn't have thought it would have been enough to bother him! Maybe I am wrong! I've experimented with it a bit and haven't noticed a real difference for him with pack on or off, but I could understand that being an issue. He had a bad day last month when he wasn't wearing the pack. I'm curious to see if he does pick things up in the fall... we actually started running instead of hiking this summer because the woods this time of year are too full of ticks and fleas and he doesn't tolerate the preventatives very well. That's a good idea to take him on a short run first and then drop him off at home.
 

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Maybe he should go on shorter runs for awhile. How many months has he been running? How old is he now? Maybe he needs to work up to those 5 mile runs this time of year.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Maybe he should go on shorter runs for awhile. How many months has he been running? How old is he now? Maybe he needs to work up to those 5 mile runs this time of year.
He has been running for 2 months now, I started him off slow and we've been working up distance. He's a year and 8 months right now. Does that seem like too much for him for his age? I always do forget how young he still is.... he acts all grown up. We run i'd say around 4 of those miles on grass and dirt. Before his breeder had passed away I asked her what age he could start running with me and she recommended a year old.
 

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My girl Scarlet is a bit older than Gandalf. She’ll be 2 in a couple of weeks. I’ve been wanting to roadwork her on my bicycle, but my breeders said to wait until she was at least 18 months old, and only for short distances at first. I haven’t started yet because it’s just too warm, even early in the am. Anyway, 5 miles of running seems a lot to ask of your guy at this age.
 

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How often do you do "fun" exercise, maybe increase the fun exercise and shorten the runs, or give him wednesday off for running as well as the weekend, he might like running but not everyday for quite as long as that. It might get boring for him. Add in some more fun stuff and take the pack off, although it isn't heavy it can be keeping heat in. He will probably be more excited about running come the fall and having a bit of a break.
My dog loves running with me on the bike but that added with the fun exercise tires him out almost too much and he is almost sluggish and too tired in the house, like it tires the spark of life out of him (low- medium ish energy) G might just want a bit of a change to keep him motivated
 

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How humid is it at that time in the morning? Even if the temps are up there yet the humidity may be higher and harder for him to breath, it might even have been a particularly humid morning that morning that he was lagging.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
How often do you do "fun" exercise, maybe increase the fun exercise and shorten the runs, or give him wednesday off for running as well as the weekend, he might like running but not everyday for quite as long as that. It might get boring for him. Add in some more fun stuff and take the pack off, although it isn't heavy it can be keeping heat in. He will probably be more excited about running come the fall and having a bit of a break.
My dog loves running with me on the bike but that added with the fun exercise tires him out almost too much and he is almost sluggish and too tired in the house, like it tires the spark of life out of him (low- medium ish energy) G might just want a bit of a change to keep him motivated
We do fun things every day. We play ball, rollerblade, hike, swim, go to the beach, go on trips to the mountains, agility, obedience classes, scent class, he likes to ride ferries to tropical islands, go to the garden center and see giant bears & dragons, play with his dog friends, If you'd like to see all the fun stuff this guy does you can check out his facebook page here :smile2: https://www.facebook.com/FoxhuntsYouShallNotPass/?ref=bookmarks
I try not to overwhelm him, but we do interesting stuff all the time. I really don't think he is bored.... on our runs he sees lots of other dogs, and meets lots of different people and we stop to play ball, do a little obedience and I usually end up chasing him and playing with him around the park. He definitely is very excited to go for the run in the morning, he sits by the door waiting to go ... its just that he poops out in the middle every once in a while. That's a good idea to give him a day off in the middle of the week, maybe its just too much continuous for him and he just need a break in between. Do you bike with your guy this time of year? Are you in a warm climate too?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
How humid is it at that time in the morning? Even if the temps are up there yet the humidity may be higher and harder for him to breath, it might even have been a particularly humid morning that morning that he was lagging.
Could be , I have a problem so i'm usually cold and don't notice. The humidity just makes it feel colder to me. But i'm sure it could be bugging him. Someone on here mentioned how you could add the humidity and the temperature, I didn't check today but maybe it was slightly higher. That would certainly explain the randomness of it.
 

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I rollerblade with my boy about 4-5 times a week. When it's before 6pm and the sun is still OUT out, he's not to keen on it but he will run. On cooler hours, he's more energetic. But there are days when he just doesn't wanna keep up, or I have to go veeery slow on the rollerblades. But whenever he sees something that moves, like a cycler or a jogger, he will sprint and sprint, until I tell him to 'halt.' So I suppose mine is the kind of dog that needs a lot of motivation, his prey drive is very high. I bike or rollerblade with him 1-3 miles each time. I rollerblade more than I bike because I could go slower on the rollerblades. But do check if your Gandalf is walking funny or something. Because one day mine was walking funny after we cycled 6 miles on a beach boardwalk, he had a minor sprain on the back leg. He was energetic and fine, so I didn't stop him. But I had forgotten he was still just a puppy that needed me to decide what is too much or not.
 

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I had waited 18 months for long endurance rides on hard surfaces. I would not get necessarily hung up on the line but the particular dog- exercising. We bike for miles - not recently-and the dogs more then keep up. I baby them to when Im worried about them over heating and someone rides ahead they have not begun to open up and want to fly. Last time you posted some blood results showing issues - how were the blood results when you did them again? You have to listen to your dog if it’s to much you need to scale it back and build up a slower. Some dogs are also more mellow also and or Gandalf maybe more of a sprinter. The heat to plays a big factor in so monitoring them is important.


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I had waited 18 months for long endurance rides on hard surfaces. I would not get necessarily hung up on the line but the particular dog- exercising. We bike for miles - not recently-and the dogs more then keep up. I baby them to when Im worried about them over heating and someone rides ahead they have not begun to open up and want to fly. Last time you posted some blood results showing issues - how were the blood results when you did them again? You have to listen to your dog if it’s to much you need to scale it back and build up a slower. Some dogs are also more mellow also and or Gandalf maybe more of a sprinter. The heat to plays a big factor in so monitoring them is important.


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Sounds like his age is not the problem then since he is 20 months. We aren't even running on hard surface most of the time so I figured that wasn't really the issue. I watch how he is running as well and I don't see any limping or visual signs of pain, he is just like nope i'm done randomly half way through on these kinds of days. I'm wondering too if maybe it is because we play ball at the half way point and that is really all he wants, and once its over he doesn't care about "getting to somewhere"?
His blood results had some issues, I truly don't know how to interpret them. The ER vet who I didn't really trust (she was the one that told me he was a wolf hybrid and to go take him to the zoo next time seriously) said he would be dead tomorrow if I didn't put him on kibble. And that was all she would talk about. We tried putting him on kibble and it gave him diarrhea so he is back on his raw and his poops are good again. He just can't tolerate kibble at all. I called my regular vet who I semi trust and he told me the results were fine.... keep doing what we are doing... and if he has a flare up again just bring him in for medication. His issues from the ER vet resolved immediately, we suspect it was a reaction to the Revolution. We have only used interceptor since and haven't noticed any kind of reaction. He has been eating good since that visit and been his usual playful self. Thanks for your input :smile2:
 

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I would re do blood work for peace of mind sake if possible and are concerned about stamina level. I am glad he is doing better. Does he do this on long bike rides. He may just be out of gas and need to build him up more slowly in this hot weather. Many years ago My mom had American Eskimo’s one had a very obvious bum leg - was shorter then the rest. When I walked her - short walks but even so -if she was done with the walk she would just sit in the road and not budge - nothing I could do to get her to move and then I would have to carry her back - even though she only weighed 20lbs it felt double that in the heat -ugh!
 

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How humid is it at that time in the morning? Even if the temps are up there yet the humidity may be higher and harder for him to breath, it might even have been a particularly humid morning that morning that he was lagging.

I've noticed that with my big-boy who is long haired, that humidity is almost more of a problem then temperature. It could be 68 degrees and he'd drag. The high dew point makes it tougher for him to cool down but can make me feel chilly. Go figure. This is one reason we quite IPO. Training in high humidity temps slowed down both the dog and my hubby who is his primary handler.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would re do blood work for peace of mind sake if possible and are concerned about stamina level. I am glad he is doing better. Does he do this on long bike rides. He may just be out of gas and need to build him up more slowly in this hot weather. Many years ago My mom had American Eskimo’s one had a very obvious bum leg - was shorter then the rest. When I walked her - short walks but even so -if she was done with the walk she would just sit in the road and not budge - nothing I could do to get her to move and then I would have to carry her back - even though she only weighed 20lbs it felt double that in the heat -ugh!
Thats a good idea, I might try to find a new vet and get it done again soon. We don't bike ride but we do roller blade in the fall. Since he was so young I didn't let him go very far, we just did a couple quick sprints and then turned around so it certainly wasn't this kind of distance that we are running now. He did fine roller blading though, really seemed to love going fast! LOL i'm glad he doesn't do what your eskimo did or we would be stuck, no way I can carry him :grin2:!!!
 

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I typed a more thoughtful reply and it got lost. But, your dog has some weird blood values right? This is just my 2c but that is quite an athletic endeavor for a dog with ongoing health issues that I would consider not cleared up since his blood work isn't normal. I also personally would not run a dog like that without having done at least OFA prelims.

My dogs would probably have dropped dead if I had run them that far in FL in Jul, Aug. I think he is trying to tell you it's too much, either because he isn't healthy or it is just too much for him with the heat and humidity period

My girl got pretty sick a year or two ago and the first thing I noticed was that she just quit on a walk. Halfway up the first hill she was just like, I can't do it. I took her home and she got sicker and sicker, requiring veterinary care.
 

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Don't you live in Florida? Its hot, humid, he has a lot of hair. He has the summer doldrums.

So do we all.....:)
 

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I typed a more thoughtful reply and it got lost. But, your dog has some weird blood values right? This is just my 2c but that is quite an athletic endeavor for a dog with ongoing health issues that I would consider not cleared up since his blood work isn't normal. I also personally would not run a dog like that without having done at least OFA prelims.

My dogs would probably have dropped dead if I had run them that far in FL in Jul, Aug. I think he is trying to tell you it's too much, either because he isn't healthy or it is just too much for him with the heat and humidity period

My girl got pretty sick a year or two ago and the first thing I noticed was that she just quit on a walk. Halfway up the first hill she was just like, I can't do it. I took her home and she got sicker and sicker, requiring veterinary care.
Yeah those are some very good points. I actually tried to get his hips and elbows done while he was put under anyways and the ER vet straight up refused. They told me there isn't a point in doing it, just give him some glucosamine... I guess I didn't realize how extraordinary my old sable was, this would have been nothing for him. I just kind of assumed most dogs were capable of running like him. Sure do miss my old guy. Is there a breed of dog particularly good at running long distances without a super thick coat? We were thinking of getting G a friend eventually anyways.... I could definitely rotate each day with a different dog lol. I figured this was just a show line thing or something but sounds like maybe it isn't. I'll give him some more rest and just take him every once in a while until it gets a bit cooler out and try it again.
 

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I am not a fan of forced exercise for any dog. I run with Shadow, but like a mile or so. If it's over 17 degrees she sets the pace and she sets the distance( about 63 for you) I have done this with all the dogs. I don't bike or rollerblade with dogs. Stimulates their need to chase and could result in overwork. If I find she needs more exercise we play fetch at home, or tug. If she is really energetic we run a bit further but at no point would I demand that a GSD run for 5 miles, especially a young, growing one with health issues. This is a trotting breed and while they can be conditioned to trot for extended distances you cannot expect it over night. As far as actual running, not their most efficient gait and for sprints not marathons.

He looks forward to the running because he is going with you, and give him credit for the fact that he is trying to please you. Assuming that a dog living there has acclimated to hotter conditions he is still making it clear that you are asking too much.
 
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